A Florida couple who kept nearly 700 cats in their Haven Acres Cat Sanctuary have been arrested and charged with 47 counts of animal cruelty. According to The Lookout, authorities had warned Pennie and Steven Lefkowitz in June that they were only allowed to care for 100 cats.
When the county entered the couple’s facility, authorities seized more than 700 cats. The Humane Society called it “the biggest case of cat hoarding” the group had ever seen.
The owners of Haven Acres Cat Sanctuary in Florida have been arrested and charged with 46 counts of animal cruelty for “hoarding” 697 cats.
Steve Lefkowitz, 65, and Pennie Lefkowitz, 59 of High Springs opened the shelter in 2003 and claimed to keep felines on “eight acres of rural, agricultural land,” according to the Haven Acres website. Alachua County Animal Services says most of the cats were living in a large warehouse.
Florida State Attorney Bill Cervone told the Gainesville Sun that the couple opened the shelter for good reasons, but then became overwhelmed by caring for the throng of cats.
“I view this as a case of hoarding,” said Cervone. The Lefkowitz couple also share their home with 200 cats, a dog, several horses, and roosters, their website indicates.
A Florida couple was arrested Monday night and is out on bond, facing 47 counts of animal cruelty stemming from a June 7 seizure of nearly 700 cats, according to court records.
The pair, identified as Pennie and Steve Lefkowitz, were the owners of Haven Acres Cat Sanctuary in High Springs, Florida.
Initially Steve, 65, and Pennie, 59, were charged with 35 counts, however prosecutors later amended that to 47 - 46 for cats and one for a rooster.
"The sanctuary is not accepting cats. Please discontinue all drop offs of kittens and cats onto the property. Alachua County Animal Services director David Flager told the Gainesville Sun:
State Attorney Bill Cervone said in a statement: