Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Good intentions gone awry: Haven Acres Cat Sanctuary

A lot of people may not know the backstory of Steve and Penny Lefkowitz and Haven Acres Cat Sanctuary in High Springs Florida. These are actually two kind people whose good intentions and desire to help save homeless cats just got out of control and became too overwhelming for them to handle.

About two years ago I'd had several conversations with Penny as I was referred to her by a friend, who also works in her spare time to save animals.  I really admired Steve and Penny for all the hard work they put into Haven Acres. Despite the fact the City of High Springs kept wanting to shut them down, they persevered.  What many people do not know is that they ran Haven Acres on their own 8 acre farm and incorporated it into a 501(c)(3) in 2005. No cats were ever turned away.  Steve & Penny put most of their personal income into Haven Acres (they also accepted donations) and all of their spare time when they were not working.  It took a lot of time to care for the cats as you can imagine. They had a veterinarian they worked with and they also were able to adopt many animals out over the years. But unfortunately with the large number of irresponsible people in society, the number of unwanted cats just increased. As Haven Acres grew more popular, people kept dumping their cats there.

For the record, State Attorney Bill Cervone stated that he does not think this was intentional, he believes it was good intentions gone awry. I do not believe these two individuals deserve prison time, not for trying to do the right thing. I believe intent matters and should be taken into consideration.  This is a very sad case indeed. It is sad that Haven Acres even had to exist because people are too irresponsible to do the right thing and care for their animals. It is sad that Steve and Penny were so desperate to save these animals that they couldn't say no and became overwhelmed. It is sad that because they couldn't say no, some of the animals became ill.  The whole situation is just very sad indeed.
Sometimes it's just difficult to acknowledge that one or two people simply can't do it all. 

1 comment:

  1. Sad Cat Lover8/11/2012

    Not only were they overwhelmed with cats, but look at their kitchen....Hoarding masquerading as a Sanctuary http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1FqYmKpSVU