“We hoped to go in about 11:00 a.m., but the warrant wasn’t signed yet,” explained Chris Septer, Executive Director, South Florida SPCA. They had trailers and equipment ready to go. “It was closer to 1:00 p.m., and it was about 1:30 in the morning when Laurie Waggoner brought the last cow to the ranch.”
It was an exhausting day and night for the three teams of almost 18 people who entered into the location, “Like a scene of ‘hell’ with smoldering trash everywhere, not a blade of grass, and defenseless starving animals being enveloped by horrible smoke.” The total count rescued was 86 goats and sheep, 12 cows, and 1 pony. The veterinarian had to humanely euthanize one goat and there may be a few more too weak to respond to treatment. “Aside from malnutrition, many of the goats and sheep are suffering from Foot Rot. Foot Rot is a common but crippling infection of sheep and goats. Some of these animals cannot even walk on their feet, instead opting to crawl on their knees. These animals will require daily treatment of all their hooves until such time as they can walk normally again. Many have pink eye, respiratory infections and are receiving antibiotics as well.” They were transported to the rescue ranch where, “Currently all the animals are receiving species specific care, including diets, grazing, protection from the elements and veterinary care as needed.”
One baby goat in particular is orphaned and being bottle fed by Septer. “We took kid milk with us knowing there were likely to be some orphans,” she said.
Septer, who grew up in Kendall, has been around and loved animals all her life. She no longer boards horses at her place, although she does have two rescue horses. She also train dogs, to include agility training for tasks like sheep herding. She took on the position with South Florida SPCA in January and is quite familiar with the rescue ranch. “When I was in my early teens, I was a member of a program called Leadership South Dade, and I stomped all over this ranch.”