Concord Township pet rescue files $5M federal lawsuit against Lake Humane Society

Caroline's Kids Rescue claims cats taken unfairly
Posted at 11:04 PM, Feb 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-17 09:18:30-05

A $5 million lawsuit has been filed in federal court in Cleveland against Lake Humane Society, claiming the organization unfairly confiscated 161 cats from Caroline's Kids Pet Rescue in Concord Township.

The lawsuit was filed by former assistant U.S. attorney Gregory Sasse on behalf of Caroline's Kids Pet Rescue founders Judie and Tom Brown.

The Brown's told News 5 Lake Humane Society took the cats from their shelter ten weeks ago, without adequately checking the animals, and unfairly claiming the cats were suffering from neglect.

Sasse said the lawsuit also looks to prove there is a lack of proper state regulations when it comes to how humane societies are operated here in Ohio.

"The system is too loose, it is not regulated in any way," said Sasse.  "Any ten people can claim to be a humane society, and they then have sovereign powers."

The Browns said they have been providing outstanding care for cats at their "no kill" shelter for more than 16 years, and can't believe they may soon be facing animal cruelty charges.

"Is it a crime to give your life for someone else?" said Judie Brown.  "If that's a crime, then that's pretty sad, this is what we're being accused of."

But Lake Humane Society Executive Director Lee Nesler told News 5 she believes her agency acted fairly and within set guidelines.

Nesler showed News 5 pictures of some of the cats taken from the Brown's pet shelter.

Nesler said her staff veterinarian determined some of the cats were suffering from upper respiratory infections, as well as eye and dental issues.

"Lake Humane Society did its job," said Nesler.  "All I can say is Lake Humane Society is following policy and procedure, as we should be as a Humane Society."

Meanwhile, Sasse told News 5 it seems likely the Browns will face animal abuse charges during an arraignment set in Lake County Court on February 28.

In response, Sasse has filed an injunction, hoping to block all charges against Judie and Tom Brown.