First of all I would like to thank everyone who visited and supported Ringtail Ranch and Rescue this past year. We had one of the best and one of the worst years ever.
If you have read our update page you are aware of the parasite that
took the life our our sweet Julien, we also found that Penny our beautiful Black and White Ruffed Lemur had the same parasite. At this time all testing is done and none of our animals have this parasite so we are left with the confusion as to how they contracted
this particular parasite which is a European strain of a canine parasite. We are working with Public Health and OVC along with our vets at Main West to figure this out.
This page is to address something more sinister though.
passed and before we found out that this parasite was what took him and that Penny was also infected Mark and I had to leave on a business trip to Florida (along with a visit to Duke Lemur Center to speak with their top vet about lemur health). At that time
one of our volunteers, " Draven Strife" (not her real name, at this time we are not able to post her actual name because we do not host this site and we would be censored) was studying to become a vet, she appeared to care for our animals so we asked her if
she would stay at the ranch and care for them in our absence. We also had another 6 volunteers who would come by daily to help with the daily care and feeding. We were confident they were in the best care, little did we know.
We left on a Saturday,
Tuesday we received an urgent message from our vet. It was to inform us that the parasite was the deadly European strain we didn't want it to be and confirmation that Penny was also infected. At that time Ringtail Ranch closed so we could test all the other
animals. Unfortunately this was not a quick process and it took Public Health, OVC and our vet time to put all protocols in order. "Draven "was asked to cancel all events and visits ( I will take the time here to apologise for her rude demeanour, I have been
advised that she was quite rude and abrupt to many of our supporters).
We offered to return home but the volunteers assured us they could handle everything until the next weekend when we were due to come back, in hind site we should have returned
but " Draven " said she could handle things. She couldn't!
First we received a visit from Public Health the OVC and other government agencies to take samples from the property and house. We didn't know it at the time but found on our return that "
Draven" and her boyfriend (who were caring for the indoor animals) had left the house in a disgusting state. Litter boxes weren't cleaned out, small animal cages were filthy and none of the rooms were being cleaned (this is all documented). She also was responsible
for letting our Eurasian Lynx Cleo out and she didn't bring her back in, Cleo ended up missing for days, we found her when we got back!
Then to our horror we received a call from " Draven" screaming and crying "Penny's been run over " ! I went numb,
after questions going back and forth we found that Draven left Penny outside, didn't ask any of the other volunteers to watch her so she could run off and check on one of her animals (which wasn't supposed to be here) at the house and another volunteer (who
also wasn't being watched) drove over Penny who was lying under her car. I almost died that night, I knew she had the parasite and I dont know if she could have been cured but this was Penny, we would have done anything to save her. "Draven"took no responsibility
for this and we never even got an I'm sorry for killing one of the most endangered animals on the planet. I am still sick over this, loosing Julien and then Penny was more than we could bear.
If this wasn't enough on our way home we received a call
from another volunteer, Star. Star was frantic, she had gone over to pick up our little Eurasian Lynx Alex from the ranch and he wasn't moving, his breathing was shallow and was obviously in distress. We called " Draven" and asked her to run him immediately
to the Emergency vet in Thorold. Alex died that night. We found out later that this vet student threw him in a carrier in the back of her car and handed him to the vet. She didn't cuddle him or comfort him or even notice he died in that carrier on the way
to the vet! This is supposed to be someone who loves animals!!! When we questioned her, she denied any knowledge of his illness. Didn't she look at him, feed him, clean up after him? If Star hadn't gone over we would have walked into a dead kitten, this too
she takes no responsibility for. As a matter of fact she's trying to blame us for her negligence!
When we got home, "Draven" and her boyfriend were nowhere to be seen. We were met by other volunteers who had helped "Draven" take care of the outside
animals. What we came home to was devistating. Our room was covered in feces and urine, our belongings were thrown in garbage bags in the basement, furniture was stacked in piles! Mark and I slept in our van that night after we spent hours cleaning and disinfecting
everything. Our mattress had to be burned. Our volunteers witnessed this devastation, we are still going through our bagged belongings!
We also found that both were building a "Fort" in the back of our property and spent hours there doing who knows
When we questioned our other volunteers they informed us that "Draven" wouldn't let them in the house. When we questioned her it was excuses about how she couldn't get in to take care of Alex, that Asia (our Snow Monkey) wouldn't let her in but
Star got in! Also we left money in that room for the care of the animals and all the money was gone, my belongings were packed up from that room and put in the basement, she must have gone in there sometime!
Alex was taken to OVC for a necropsy, results
show he died from botulism, E. coli and salmonella from unsanitary conditions. Our vet says for a young animal like Alex it would have only taken days for him to succumb. "Draven" refuses to take responsibility for Alex either. To add insult to injury she
openly tells people this is how he died with no compassion at all!
"Draven" is now initiating an attack on us but in one week she was responsible for the death of Penny, Alex and almost lost Cleo and we are not done yet!
At first we gave
them the benefit of the doubt, we kept her and her boyfriend on. One day after we returned Mark and I had errands to do, catching up from our time away. We asked "Draven" to watch things at the ranch, around noon we went for lunch around the corner from the
ranch and Mark asked "Draven" and her boyfriend to join us, so we could speak with them. After eating we asked they go back to the ranch, around 1:00pm while we finished our errands. At approximately 2:15 we get a call from "Draven", she just got back to the
ranch, Asia was in the house and had viciously attacked our Ringtail Loki. When we asked what took her so long to get back, it should have taken 5 minutes, she said she had to go home and change her piercings! She got LOKI to the vet and his story is posted
on another page.
Mark and I have a $12,000 vet bill trying to save Loki's life, three amputations, antibiotics and other medications but unfortunately LOKI passed away. He was doing fantastic, Mark built him a wheelchair so he could play outside with
the others but the damage was too much for him and he passed quickly on a Sunday morning. Once again we trusted her and were let down, we take full responsibility for LOKI, we never should have left any other animals in "Draven's" care. She no longer volunteers
for us and I pray she chooses another career, she is cold and uncaring and should not become a vet.
It has been a hard and terrible lesson but volunteers will be going through a stringent orientation, never will we trust anyone with our animals
unless we are completely positive they are capable and are truly there for the care of the animals and not their own selfish desires.
We are still working on our new facility, it turns out it's not as simple as getting a building permit, part
of our property is Conservation and we cannot build on it, now we have to have the property surveyed and approved by Niagara Conservation Authority before we can even apply for a permit.
Keep watching, we will post all updates from the case against
"Draven" to our building progress.
Update: for those who are watching this unfold we are pleased to learn that two trail cameras that were placed on our property by a NRP officer who has been given permission to hunt and keep track
of the property, was able to capture the comings and goings while we were in Florida. This development gives us more proof of the negligence by this volunteer.