Woman Charged With Animal Cruelty After Ferrets Removed From House


A Virginia Beach woman has been charged with a single count of animal cruelty after authorities removed more than 100 ferrets and 92 dead animals from her property.

Elaine Carole McCraig, director of Ferret Rescue of Tidewater Inc., told authorities that she was running a ferret rescue shelter that got out of control. Her house, barn, and garage were overrun with ferrets and other animals.

McCraig said that she had gotten sick and was not able to care for the animals properly. She added, “The biggest mistake I’ve made is that I haven’t asked my friends for help. I hated to call anyone else. I was sure I was going to feel better.”

She stated that she was not a ferret breeder and had quit taking in some of the animals and was planning to put some up for adoption.

In regards to the dead carcasses found in her freezer, McCraig said that people brought their dead pets to her to be cremated and she said it was cheaper to put them in freezers instead of cremating them.

Vickie McKimmey, director of shows and special events for the American Ferret Association Inc., came to McCraig’s defense and said, “She spent thousands and thousands and thousands of her own dollars to care for these old and sick animals that folks so freely dumped.”

The president of the Ferret Association said that ferrets can’t be released into the wild because they are domestic animals and will most likely die within a week if turned loose. Owners also don’t have many options for places that will take their unwanted ferrets.

She wrote in an e-mail, “The biggest problem with home-based ferret shelters is that the shelter moms and dads are human. In reality, they are all only one illness, family crisis or accident away from becoming a headline.”

61 of the ferrets that were rescued from McCraig’s home had to be euthanized because of their condition and more than 15 are in the custody of Animal Control.

Source: The Virginian-Pilot

(Thanks Cynthia)

15 Responses to “Woman Charged With Animal Cruelty After Ferrets Removed From House”

  1. Sharon says:

    a single count of animal cruelty?

  2. karen says:

    give me a break! Anyone with an ounce of compassion and love for any animal would not have let these poor ferrets suffered! ONE count of animal cruelty? Sounds like 100 counts - She could have called her local animal shelter for help. Don”t buy it at all.

  3. KAEfamily says:

    She meant well IF she is truthful.

  4. A.C. says:

    The point is not whether this woman’s original intentions were “good”, what matters is that she caused severe suffering to animals under her care. And not just one, or for one day, she did it to dozens for at least a year! Over 60 animals were determined to be in such poor health, they were past the point of recovery.

    Neither pride nor past good deeds excuses the pain and suffering she caused those animals.


  5. The Lioness says:

    This is very sad.

    I hope that she will take this as a lesson and perhaps get out of the rescue business.

    ~The Lioness

  6. Nancy G. says:

    Probably, as with animal hoarders, this woman had some mental impairment that left her unable to see or fully comprehend the suffering of the animals she “thought” she was helping. Good intentions gone terribly awry.

  7. Linda's Cats says:

    The difference between a good parent an a horder is often one paycheck, one week of being sick, or two animals you don’t spay/neuter who “hook up”.

    Unlike many pet owners, i’m actually in favor of laws that limit “homes” to 5 or 6 animals, and then after that you should have to apply for a shelter or breeder license (which ever is applicable), just so someone can help make sure you are not in over your head.

    Americans and “the American spirit of independence” seems to be against such logical steps, cause it hinders “my rights”. but it seems a good alternative to me.

  8. trudyjackson says:

    They showed this on TV for 3 days. this woman must have known better. And that is abuse.
    But they also had Her mother-in-law and a friend on talking about how sick she had been, etc. why didn’t they step in and help her out?
    Also, the woman next door said She had called the authorities a couple of times because of the smell and no one came out.
    there were some cats that looked in good shape.
    But the poor little ferrets looked terrible. It showed cages without food or water. Terrible conditions.

  9. The Lioness says:

    Linda’s Cats, I’d be in favor of that if people could be grandfathered in. There are those of us with more than 5 or 6 who are managing just fine. (And have help in caring for them, should we get sick.)

    One of my fears is that my community–which currently has no limits–might do that and try to force those of us with more to get rid of them, even if we are doing just fine.

    I agree with you, though, about having to apply for a kennel/breeder license. I believe the city of Baltimore–or maybe it’s Baltimore County–requires that if you have more than a certain number.

    ~The Lioness

  10. Sharon says:

    The authorities were called at least twice and never bothered to come and check it out. Why am I not surprised? They don’t care what happens to animals. There were 92 dead animals before they did anything. Could the community not ignore the stench anymore?

  11. mittens says:

    for the few regretable cases of genuine hoarding that goes on people act like it’s an epidemic threatening to bring on the apocalypse and complete meltdown of all social systems. we are not in heaven. we are not in the afterlife where lions lie down with lambs and there is no suffering. this is not and cannot be Utopia, this imperfect world we live in. people breed kids they cant take care of who are basically feral and grow up to be criminals and killers. should we go in like the Nazis did and sterilize them? after all ,it would stop suffering, right?

    we simply need to continue being vigilant about spotting hoarders and stopping them and getting them mental health care and their animals out of the chaos.. it’s none of your or anyone’s damn business how many cats i have. i’m an adult not a child you think you have the right to control because someone else with a mental illness 5 states away once kept 10 cats in a bag. this self righteous need to control other people you think you know better then is in itself a sickness that is akin to the very hoarding people are so horrified by. taking things away from others will not create a humane world just a repressive one where our government thinks it has the legal right to control our lives and thoughts. it would create more dead pets who would have had to be euthanized for lack of homes. isn’t that humane. mittens cant have 6 clean well fed treated like queens cats because of someone else’s sickness so they get to go to kitty auschwitz. nice thinking.

    animals would be better served if more people who claim to care so much about animals they have no compunction stealing other people’s belongings and family members spent more time involved in actual animal welfare causes-volunteering at shelters, tnr programs, contributing to low cost spay/neuter programs, taking the time and taking the awkward social position of encouraging your friends and neighbors to fix their pets. maybe if someone had stepped in earlier and offered to help in some of these situations that truly involved non-hoarder rescues gone astray there would have been no cause for action. the problem is largely not enough people taking care of so many unwanted pets. instead of yapping about laws why not really effect change directly and get involved directly helping animals. laws dont change the plight of unwanted animals- action by individuals who care does.

  12. KarlaSanDiego says:

    This makes me so sick!!! All of you are so nice and polite. There is no excuse for this abuse. I know I’m going to piss off some people right now, however, I don’t care. I do not believe in Breeders or what they stand for. It should be illegal to be a breeder in this country.
    I volunteer at our local shelters that are full of unwanted pets, stuck in a cage, waiting and praying to be adopted before they’re euthanized. These stories sicken me. Why would anyone pay for a pure bred from a questionable breeder ( I’ve never met a repuatable one) when the local shelters have beautiful, amazing, sweet, and loving animals for a $100.00 adoption fee. I don’t get it!

  13. Stormy says:

    I really do believe she thought she was helping these ferrets in her own mind, but I can assure that this terrible enviroment wasn’t something that just happened due to physical illness….I’m nearly 38 years old now and I lived in this same enviroment as a child….her child…and almost exactly as they found her home at the time of the arrest. I don’t think one count of animal cruilty is enough!! This is an outrage!! And who drops off their dead pets to someone else instead of just burrying them in their own backyards like normal people do? This just isn’t normal…..not one single ounce of it is normal!! One charge of animal cruilty, but 61 ferrets put down???? Just doesn’t seem fair.

  14. outraged says:

    She should be locked up, in a cage, in similar conditions as the ferrets were found to be when authorties found them….maybe then she would realize what kind of life they lived. The whole point in having a rescue organization is to HELP those in need, in this case ferrets. If she understood the need for help enough to organize this rescue, then why didn’t she understand the need to ask for help when she needed it. It made more sense to hide it and let them suffer? Because of her pride, 61 ferrets died, while she only gets charged with 1 count of animal cruelty. This isn’t a person who truely wanted to help, this is a person with obssesive compulive issues. Someone who truley wanted to HELP would have had sence of mind enough to ASK FOR HELP when she needed it. She shouldn’t be allowed to ever house an animal again!!

  15. bebe says:

    if she did not and made want them she could have put them up for sale and made some of her money back

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