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