Yet Another “Rescuer” Busted for Hoarding/ Animal Cruelty

She is what authorities call a “serial animal rescuer.”

Gisela Tacao was arrested on 52 counts of animal cruelty, and more charges are likely (PHOTO:

She is Gisela Tacao, and she ran Gigi’s Rescue in the Miami area. Tacao would get animals from other rescue groups that pulled the animals from animal control in Miami.

But Tacao didn’t adopt those animals out. No, she kept them in deplorable conditions in a warehouse in Hialeah. In 2012, law enforcement and animal control officials rescued 120 dogs and cats from that warehouse. At that time, Tacao claimed to be overwhelmed and put the call out for help in rehoming those animals.

Last week she was charged with 52 counts of animal cruelty in connection with that case. When law enforcement went to serve the warrant, they found in her home 60 animals who appeared malnourished and in need of medical care. One cat had a severely broken leg. And a dog was so malnourished they may not be able to save him.

You can see a local TV news report regarding the rescue efforts here.

THIS is caused by a so-called rescuer.
THIS was caused by a so-called rescuer. (PHOTO:


I understand wanting animals to live, but this ain’t living, folks. This is a slow, cruel death. In my mind, humane euthanasia is far more compassionate.

But hey, that’s just me. 



44 thoughts on “Yet Another “Rescuer” Busted for Hoarding/ Animal Cruelty

  1. Oh Rumpy and Jen, this is just beyond my comprehension, some people are deluded with awful consequences.

  2. Terrible 😦

    I’ve always felt quality outweighs quantity. Lucky for those dogs that they were actually rescued, and got on the news. Usually dogs or busts that make the news get adopted quickly. Unfortunately that means 120 other dogs and cats will be ignored in favor of these.

  3. Totally agree with you. It is such a shame that some people end up hurting the animals while trying to help. I think that if I had a friend in Tacao’s situation, I would do everything in my power make her see that what she is doing is not the right thing, even if that meant calling animal control on her or any other place I needed to call. But hey, that’s just me 🙂

  4. Wow. This breaks my heart. I have two cats that came from a situation of hoarding and the affects of it really stay with animals a long time. Certain smells bring back fear. My house is so clean that do not understand it. Believe me, I have paid enough money getting them back to healthy status…

  5. I agree that there is a fate worse than death and this is it.

    Another so called “rescuer” with a god complex. The rescue groups that gave her dogs after she was overwhelmed the first time are at fault and so are the local law enforcement for not charging her the first time. The rescue groups by contract are not allowed to give her dogs and I hope they are punished. She should have been in jail and this would not have happened.

    Scummy rescues are happy to pull a dog, get a pat on the back and then shove the dog in a crate in a warehouse. This makes me so angry I can barely talk. Never mind her family. I also cannot stand they keep saying Animal Lover. If she was an animal lover, she would not let this happen! My heart is breaking for that sweet white dog above. Makes me want to cry. Sorry about the venting.

  6. I agree 100 percent Rumpy. She might have started out with good intentions, but as usual it snowballed in to actually being mean instead of kind. Stuff like this makes me sick.

  7. What is really too sad for words is that true hoarders posing as ‘rescue’ begin to tarnish peoples’ minds against those who a legitimate 501 c3 rescues and thus just stop supporting any animal rescue. The onus of accountability to find ethical animal rescues rests with those of us who offer financial support and who use social media to promote animal rescue…we do research on any rescue not know to us personally be fore we jump on a bandwagon and have discovered in a few instances that our research was worth the time.I hope people don’t stop supporting legitimate animal rescue work out of unfounded fear that the hoarders out number the legitimate efforts; now that would truly be very very detrimental to those of us who work as volunteers for such rescues and those of us who use social media to promote adoptions and fund raising and a very sad reaction to an action taken by media coverage of a hoarding situation.

    1. There are indeed legitimate rescues. But there are also people out there doing shady stuff, and some of them are registered 501.3c organizations. I blame every rescue that placed with that woman without checking her out. And I blame those that were more concerned about the animals being alive than in their quality of life. They all let those animals down.

      1. I do know that it is not easy nor inexpensive to become 501 c3; and I also do know of a large one that was indeed a terrible hoarding situation complete with FB page and website; it happens; but it is NOT the norm. Casting wide allegations of intent to do harm to all rescues is perhaps not the most helpful way to address the underlying causes for how such situations can exist.

      2. I never said this was an isolated case. You did. By casting doubt in people’s’ minds through social media about the legitimacy of small rescues, 501 c3, you are also casting aspersion on all who truly save lives. Rather, best to be productive and educate those who donate so they know various ways they can validate if a rescue is just that or a potential hoarder. I have collaborated with you in the past and know that you know how to address root cause, and not raise unnecessary paranoia.

      3. Shaming me on my blog is not going to make me change my mind Savannah. This is how I feel. If you feel differently, you have your own blog to write about the issue.

      4. I apologize that I came across as “shaming you” on your blog. Truly, that was not intended. I thought we were engaged in a rationale discussion of various perceptions of this serious concern relative to ‘how do we, the public who work to address animal rescue and welfare’ avoid being caught up with those who are, in this case…hoarding. It is a terrible reality Rumpy, but you are accurate in raising it as a red flag. And I agree, not all animals are better off ‘alive’ when that ‘life’ is a living hell filled with hunger, pain and neglect. Such is the case with those who hoard. I have been trying to research animal hoarding as some identify it as a ‘disease’ akin to substance abuse. I have not found any useful research to that end. Again, I never intended to abuse the comment section on your blog. I will take this matter up on my own blog space.

    1. Of course they do. Every hoarder out there thinks he or she is doing it for the animals, so it would make sense that they would cross the line and actually convince others of that as well. Some of them bring in some good money doing so. The Caboodle Ranch hoarder was bringing in almost a half million dollars a year while operating as a 501.3c. But did that money go to the care of the animals. Nope. It went to trips to Vegas and the Daytona 500.

  8. This is very sad. There was a similar situation here in south Alabama, with a “so-called” rescue that was really just a terrible place that many poor animals died. The authorities and real rescues saved some, but many had to be put down. I think these people must be mentally ill.

  9. No, it’s not just you. These animals were in effect tortured. At least in kill shelters they are treated humanly until they are euthanized humanly.

    These people are sick and need to be put away.

  10. I agree; a slow death…how rude & cruel to claim to rescue when in fact these 4 leggeds are suffering. I would rather put an animal to sleep than let it suffer….
    I am glad she is busted!
    Sherri-Ellen & Nylablue too xoxoxo

  11. Thanks for exposing these people throughout the country. We see a lot of “rescue” groups in Florida and most do a great job. There are many that do nothing but prey on people and animals.

  12. Very sad and this sort of thing could be avoided or at the very least reduced if people did proper research before placing animals in rescues. I am thankful that all the rescuers, volunteers and shelters that I know or work with have proper checks and procedures in place to make sure they always do right by the animal.

    Out of interest I am wondering if this is something more common where you are? We do have animal hoarders here but I have only heard of one posing as a rescue, where as it seems like a huge and widespread issue where you are.

    Also, though some of these cases may not be the same there is one here that sticks in my mind of a woman who was clearly trying her best to take care of her animals but she had too many and kept taking in more. She did not pose as a rescue but the psychotherapist who helped her thought that the animals were a substitute for children for her and connected to trauma in her past where her parents kicked her out and took her pets from her contributed to the illness of hoarding. She had 31 rabbits, plus dogs, guinea pigs and chickens.

    People may not agree with me and what the hoarders put animals through is inexcusable but I really think they need some sort of help. Is there anything in place to help the hoarders where you are? Otherwise the likelihood of them re-offending is very high.

    The only ways to tackle and prevent these things from happening is for people to do proper checks and for hoarders to get the help they need in my opinion.

    ~ Amy

      1. Would mandatory treatment make a difference do you think? I believe hoarding, like most mental illnesses is something that can be treated. It’s almost like an addiction. You wouldn’t let a druggie off without booking them into rehab so why should a hoarder be any different?


  13. It’s stories and people like this that give rescuers a bad image. I have rescued and rehomed many dogs. At one time I had six dogs in my house and my friends made fun of me for hoarding animals but in reality they were all very well taken care of, they got really long walks as a pack, they ate better than I did, and they had vet care monthly. It’s awful to see someone mistreating animals in any way but this is not just disgusting, but also harmful to the name “animal rescuer”.

  14. I suppose that the sickness unable to tell the difference between this kind of abuse and “rescue” is not much different from the horrible delusion that causes anorexia, but it’s just as horrible to see either kind of madness played out in slowly killing innocents, whether self or others. What a disastrous malady.

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