The Critter Place, a Florida Animal Shelter, Facing Foreclosure

Categories: Broward News

Ted Koran and his wife, Karen, have been taking in unwanted or neglected animals for the past 25 years. The couple owns The Critter Place in Weeki Wachee,Florida, a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to saving animals. The two acre property, which also includes their mobile home, currently cares for 68 animals.

"We started out with one horse," said Koran, 57. "The neighbor kept her on a tether rope, so we bought her from them. Unfortunately, she passed not too long ago."

In a cruel twist of fate, the couple that has saved countless animals over the years is now in need of saving themselves. Life has hit the Korans hard the last few years, and may have delivered the knockout blow this past week.

On July 30th, Karen, 60, was diagnosed with stage 3c ovarian cancer. This will mark her second experience with the life-threatening disease, as she had surgery last year to remove her ovaries. At this stage, the cancer has either spread to the lymph nodes or been detected in the abdomen. Possibly both.

"The doctors noticed a little bit had migrated outside of the ovaries the first time," explained Ted. "They thought it was so minut that chemo would get it, but apparently it didn't. Now she's in the early stages of recurrence."

Unfortunately for the Korans, they were't allotted much time to deal with the cancer issue before taking another left hook. The very next day, July 31st, the couple received a foreclosure notice. With no job and a wife battling cancer, Ted fears he's going to lose everything -- his wife, his property and his animals.

"Our slogan is, we're a forever home for throwaway animals. We made a promise to our animals that we would never let them go through what brought them to us, and now we're going to have to break that promise. It hurts a lot."

Ted and Karen purchased their property back in 1994. Before being able to settle on the land, Ted, a construction worker, would spend his weekends borrowing equipment and clearing trees from the area. After six months of land preparations, the couple moved their mobile home there and combined the payments to create a mortgage. They only owned a few animals at the time, so a small fenced section was all that was needed. Since that point, the two have had to add much more to the property including pig pens and horse areas.

Ted was forced to refinance his property back in 2000 after suffering an injury on the job. After being placed on workers compensation and enduring a severe pay cut, he was eventually about to catch up physically as well as financially. Since 2009, though, Ted has been laid off five times and is currently unemployed.

"I apply for everything, it's tough out there. They're going with young guys, and I'm pushing 60."

According to Koran, he and Karen owe about $37,000 on their home. They had been going back and forth with the bank for about a year until they received the foreclosure notice.

"They say get caught up or get out. I've been trying to fill out all the paperwork the banks keep having me do, and redo, but it just seems like I'm always told to cross another 'T' or dot another 'I.'

Koran has turned to social media in search of salvation. He has spent countless hours on Facebook and other sites sending messages to state representatives in an attempt to save his family and his animals. One evening alone he spent six hours attempting to contact individuals with clout.

"I even wrote to the White House," he said, adding that Oprah Winfrey should expect to be hearing from him. "Anybody I thought had a snowballs chance in hell at helping us."

As for Karen, who has two children in their 30's from a previous relationship, the recent misfortunes are just par for the course. As an epileptic she has been unable to work throughout her life, leaving her devoid of health insurance. That's been an extreme burden over the last two years, as she's had to endure the previous cancer surgery as well as an additional surgery for a thyroid issue. Add that to her previous experience with chemotherapy and what she is facing now, and it's a wonder how she's displayed such strength .

Her husband knows what fuels her, though.

"My wife is a fighter. The animals have been very therapeutic, and she says she's going to fight for them. All we can do is knock on wood."

For more information on the Korans and The Critter Place, or to donate, please visit or

Follow Dennis Bovell on Twitter @dbovell.

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This is what we do at The Critter Place. Our animals need us and we made a promise they would be safe. We don't want to break that promise:

bestloanofficer 1 Like

I have had the privilege of visiting Ted and Karen at The Critter Place and I have nothing but praise for these two wonderful people.  The love, time, energy and money that they pour into supporting their animals is absolutely amazing.   Although they already had a full house, Ted could not say no when I asked him to take in two cats that were going to be euthanized simply because their owner was moving.  The cats were very timid at first but with a lot of patience and love, they have both adjusted and become part of this big, happy family.  My heart breaks to see people speaking ill of them based on second hand erroneous information.  I know for a fact that Ted works every chance he gets.  I live a couple of hours away but when given an opportunity to earn some money, Ted drove to my house and did repair and maintenance work in spite of the long commute.  I simply cannot say enough good about Ted and Karen and my only wish is to see them have some good luck for a change.  I try to send a little money when I can but I am not able to do nearly enough to help.  I would be happy to speak to anyone regarding my comments and my observations. 


I have had the pleasure of babysitting critter place while Karen had her last surgery... I also had the ability to watch Domino effect from 7 am till 5 pm.. I did not take my eyes off Domino Effect rescue with the exception of restroom breaks.. I took many pictures.. this is my account of my day there.. 7 am arrived at critter place, got comfortable in 2 rooms to watch Domino effect.. watched till 11 am till any human was seen.. Bob proceeded to water horses, he emptied 55 gallon barrels that were almost empty... Goldy the mini mare could now reach water and drank for quite a long time. her only water source was 2 55 gallon barrels that can only be reached if full they were not. Bob then proceeded to feed Nugget an over 20 year old horse, after feeding grains he was turned loose to eat hay.. The roll nugget was fenced with and another rotted roll was the only hay visible on the property.. He was tied all night to prevent him eating off round bale he was fenced in with.. Nugget was allowed to eat for almost 45 mins.  he was then turned loose with the other horses where he also drank for quite some time as he was without food or water all night.... At this point I was reduced to tears as I realized he was the only horse fed that day hay or grains..  Bob and his wife Dinelle proceeded to work around the place bob burning brush and Dinelle gathering trash and placing it in their truck... Bob left the property for a short while in their truck I have no idea what for.. later that day Dinelle left the property in their truck with a full load of trash.. I have no idea where... All of this is just one day in the life of both parties  but Ted was responsible and asked for a sitter for critter place on facebook I volunteered... Bob and Dinelle post on facebook the night of my visit praising god for the ability to work and get things done not one word asking for help to feed the horses not one word saying help us our horses are hungry not one word about the horses that went hungry..The date of my visit to critter place was may 30th 2013 if anyone would like to check the facts you are welcome to do so..I might also add neither Bob nor Dinelle work outside of the rescue they run the rescue entirely from donations... Ted has a business doing maintenance work and never refuses a job no matter how big, small, or how far away..

tiredoflies 1 Like

This is not the place to be badmouthing Tiffany. Honey, please use your google search The Critter Place, nothing bad, NOW google their neighbor Domino Effect. OMG, can you NOT read? There are two sides to every story, and I think Channel 10 News Mike Deeson told the correct story. I just thought of something Tiffany, I think I heard your mommie calling you.

bethborden44 1 Like

Tiffany Taggar you are a heartless human being I can only wish you are haunted by horraible things. The Critter Place dose great work for animals unwanted animals. These times are Hard for a lot of people I don't know better charity to donate to or nicer people than Ted and His wife.  You speak of Karma  you best watch over your shoulder cause Tiffany its coming for you..And Its hates Heart less people as you show your self to be.


Karma, that is all I can say! From previous FB posts, there was nothing but hate between you and your neighbors.  Why can't you keep a job?  Can't get along with neighbors?  Life is tough! You have been asking for charity for years, as well noted on FaceBook.  That sucks, and I am truly tired of all of you people asking for charity and donations.  Get a job!


@tiffanytaggart58 .... I have toured the critter place more than once ... some times announced sometimes not... critter place is very well kept animals are very healthy the facility is designed perfectly to house the variety of animals safely and comfortably from pigs, dogs, cats, chickens and ducks...  Many people in this economy cannot keep a job but ted is not without a income he does run a small business times are tough for many sometimes no matter how hard one works it just does not make the ends meet.


@tiffanytaggart58   I know the Critter Place and Ted And his Wife Karen they do a wonderful Job And are Very Nice People.. You should be ashamed of yourself for what you have said.  My wish to you is That Karma come to you soon for being such a heatless person.



Sorry. My neighbor hasn't had a job in 2 1/2 years. I have 40 years of W-2's. AND I don't have a 15 year felony record like my neighbor Nor do I have a felony child neglect record LIKE MY NEIGHBOR. I can't get a job because 50 other workers are looking for the same job. Only my neighbor posts the hate. The media coverage against my neighbors speaks for itself and the criminal records of my neighbors says it all. All can be obtained online. Don't take my word for it.


Lord, I know how scary this situation is. I am leaving DADE County just because at 65 I don't want to face not being there for the dogs I have made promises to, and who have nowhere else to go. In Dade it never ends. I was hoping up north there... it would be better, and my old guys can live out their lives and I can outlive them so none are left defenseless! I WISH I could help. I WISH I would win Lotto because it would be used to help good people like this. I PRAY someone who has everything will find it in their hearts to SHARE their good fortune and save these good people's home!

lisaminter.5starmark 1 Like

Definitely going to share this...praying that all will work out for the good. 

ARegularMom 1 Like

Please share this as much as possible to spread the word to help these people and their sanctuary for animals.

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