Saturday, September 5, 2009

Jump in people abandoning or hoarding pets a national trend

By Sean Delaney

DEARBORN — In the span of about three months, Dearborn authorities have removed more than 200 animals from homes where they were found living — and dying — in squalor.

“It’s getting out of control,” said Dearborn Animal Control Officer Jenny Jackson. “To see animals being treated like this, it takes an emotional toll.”

But why is it happening? Jackson credits the overabundance of animals allowed to live in filthy conditions to a national trend, while Dearborn Animal Shelter Spokesperson Sandy Boulton says the current economic crisis may play a role.

“The fact is people are losing their homes at an alarming rate, and many of them are leaving their pets behind,” Boulton said. “It’s unfortunate, but it’s also indicative of the times we live in.”

The Dearborn Animal Shelter knows all too well the impact these abandoned animals have on the surrounding community. If allowed to breed uncontrollably, the number of animals can quickly increase.

“Litters can add up quickly,” Jackson said.

Authorities believe that may be what happened at an abandoned home on Roosevelt, south of Madison and east of Monroe, where investigators recovered nearly 25 living cats Thursday.

The residents of the home had apparently recently left, but authorities were not sure when they moved out of the West Dearborn rental property.

“It’s very disturbing,” Boulton said.

According to Caitlyn Wall, her step-sister’s mother and two other people moved into the rental home in July.

“She loves animals and would do anything for them,” Wall said. “Things just got out of hand.” “They had too many cats,” she said. "They didn’t want to give them up. They loved them all and they didn’t know what to do.”

The floors of the home are covered with feces, and clean-up crews said the cats and the entire house are infested with fleas.

Authorities found the animals after neighbors had complained about a “strong stench” coming from the house..." More