Saturday, January 30, 2010

Jesse & Tina Kolb: Springville, Wisconson

Authorities said three children at the home have been placed in foster care after Jesse Kolb, 33, and Tina Kolb, 30, were arrested Wednesday.

Jesse and Tina Kolb are facing 10 misdemeanor counts each of mistreating animals and three counts each of neglecting a child. They have been released on $5,000 signature bond.

Investigators said they aren't sure why the family was in a situation they described as "unlivable."

For a shelter that typically has about 20 animals, Christina Ackerman, manger of the Adams County Humane Society, said she is doing the best she can with more than 50 animals.

"There were dachshunds, labs, huskies. The huskies are in the worst shape by far," Ackerman said.

In all, 37 dogs of all ages and breeds were seized from the home, and Ackerman said the dogs are suffering from various stages of starvation.

"They are so hungry, but we have to be careful because if we feed too much at once you can really damage -- make them sick and injure them. So we try to feed, every hour or two, a cup to each animal," Ackerman saidIn addition to the dogs, 11 cats, seven guinea pigs, two horses and 133 rabbits are also in the county's custody after the animal seizure that county authorities said was like none they've seen.

"The conditions, some of the initial reports I got, were not fit for anyone to live in the house, because there were so many animals in the house and feces and different stuff on the floor and just in the residence itself," said Adams County Sheriff Darrell Renner.

The county and the Humane Society have to pay to care for the animals as the case works through the court system..." More & video

Friday, January 29, 2010

‘Those were my babies’ — animal hoarding is a complex psychological problem

By Michael P. McKinney

Cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, ferrets, dogs and one 25-year-old turtle –– 49 animals in all carried from a heatless Pawtucket house.

Forty-three cats, some dead, found in a Providence house.

A house in East Providence with 250 birds, not all of them alive.

Removing animals en masse from houses and apartments has become part of the job for municipal animal-control workers. What’s at work when someone keeps scores of domestic animals in their home is hoarding. But despite the disturbing cases that animal-control officers sometimes encounter –– animals malnourished, sick, semi-feral or dead –– the hoarders often believe they are animal protectors, animal-control officials and researchers say.

Hoarding is recognized as a complicated problem and has spurred a specialty among psychologists and researchers around the country over the past decade. Some are rethinking whether animal- and object-hoarding share the same roots. And a work group at the American Psychiatric Association is exploring whether to make compulsive hoarding a separate diagnosis in the next edition of the diagnostic manual used by mental-health specialists.

“It’s something that is being recognized now as a serious situation,” said John Holmes, who has been Pawtucket’s animal-control officer for 35 years and has dealt with many animal hoarding situations. “It’s only been the last 10 or 12 years that we’ve been seeing more and more of these cases.”..." More

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Dogs seized from property near Kibler

A situation with caretakers who had more animals than they could handle led to the seizure of several dogs from property east of Kibler, the Sebastian County Humane Society said Monday.

Cruelty investigator Rebekah Trotter said the society got a call about the dogs last week, prompting them to check out the property Friday. She said the dogs had mange and other skin conditions, and probably are suffering from internal parasites as well. The elderly couple that had taken responsibility for the animals signed away the rights to them, she said, calling the case "not really cruelty."

"But they just weren't being taken care of very well, and it was mostly because people are really bad about dumping in the rural areas, and they would dump a bunch of dogs out there and this older couple felt bad for them and would feed them and it kind of got out of control," Trotter said..."

How You Caught the Clutter Bug: Hoarding Disorder Explained by Genetic Link


NSPCA helps in hoarding situation

The Norfolk SPCA is transporting more than 40 animals from a Washington, NC hoarding situation. 25 small breed dogs will remain at the Norfolk SPCA for care and adoption, while six dogs and 13 cats will continue on to another local shelter.

Fifty-six dogs and cats were surrendered by an animal hoarder. If you're unfamiliar with animal hoarding, it's described by as: people who accumulate a large number of animals then fail to provide minimal standards of nutrition, sanitation and veterinary care; and fail to act on the deteriorating condition of the animals, the environment and their own health.." More

Animals in deplorable conditions seized from Travis

A Travis County man won the right to get back two of dozens of animals seized by the county because they were in horrible conditions.

On Jan. 20 deputies took 20 dogs, seven hogs, three cows and two rabbits from the property of Carey Earl James. It is located at 26915 FM 1431 at the Travis/Burnet County line.

Deputies were first called to the property on Jan. 9 on a complaint of cruelty to animals.

According to a court document, a deputy found several dogs in the front yard, which was littered with rotting food and animal feces. The deputy went inside the home and it was also full of rotting food and feces. He found three dogs in crates, two living puppies and one dead one...More

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Real Life Dr. Doolittle Could Lose 178 Animals

By: Lidia Ryan

A Connecticut man with a record of animal abuse could lose his animals.

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal filed a motion Wednesday for custody of dozens of animals seized from Paul Novicki's farm.

Novicki was recently arrested for animal cruelty charges at Rambling Ranch Farm.

The state and the Department of Agriculture seized 178 neglected animals from Novicki’s property at 50 Doolittle Lane in Hamden over the last few years. They picked up two horses, two mules, two burros, three cows, two dogs, 15 chickens, 26 rabbits, three pheasants, six ducks and one cat on Jan. 14 and 22, according to a statement from Blumenthal.

The Attorney General, on behalf of the Department of Agriculture, wants permanent state custody of the latest seized animals. Blumenthal also wants to bar Novicki from owning any animals in the future, and is seeking restitution for the cost of caring for the animals.

“We are asking the court to stop a serial animal abuser -- someone who has repeatedly neglected animals and wasted state resources through numerous and large-scale animal seizures,” Blumenthal said.

In recent inspections, according to Blumenthal, animal control officers found that “Novicki’s animals had no food or water access, and some of the animals required veterinary care. At least one dead and decomposed rabbit was found in a dirty shed that was filled with feces and dirty hay and contained a loaded firearm.”..." More

Monday, January 25, 2010

Kathy and Tom Phillips, Clarksdale-Coahoma County Animal Shelter - Mississippi

Jan 27, 2009: Police: No charges against ex-animal shelter director


Clarksdale police will not charge a former animal shelter director accused of hoarding hundreds of dog and cats.

The Clarksdale-Coahoma County Animal Shelter remained closed Tuesday as officials strategized on where to place the animals and how to reopen the shelter.

Clarksdale City Attorney Curtis Boshert said the city owns the building and contracted with Cathy Phelps over the past 12 years to operate the no-kill shelter. He said the city's budget for the shelter was about $20,000 annually.

Although the shelter was supposed to be for the city and county, Boshert said the shelter did not turn away any animals.

"We know some were being brought in from outside the county. They didn't put any down, and that's how we got this overloaded," Boshert said.

Phelps was not available for comment Tuesday.

A complaint reported to In Defense of Animals led to the discovery of 340 dogs and 40 cats at the shelter. The shelter was designed to hold about 60 animals, said Doll Stanley, regional director of investigations for the animal rights group.

Stanley said the animals were living in deplorable conditions. Many were maimed and exposed to diseases. Some lived in those conditions for years, she said.

"You don't store animals. They're living beings," Stanley said.

Stanley presented her findings to city officials, and they confronted Phelps. On Friday, Phelps resigned, Stanley said.

City officials hired a new shelter director Monday. The city is working to frame new policies and procedures for the shelter. Included is whether the shelter will remain no-kill and establishing a maximum number of animals it will be allowed to take.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals already moved about 180 animals to animal shelters in Atlanta and Florida...." Link

Jan 25, 2010: ASPCA Takes Charge of Clarksdale Shelter

by: Dennis Turner

Clarksdale, MS - FAST FACTS:
  • Shelter operators tried to run "no kill" shelter
  • 400 animals found in shelter meant for 60
  • ASPCA, other groups clean up, remove animals

The situation at a Mid-South animal shelter has become so bad, city leaders called in a national group to step in and take care of a growing problem.

The Clarksdale shelter was closed Monday, so volunteers could get a handle on a situation that left more than four hundred animals crowded into a space meant for just 60.

Hundreds of dogs and dozens of cats shared space in what volunteers called a dilapidated metal building just hours before animal lovers from around the country descended on the Clarksdale-Coahoma animal shelter to take charge and clean up what they called a horrible mess.

It left animal lovers here almost in tears. "I didn't really know all this was going on. I just found out this morning and it's upset me," said Linda Taylor of Clarksdale.

She says Kathy and Tom Phillips had done their best to run a no-kill shelter and ended up with more than they could handle.

"The smell was overwhelming. The room we are in now, was crowded with animals, there were feces, it was a horrible environment for these animals to live in," Said Tim Rickey of the ASPCA.

Over the weekend, town leaders finally stepped in.

Clarksdale Police Chief Greg Hoskins called in the ASPCA to help address the many problems. They in turn, put out the word, and groups responded from around the country.

Some of the volunteers weren't quite ready for what they found. "This is one of the most dire, horrendous situations I've ever seen," said Linda Ware of the Atlanta Humane Society..."
More & video

"Hoarders" crew digs out local dad

By Molly Snyder Edler

An upcoming episode of A&E TV's "Hoarders" -- a series about people with compulsive hoarding disorders -- will feature a Milwaukee single father of two adopted, special needs kids and the eight local professional organizers who volunteered more than 100 hours to help him get a handle on his home.

Two weeks ago, the crew came to Milwaukee to shoot the episode that will air Monday, Feb. 8 at 9 p.m.

Cedarburg's Richard Taft was one of the professional organizers who volunteered to help unclutter the house. Taft is currently the marketing director for the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) and will soon serve as the organization's vice president.

Taft rallied eight professional organizers to help, and within two days, the group donated more than 100 hours.

"Over a two-day period, we went through the entire house, creating usable living spaces, installing storage solutions, sorting clothes and getting rid of the items that they did not need," says Taft.

The owner of the home is a single father living in Milwaukee near the airport with two adopted special needs children..."

Paul Anthony Novicki / Gina S. Rapuano, Rambling River Ranch - New Haven, Connecticut

Jan 27, 2009: AG seeks custody of neglected animals

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal filed a motion, Wednesday, for custody of dozens more animals seized from the property of a man recently arrested for separate animal cruelty charges related to a North Haven farm, and who has a long record of animal cruelty cases in Connecticut.

Attorney General Blumenthal, on behalf of theDepartment of Agriculture (DoAg) is seeking permanent state custody of the latest seized animals, restitution for the costs of caring for the animals and an order barring animal owner Paul Novicki from owning or possessing any animals going forward.

Collectively over the last several years, the state has seized approximately 178 neglected animals belonging to Novicki.

"We are asking the court to stop a serial animal abuser; someone who has repeatedly neglected animals and wasted state resources through numerous and large-scale animal seizures," Attorney General Blumenthal said. "We are fighting to protect and permanently take these latest animals seized, obtain money for their care and block harm to future animals."

Commissioner of Agriculture, F. Philip Prelli, said, "I applaud efforts to treat all violators of animal cruelty laws, especially repeat offenders, seriously." He also lauded the efforts of state and local animal control officers, as well as public safety officials and all those involved in the rescue and rehabilitation of these animals.

The DoAg, on Jan. 14 and Jan. 22, collectively seized two horses, two mules, two burros, three cows, two dogs, 15 chickens, 26 rabbits, three pheasants, six ducks and one cat from Novicki's property at 50 Doolittle Lane, Hamden..." More

Repeat Offender Facing Charges in Hoarding CasePosted by Scott Heiser, Director of ALDF's Criminal Justice Program on January 22nd, 2010

In December 2009, over 35 animals – including 19 horses and three mules – were seized by authorities from alleged neglect which reportedly included filthy and hazardous stable conditions, inadequate food and water, and failure to provide veterinary care. Paul Anthony Novicki and Rambling River Ranch owner Gina S. Rapuano of New Haven, Connecticut are now facing a total of 33 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty, with Ms. Rapuano additionally facing multiple felony counts of forgery and evidence-tampering. The animals have since been forfeited over to authorities and are recovering. Online records reflect previous animal cruelty cases against Paul Novicki who was convicted in 2003, 2006 and 2008, with various probation violations resulting in additional arrests.The recidivism rate among animal hoarders approaches 100%. While the criminal justice system may not be the ideal venue for accomplishing mental health interventions, the cyclical criminal suffering of so many animals demands the participation of the courts – where psychological treatment should be meaningfully pursued. The pathology of animal hoarding is not fully understood, and the method of treatment should be deliberately considered case by case. The Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium (HARC), among its other resources, has released a paper which seeks to inform therapists who find themselves addressing a case of animal hoarding..." More

ALDF How you can help:
Send an email to the State's Attorney to thank him for a strong and thorough prosecution, and for seeking meaningful sentences that address recidivism issues upon conviction.

Locals may support the prosecution by attending court proceedings. Pre-trial hearing dates are currently scheduled for January 27 and February 4, 2010. (Always contact the Court to confirm court dates and locations as they are subject to change.) Clerk of the CourtJudicial District at New Haven235 Church StreetNew Haven, CT 06510Phone: 203-503-6800

case #NNH -CR10-0256643-T (Novicki)

case #NNH -CR10-0256644-T (Rapuano)

Work with your state legislators toward a “First Strike and You’re Out” law. ALDF drafted this model law to address the issue of repeat offenders and the cruel and costly toll they take on their communities.

Dec 18, 2009: State Seizes Animals, Cites Neglect

By Shelly Sindland

NORTH HAVEN — - Horses, dogs and other animals were seized Wednesday from a Spring Road stable where state officials say they found neglect and poor conditions.

F. Philip Prelli, the state agriculture commissioner, said the animals were in poor health and lacking veterinary care. He also said some of the smaller animals in a home on the property had not had food or water for two days.

The Department of Agriculture had been working with the
Rambling River Ranch since October 2008 to get proper care for the animals. But Prelli said the department decided that conditions were not improving and seized 14
horses, three mules and two ponies from the property Wednesday morning. They also seized four dogs, a goat and a number of ducks.

The horses were taken to Gates Correctional Institution in Niantic, where inmates care for the animals.

Gina Rapuano, the ranch's owner, said she was devastated by the state's action.

"I love my animals. I would never not feed them, I swear to God," she said. " They were fed every day, always had water."

Rapuano said she is recovering from surgery and, with the hard times, people who board their horses there haven't been paying her. She said she often goes without food to feed animals and denied she has done anything wrong and wants the animals back.."
More & video

Tim Trow - Toronto Humane Society

Jan 7, 2009: Is Toronto Humane Society president Tim Trow an animal hoarder?

Anita Robeson

On November 26, 2009, the Toronto Humane Society (THS) was raided by police and the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA), leading to the arrest of THS president Tim Trow.

Trow, along with four others, was charged with animal cruelty.

Despite the overwhelming evidence of animal suffering and neglect uncovered by the OSPCA, Trow denies it: "I've never been unkind to an animal in my life," he told the
Toronto Star shortly after his arrest.

But a December 2, 2009,
press release by the OSPCA tells a different story. It reads in part: "Internal records show that many animals admitted to the Toronto Humane Society die slow, painful deaths rather than being humanely euthanized according to the accepted standards of veterinary medicine ...."

Trow's mental fitness has also come under scrutiny, as ex-employees and past visitors to the THS share stories of his angry outbursts and irrational behavior. See
"Tim Trow Strikes Again!" for an example.

Additionally, Trow seems to be suffering from animal hoarding syndrome.

Now, before you dismiss animal hoarding as something applicable only to "crazy cat ladies" and others of that ilk, consider this:

According to the
Canadian Federation of Humane Societies, "animal hoarding is a serious mental health issue" that involves acquiring more animals than a person or persons can care for. "Most hoarders do not feel that their actions are endangering the lives of the animals they keep, but rather that they are saving lives."..." More

Nov 28, 2009: A galvanizing tenure at the Toronto Human Society

In the ceiling of Toronto's 11 River St., a cat named Casper lay mummified, frozen in death and trapped in a cage meant to capture live animals.

This address is home to Canada's largest humane society, an organization whose mission it is "to promote the humane care and protection of all animals and to prevent cruelty and suffering."

But this same organization -- the Toronto Humane Society -- is currently under investigation for maltreatment of animals, and its controversial president, Tim Trow, was charged on Thursday with cruelty to animals, conspiracy to commit an indictable offence and obstruction of a peace officer.

To be sure, Mr. Trow, whose tenure with the Toronto Humane Society stretches back to the 1980s, is a polarizing character.

He is described by some as a combative dictator whose limited approach to euthanasia has done more harm than good, causing the suffering of kittens like Betsy, whose eye ulcerations had become so bad that sores developed on her cornea. To others, Mr. Trow is a man with an unfair reputation, a volunteer committed to the well-being of all creatures, small and big, wild and domestic.

The heavy-set man in his early 60s is at the centre of an extensive investigation launched by the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which has described the animal shelter as a "house of horrors."

Two cats and two dogs have been euthanized since Thursday's raid on the shelter, while an inspection in June revealed a kitten with a fractured skull and a cat whose skin was peeling away due to liver disease...." More

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Hoarders get mired in clutter, unhealthy living environments

Disorder often keeps sufferers from seeing danger of habits


It had been years since either child slept in his own bed. There was no space for them. The boys' room was so crammed with stuff that the bunk bed on the back wall was barely reachable. The bed itself was buried underneath myriad miscellaneous items such as linens, stuffed animals, clothes and backpacks.

But this wasn't a case of messy adolescents. It was a mother's hoarding disorder that left the bedroom — and the rest of the house — in a state of squalor. Only when Child Protective Services took the boys — Louis, 14, and Sam, 11 — away for 24 hours did their mom, Deborah, realize the severity of her problem.

The 49-year-old Tennessean, whose story was featured on the Jan. 4 episode of A&E's Hoarders, went public, using the show to receive the help of a therapist and organizing expert in an effort to keep her family together. The show does not disclose last names.

"I am tired of being ashamed," Deborah said in the January episode. "I am tired of being a prisoner to my home. It affects everything in my life.".." More