Saturday, February 27, 2010

Cat hoarders strain King's Harvest pet program

By Kurt Allemeier

Homeless advocates with King's Harvest went to retrieve a couple of cats from a homeless couple in Davenport and found more than they bargained for.

The "couple of cats" became a dozen of poorly cared-for felines, said Terri Gleize, King's Harvest director. The cats were in a cage coated with feces covered with a urine-covered frozen blanket. The rescue has strained the resources of the King's Harvest pet program that is always in need of volunteers and donations.

Pat Townsley, the homeless woman who contacted Gleize's organization for help, has a history of animal hoarding that dates back to June 2000, when 25 cats were taken from a van where she was living, according to a ruling earlier this month by Davenport's animal hearing commission.

The cats rescued earlier this month are getting special care but need to be adopted.

"We got them all fixed and vaccinated, and they need homes," Gleize said. "They are more than we can handle."

Since King's Harvest started its pet program, it has distributed 4,500 pounds of dog and cat food, and spayed or neutered 60 animals. Volunteers are needed to help with boarded animals. Nestlé Purina has been a generous partner, Gleize said.

Townsley and Rudolfo Punteney have been ordered not to own or possess any animals in the city of Davenport, and any cats found in their possession will be seized, according to the Feb. 19 ruling.

Davenport animal control was contacted Feb. 2 about cats in a boarded-up home in the 100 block of South Sturdevant Street. The animal control officer found a pet carrier with four feces-covered cats in it that didn't have any food or water.

Townsley first had contact with animal control in 2000 when the 25 cats were taken from the van. In August 2003, the woman's landlord reported she had 15 cats in her residence on Tremont Avenue. Two years later, in March 2005, animal control was contacted about neglect of two dogs and several cats cared for by Townsley at a residence on Christie Street.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Hoarding vs. Being a Packrat

How Much Clutter Is Too Much?

By Mary Kearl

You've read the headlines: After being reported missing for seven years, woman is found dead in her house, lost among the clutter. Woman suffocates and dies under collapsed piles of clothes. Male trash hoarder dies in labyrinth of garbage tunnels.

Some articles call them hoarders, others call them packrats. These stories seem extreme and isolated. But according to
new research from the University of Michigan Health System, hoarding presents a real danger, not only for those who do it but also for their neighbors -- creating fire hazards, as well as unsanitary, unsafe conditions. In addition, hoarders face the real prospect of becoming buried under an avalanche of trash. Researchers note that treating hoarding is difficult because people who suffer from it don't see it as a problem. According to the Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation (OCF), an estimated 700,000 to 1.4 million people in the United States are believed to have compulsive hoarding syndrome, a sub-condition of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The OCF defines hoarding as "the acquisition of, and inability to discard, worthless items even though they appear (to others) to have no value ... [Hoarders] have symptoms of indecisiveness, procrastination, and avoidance ..."

In the gallery below,
Jeff Szymanski, Ph.D., executive director of the OCF, explains the differences between packrats and obsessive hoarders and just why someone may become a hoarder. Plus, read an excerpt that details how hoarding has affected two people first-hand -- and their families..." More

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Investigators: Jail time in accused animal hoarder's future

In a special NBC2 investigation, we took you inside the disturbing world of animal hoarding.

Since the story aired Wednesday, we've learned the man investigators say is responsible for the gruesome conditions will serve jail time for animal cruelty.

The unthinkable conditions will send Charles Sharp to jail. Investigators say the animals they pulled from the Fort Myers Shores home in August were emaciated, dirty, and covered in ticks and fleas.

When Lee County Animal Service raided the home, Sharp – who lived there – said he wasn't responsible.

"My roommate lost his foot. He brought in all the dogs," Sharp said.

Adam Leath, with Lee County Animal Services, says that roommate, Bob Tracy, is a known animal hoarder. It was the second time they had confiscated animals from the address.

But when they made this raid, Tracy was hospitalized. Investigators said he had to have his foot amputated after the fifth that the pair was living in infected it.

"You can imagine walking around on that, having an open wound, so it was a sore on his foot that didn't heal," said Leath.

Since the animals were in Sharp's care, he was charged. Now there's a plea agreement on the table, which the State Attorney's Office can't discuss details of.

But Animal Services says it involves jail time and probation. Sharp will also be prohibited him from any contact with animals.

The home has since been condemned..." More & video

Special Report: Animal Hoarders

Special Report: Animal Hoarders

It's a hidden compulsion that's starting to get lots of attention.

Animal hoarding is described as a mental illness. Estimates from
Tufts University show that up to a quarter million animals a year are victims.

"Unfortunately animals become part of the things these people collect," explained Adam Leath of Lee County Animal Services.

Never before seen pictures [slideshow below] show you how the animals, and their owners, were living.

"You can see there are numerous bags of feces that were pretty much put into any small hole or crevice within the property," Leath pointed out.

The pictures taken in each house show virtually the same thing - overflowing garbage and animal waste. As animals multiply the houses tumble into disrepair.

Video shows a home on Sanibel Island that had to be demolished.

"Once it permeates the drywall, past the sheet rock into the studs, it's really not able to be saved," said Leath.

To keep things from getting bad again Lee County Animal Control monitors former hoarders. We went along with them.

At one home, Leath notices food bowls on the driveway. "I do think that there were cats. I could smell some cats and there's some food bowls and water bowls inside the driveway."
While the homeowner tells Leath everything is fine, this is a home he'll check again.
The next stop is to Bob Tracey's home. He faces four felony counts for animal cruelty.
"When we went there in 2008 we removed 37 animals। In 2009 we removed 17," Leath told us..." More

Monday, February 22, 2010

Officers called back to cat hoarding house

Animal control officers and members of the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals were called to a house in Woonsocket on Monday to seize cats living inside.

Animal control officers said they believe the woman who owns the home had been hoarding them.

“Once they come here, she befriends them and she takes them in,“ said Dr. E.J. Finocchio, of the Rhode Island SPCA.

But instead of helping animals, experts said hoarders are doing the opposite.

Cat food, cat hair and cat feces were visible on the floors of the home..." More

Legal victory allows piles of rubbish to remain

By Guy Martin

A HOARDING homeowner has won a legal victory overturning a council order demanding he tidy up piles of rubbish from his Surrey garden.

Robert Wallace said he stored items to sort through them at a later date and could not understand why people got “on their high horse about it”.

He will now be paid £250 of taxpayers' money by Mole Valley District Council, in court costs.
The 59-year-old retired television engineer was served a notice under Section 215 of the Town and Country Planning Act by the council in May, Guildford Crown Court heard last Monday (February 15).

He was ordered to remove the plastic bottles, tins, newspapers and other waste, cut back overgrown vegetation and leave the land clear and tidy at his Westcott homes, numbers 4 and 8 Furlong Road.

But he appealed against the decision, at first unsuccessfully at magistrates’ court, and then at the higher court.

He told the judge he was tempted to bring the items into court to show how inoffensive they were.

“If you go into a supermarket people don’t find them offensive,” he said.

“If they are not offensive when they are full, why are they so offensive when they are empty? What is offensive about them?”

Mr Wallace explained the reasons he kept the items.

“The original idea is for them to be re-sorted and categorised because there are some items I want to retain,” he said.

“In the meantime I don’t see why I shouldn’t be allowed to accumulate without people trying to get on their high horse about it.”

Robert Primrose, senior planning enforcement officer at Mole Valley District Council, said: “It became apparent the two properties were in a state of disrepair...."

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Agencies caring for 30 dogs rescued from trailer

By Anya Sostek

Local animal control agencies are working together to care for 30 dogs rescued last week from a hoarding situation in a small Greene County trailer.

More than a dozen of the dogs were transported Wednesday to the Animal Friends shelter in Ohio Township to be put up for adoption.

The trailer had no heat or electricity because of the snowstorm and one of the residents had become ill and needed to be hospitalized, said Jane Gapen, executive director of the Humane Society of Greene County.

The Humane Society rescued more than 20 dogs six months ago from the same trailer in Rutan, about half an hour from Waynesburg, Ms. Gapen said.

"We thought we had helped them and things were going to be OK," she said.

The resident of the trailer called the Humane Society last Thursday and asked that the dogs be rescued.

The dogs were fed, but have experienced psychological damage, Ms. Gapen said. "They were living in a pack where dogs were killing each other and they're frightened," she said. "We walked into some sadness."..." More

Nannette K. Oakes - Saginaw, Michigan

Feb 17, 2010: Animal control director says Saginaw woman did her best to care for the nearly 50 cats removed from her condemned home

By: Gus Burns

Of the nearly 50 cats once living at the Saginaw home of Nannette K. Oakes, 71, about 20 have the potential to be adopted and the others will be euthanized, Valerie McCullough of the Saginaw County Animal Care Center says.

The city of Saginaw condemned Oakes home at 2010 Perkins on the city’s East Side Monday and ordered the removal of the felines that called the 1519-square-foot, 1920-built structure their home.

The smell left behind by the cats would “knock you off your feet,” said Rob Davis, a code enforcer with the city’s SCENIC group.

McCullough said the animal center euthanized 11 of the 44 upon arrival at the center because behavioral or health issues rendered them unlikely for adopted. The center euthanized 2,217 of the 2,577 it boarded in 2009, according to center statistics provided by McCullough

McCullough visited the home and said “the smell was pretty bad, but as far as the care of the animals, she was not neglecting them. She cared for them the best she could," McCullough said. "She gave them a home.”

She said Oakes had good intentions “but there is no way she had time to give each and every one of them very much attention.”

Oakes, who retired as an elementary teacher from Saginaw Public Schools in 1990, said she took in strays and people dropped unwanted cats off at her home knowing she’d board them..." More

Feb 16, 2010: Saginaw code enforcers remove 45 cats from Saginaw home

By Gus Burns

The ammonia from the cat urine was so noxious it would “knock you off your feet,” a city code enforcer says.

Rob Davis, a city code specialist with Saginaw's SCENIC group, said the police, fire department, code enforcers and animal control workers lured and caged 45 cats that had been living inside the home of Nannette K. Oakes of 2010 Perkins in Saginaw Monday.

It became a health and code issue and she’d been warned to take care of the problem about 10 months ago but failed to do so, Davis said. He said animal control was called in after the city received additional complaints recently about feline-related problems originating from the home.

Davis said Oakes’ problem with hoarding cats started small — just a few at first. Then she provided homes to a couple more, and eventually, Davis said, she became known for her inability to turn away felines and as a place for people to drop off unwanted cats.

The problem got out of control. The house was crammed with “cats jumping all over each other all over the place,” Davis said.

He said Oakes’ hoarding problem extends beyond her multiplying. He said while walking the home there were multiple rooms that inspectors couldn’t enter because the doors were obstructs by household possession on the other side..." More

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Hidden Nightmare: Animal Hoarding

The Hidden Nightmare: Animal Hoarding
By Robert Forto, PhD

On the latest edition of The DogDoctor Radio Show ( I interview Debbie Jacobs, the author of “A Guide to Living & Working With Fearful Dogs”. Jacobs’s book was a finalist in the 2008 Dog Writers Association of America’s annual writing competition. Her work with fearful dogs is dedicated to he rescued friend, Sunny. Sunny was rescued from Arkansas from an animal hoarder.

“Sunny survived a hoarding situation and was brought to one of the hurricane rescue camps in 2005, where I met him. Over the years I have learned about rehabbing a ‘damaged’ dog and wanted to share that information with other scared/fearful/shy dog owners. Working with a scared dog will be one of the most challenging, frustrating and rewarding experiences a dog owner will ever have.” stated Jacobs.

In Sunny’s case he was rescued from a so-called “sanctuary” where a couple had over 300 dogs in squalid conditions, with all the animals brought there under the guise to “save them.”

Animal hoarding is one of America’s hidden nightmares. A typical hoarder suffers from a mental condition in which they fulfill a need to obtain and “collect” animals, often in deplorable conditions. If you have seen the shows on cable television on A&E and Animal Planet’s Animal Cops series you know what I am talking about.

On the show we talk about what is necessary to help these people suffering from this condition. While neither Jacobs or I are therapists we are often the ones that see animal hoarding situations first hand. I speak about three times when I am confronted with animal hoarding in my daily work as a canine behaviorist with Denver Dog Works and Jacobs re-tells the shocking story of Sunny’s life before he was rescued by Jacobs..."

Friday, February 19, 2010

Rescue Hoarding & an Interview with Celeste Killeen, co-author of "Inside Animal Hoarding"

By Jen Blood


In February of 2009, police stormed a former elementary school in Columbia, Kentucky, as a result of complaints from neighbors. They found 362 live animals - dogs, cats, horses, chickens, goats, pigs, and a donkey - and several dead. The man who lived there ran an organization called Clean Slate Animal Rescue, and he insisted that the animals were well cared for and he was doing what he could to save them from certain death at the hands of what are known as high-kill (high rates of euthanasia) shelters in the area.

I was co-founder of Clean Slate Animal Rescue, working with this man - Dave - on his farm in Estacada, Oregon. The first time I visited his house, there were stacks of filthy crates out front and piles of soiled dog and cat blankets covering every available surface out back. A mound of fresh dog feces was on the floor in the entryway; the two pieces of furniture he had - matching lounge chairs - were torn to pieces. Dave and I talked. His rescue partner had bailed on him; he was in over his head. He was intelligent, well-spoken, attractive. Funny and passionate, warm and engaging..." More

Celeste Killeen, co-author of Inside Animal Hoarding: The Case of Barbara Erickson and Her 552 Dogs.

"...Celeste Killeen, co-author of Inside Animal Hoarding: The Case of Barbara Erickson and Her 552 Dogs. In the book, Killeen provides an unprecedented look inside the mind of an animal hoarder, by establishing a dialogue with Erickson through a series of interviews over several months. Killeen took time out of her schedule to speak with me about her insights regarding Barbara Erickson, her own views on animal hoarding, and how writing the book has affected her own perspective on pets and people. Following is the complete transcript of my interview...." More

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Understanding hoarding: local woman shares story

by: Jeffrey Wolf

Erin Shelby remembers the days when she was a successful software engineer who owned three homes, one of which was a pristine 3,000-square-foot house in the mountains. Her living situation now is a lot different. She lives in a one-bedroom condo filled with things she has collected over the years.

"If I was outside walking the dogs and I ran across something that someone threw away, like a vase or a winter coat, I'd pick them up and bring them home," she said.

Shelby collected so many things that the clutter began to take over her life.

She says it began in 2003 when she became disabled and lost her job. With her then-husband already unemployed, the couple could no longer keep up with the mortgage and lost their home.

"That's when the hoarding started," she said. "I really became afraid and I was scared that we would end up on the streets."

Shelby blames her ex-husband for a large amount of the clutter, but admits she played a role too, like the time when she developed a habit of collecting "thousands" of rocks..." More

Not just an entertainment sensation


Every room on every floor was overflowing with paper bags and boxes full of junk.

Only a very narrow trail allowed visitors to move through the three-story Victorian home up for sale 10 years ago.

It was the worst case of hoarding Dr. Pete Marcelo had seen, and it wasn’t even in his professional role. He was looking to buy a home with his family, but the Realtor was unable to convince the homeowner to clean up.

“The Realtor informed me that she had tried to get the owner to do so prior to listing the property, but the owner didn’t see the situation as a problem,” said Marcelo, a licensed clinical psychologist and social worker in Huntley..." More

DSM Hoarding Disorder

Hoarding Disorder
The work group is recommending that this be included in DSM-5 but is still examining the evidence as to whether inclusion is merited in the main manual or in an Appendix for Further Research.

-Persistent difficulty discarding or parting with personal possessions, even those of apparently useless or limited value, due to strong urges to save items, distress, and/or indecision associated with discarding.

-The symptoms result in the accumulation of a large number of possessions that fill up and clutter the active living areas of the home, workplace, or other personal surroundings (e.g., office, vehicle, yard) and prevent normal use of the space. If all living areas are uncluttered, it is only because of others’ efforts (e.g., family members, authorities) to keep these areas free of possessions.

-The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning (including maintaining a safe environment for self and others).

-The hoarding symptoms are not due to a general medical condition (e.g., brain injury, cerebrovascular disease).

-The hoarding symptoms are not restricted to the symptoms of another mental disorder (e.g., hoarding due to obsessions in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, lack of motivation in Major Depressive Disorder, delusions in Schizophrenia or another Psychotic Disorder, cognitive deficits in Dementia, restricted interests in Autistic Disorder, food storing in Prader-Willi Syndrome).

Specify if:
With Excessive Acquisition: If symptoms are accompanied by excessive collecting or buying or stealing of items that are not needed or for which there is no available space.

Specify whether hoarding beliefs and behaviors are currently characterized by:
Good or fair insight: Recognizes that hoarding-related beliefs and behaviors (pertaining to difficulty discarding items, clutter, or excessive acquisition) are problematic।

Poor insight: Mostly convinced that hoarding-related beliefs and behaviors (pertaining to difficulty discarding items, clutter, or excessive acquisition) are not problematic despite evidence to the contrary।

Delusional: Completely convinced that hoarding-related beliefs and behaviors (pertaining to difficulty discarding items, clutter, or excessive acquisition) are not problematic despite evidence to the contrary..." Link

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hoarding: When the stuff we get gets out of control

By Angela Hill

Clara's apartment was always a little cluttered, but manageable, with things that were special to her: a collection of rocks and crystals, hundreds of vintage ashtrays from San Francisco restaurants, dozens of dragon figurines in honor of her Chinese zodiac sign. There was a time when she took pleasure in dusting these items, rearranging them, adding to her treasures, enjoying them with friends who came to visit.

Gradually, sometime during the past 25 years or so, these special things got lost. They're still in there somewhere, in the one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco's Cow Hollow neighborhood Clara shares with her longtime partner. But now, the friendly, articulate 69-year-old retired bank employee who usually ends each conversation with a perky "Toodles!" can no longer see her treasures for the mountains of junk — sheer Everests of books and boxes and papers and bags, clothing and cookware, old VCRs, computer parts and just plain stuff...." More

28 cats rescued from cockroach-infested Etobicoke house

By Meghan Housley

The Etobicoke Humane Society rescued 28 cats from the “worst conditions” one volunteer had ever seen on the weekend.

“I couldn’t last more than 10 minutes without my throat and chest hurting, it was so bad in there. Nothing should live in that house,’’ said the Humane Society's Jerry Higgins, who investigated a cat hoarding on Saturday in central Etobicoke.

Mr. Higgins said he found garbage and cockroaches everywhere, feces, urine and a strong smell of ammonia in the house, in the Kipling and Eglinton area.

Toronto Animal Services had been investigating for a year after numerous complaints regarding the smell, but had been unsuccessful in entering the house, inhabitated by a woman and her adult daughter, but Mr. Higgins said he was able to get through to one of the women on the phone.

After convincing them he was acting in the animals’ best interests, the women surrendered all 28 cats willfully..." More

Animal hoarding is not by the numbers

By Sherry Crowell

Animal hoarding is not usually classified by a specific amount of animals, however it is classified by the care and condition of the animals.
Those who hoard animals are not setting out to be cruel or to neglect, they are doing it out of a true love for animals, however lack the financial or physical means to properly care for the animals. Animal hoarders love their critters, and truly believe that they are helping them just by giving them a home. When the number of cats and dogs continues to add up due to not spaying or neutering, or even taking in more animals, things begin to get way out of control..." More

The clean sweep


Hoarding horrors abound. Some hoard human waste -- yes, feces! Others amass newspapers, food, junk, mementos and/or valuable items. Some hoard animals; others money.

Things provide comfort -- no matter the discomfort and chaos the collecting causes. The overwhelming need to acquire gets out of control, to the point of even endangering lives.

"The amount of stuff is like a weight on them physically and mentally -- houses are so overfilled that they lose all freedom, they become disengaged in life," says Ottawa-based hoarding specialist Elaine Birchall.

Hoarders waste away in all the waste, possessions, accumulation -- "yet they don't see it, it's their normal."

Birchall recalls "a case where 112 animals lived in a 25 by 20 foot trailer with a hoarder." Human and animal suffering was evident. "The non-caged animals 'owned' her bed which was in the living room because all of the other spaces were lined with animal cages."

Although totally devoted to her pets, "the mental and physical needs of the animals were not being met. Her ability to maintain control of the situation was perilous mentally, physically and financially," adds Birchall, of

Overwhelming clutter makes for chaotic living conditions for compulsive collectors, impairing daily activity, physical and mental health, relationships and living conditions...." More

Monday, February 15, 2010

Will Rescues in NY be Regulated?

New York Assembly Member Micah Z. Kellner has now introduced an amended version of A9449 still called Oreo's Law after the dog euthanized by the ASPCA last November. After months of care and evaluation, the dog was determined to be "unpredictably aggressive," biting even caregivers.

The senate version is S6412 sponsored by state Senator Thomas K. Duane. The bill, A9449/S6412, would amend the Agriculture and Markets Law, Section 374 by adding a new subdivision 9, that would require public shelters to release animals to any "nonprofit, as defined in section 501(c)(3) of the internal revenue code, animal rescue or adoption organization" that requests possession of them. The facility holding the animal would still collect the required spay/neuter deposit and could also assess a fee not to exceed the standard adoption fee....

...The bill, however, does not require the non-profit to meet any criteria to establish they are "responsible" or "reputable" organizations.

A 501(c)(3) status is simply an IRS designation meaning it is tax-exempt and donations are generally tax deductible. It has nothing to do with the quality of the operation and care provided.

This bill ties the hands of shelters to keep animals from known abusers or institutional hoarders that may not have been convicted of particular "statutes" or are not currently facing charges, or those rescues that cannot provide adequate shelter, food, water, veterinary care, and socialization or training, if required, and safe handling.

It would be easy, for example, for the hoarder or abuser to take the title of "manager" and not an officer or Board position and thus a public shelter would still be required to give animals to the organization. Imagine if the organization has employees who are felons or who have been convicted, cited or investigated for animal cruelty! Animal control would still be required to turn over animals to the organization on demand.

Also, it is not clear why the proposed amendment would be limited to "statutes" instead of all animal protection and animal fighting laws including ordinances and regulations.

It is notoriously difficult to obtain citations or charges, let alone prosecutions and convictions for animal cruelty, animal fighting and animal protection laws. It is also difficult for an animal control agency to find out about such charges or convictions that have occurred in other states or even other counties. In some cases animals may be seized and impounded because of cruelty or neglect but charges never pursued. In other cases charges may not be filed in return for transfer of ownership of the animals or permission to keep the animals on the property while they are given care and placed for adoption.

In the FLOCK case, for example, charges of animal cruelty were not filed for nearly a year after the animals were seized. Under Kellner's bill, public shelters would have been required to continue to release animals to that organization until charges were filed! There are a number of circumstances under which an organization may be a hoarder or operate a seriously substandard facility but not face charges or have a conviction...." More

Courtney Cotter & Kevin Pierce - New York

Feb 12, 2010: Microchips help SPCA find 100 animals in trailer

Tiny microchips played a big part in the recent animal cruelty investigation by the SPCA of Tompkins County where 100 animals were seized from a trailer near Ithaca.

Six of those pets had microchips implanted, so once investigators heard the beep they contacted the original owners.

“Not only in two of these cases did it reunite two animals back to their starting point but it also gave us some background as to how these defendants got these animals,” said Tompkins County SPCA Director Abigail Smith

Those tiny clues can go a long way in such a large investigation..." More


2 people are arrested for animal abuse after hoarding 100 animals in their one bedroom mobile home.

Courtney Cotter and Kevin Pierce, both of 18 Creamery Road in Brooktondale, were charged Wednesday in Town of Caroline Court.

They are facing 39 counts of overdriving, torturing and injuring animals.

And 39 additional counts of failure to provide proper sustenance, food, and water.

The Tompkins County SPCA seized the dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rats and chinchillas on January 27th, after concerned citizens led them to the trailer.

Rescuing the animals has cost the Tompkins County SPCA more than $30,000.

The SPCA is asking for financial donations to help cover the increase medical and staffing expenses.

So far, seven cats, one rat, eleven dogs and three chinchillas have been adopted.

Feb 3, 2010: SPCA SEIZES 100 PETS

"...After a group of concerned citizens led humane investigators to a mobile home in Brooktondale.

"The conditions inside were obviously pretty far from ideal there were some sanitary concerns, there were also concerned for animals not having access to food and water," said SPCA Humane Investigator Cate Walker.

That's where these cocker spaniels, and 98 other pets were found, in a crowded, one-bedroom trailer.

Including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, chinchillas, rats and several other dead animals.

The owner was a self-proclaimed animal rescuer...." More

Tompkins County SPCA Adoption: 2-4-10
Tompkins County SPCA seizes animals: 2-3-10

Pssst...OCD is NOT an Adjective

Dear Readers Without OCD,

On behalf of the OCD community, I'd--

Yikes! I can only imagine how pretentious that must sound. Who am I to speakon behalf of the OCD community? It's not as if we're some organized group (though I suppose many of us, ourselves, are extremely organized) or that we require membership in some exclusive club (imagine the Purell involved in that secret handshake!). That said, if you'll indulge me, I will, in fact, attempt to speak here on behalf of the vast majority of OCD sufferers that I've had the opportunity to meet in my outreach travels. I've come to find that we, collectively, have a gentle reminder we'd like to pass along, ever so respectfully:

"OCD" is not an adjective; and more to the point, it is not a synonym for fastidious or anal-retentive.

Perhaps you've noticed this growing misuse. Maybe you, yourself, are even guilty of an occasional infraction. (It's okay; we forgive you.) I'm talking about comments such as this: "My boyfriend is so OCD about keeping his apartment clean." Or this: "Ever since starting high school, I've become so OCD about doing my homework." I overhear someone saying something like this at least once or twice a week. And if you think I'm overstating the trend, try this little experiment: type the words "so OCD" into a Google or Twitter search box and tally up the results. (Just don't spend too much time doing this, lest some misguided observer accuses you of being so OCD about research.)..." More