Tuesday, November 30, 2010

ASPCA on the Ground in Arkansas

The ASPCA’s Field Investigations and Response Team is on the ground in Hector, Arkansas, today removing more than 120 dogs from an extremely overcrowded and unsanitary animal sanctuary. At the request of the Pope County Sheriff’s Office, the ASPCA is working with Best Friends Animal Society to bring relief to the medium- to large-breed dogs, including Labradors and Shepherd mixes.

The sheriff’s office was responding to complaints it received from concerned individuals about the volunteer-run sanctuary, located on 40 acres about 80 miles north of Little Rock. The facility is operated by an elderly woman who created the rescue in partnership with her local humane society to house dogs with special needs.

"The dogs found on the property appear to be well-socialized, but there are alarming signs of neglect such as mange and other medical issues," said Kyle Held, the ASPCA Midwest Regional Director of Field Investigations and Response. "It’s clear that the dogs are in dire need of care and treatment, and our mission is to remove the animals from the property and get them triaged by a veterinary team."

More than 15 responders are on the scene, including staff and volunteers from Best Friends Animal Society, which is providing sheltering services, and PetSmart Charities, which is providing much-needed supplies such as crates and bowls. A local veterinarian is evaluating and treating the dogs seized from the investigation.

This is the ASPCA’s sixth major animal hoarding intervention this year, and its third that involved a severely overcrowded shelter. In June, the Field Investigations and Response Team helped the Elk County Humane Society of St. Mary’s, Pennsylvania, rescue almost 400 cats from another disreputable sanctuary. That investigation was believed to be the Pittsburgh area’s biggest feline rescue of all time. And in January, the team helped remove about 400 cats and dogs from the City of Clarksdale Animal Shelter in Mississippi, a facility intended to handle about 60 animals..." More

Slide show: here

photo credit: Mike Bizelli

Monika's House is a refuge for both people and their pets

Monique Balas

A new joint task force in Washington County has made Hillsboro resident Cindy Steadman's life a little easier.

When Steadman's ex-boyfriend was arrested for domestic abuse, she wasn't sure how to retrieve her cats or where to keep them. A victim assistant specialist at the Washington County District Attorney's Office directed her to the county's Bonnie L. Hays
Small Animal Shelter. Shelter staff picked up the cats and arranged care for them until she can get an apartment.

"Everybody worked together so fast," she said. "If they hadn't gotten the cats out of there, (my ex-boyfriend) legally could have dropped them off anywhere and there would have been nothing I could have done about it."

The district attorney's office referred Steadman to the animal shelter because the two agencies are co-chairing a task force comprising social service agencies, law enforcement and animal advocates. The Animal Protection Multi-Disciplinary Team investigates the link between domestic violence and animal abuse and identifies tangible ways to protect victims and animals..." More

Dogs 'doomed' by bureau's edict


Australia - ANIMAL rescuers have slammed a Department of Primary Industries bureau for putting more stray animals at risk of being culled.

A July bulletin sent by the Bureau of Animal Welfare reminded municipalities that it was illegal for them to give stray, abandoned or unwanted cats and dogs to unregistered animal rescue groups. .

Dog Rescue Association of Victoria president Trisha Taylor said enforcing the existing law would cause more animals to be killed.

"The Bureau of Welfare makes it so difficult for rescue groups.

"There's nothing in the legislation that stops pounds releasing dogs to rescue groups - we believe there is a misinterpretation.

"I live in a residential home in a residential street and I'm being told that to foster a dog I must be a domestic animal business. There's no way I could become registered as a domestic animal business. It's just ludicrous."

Casey community safety manager Caroline Bell said the council supported the department's efforts to clamp down on unlicensed animal welfare groups.

"The City of Casey does not provide unwanted cats and dogs on death row to unregistered rescue groups. It uses the RSPCA as its service provider for animals that are impounded and after the statutory eight-day period, the RSPCA becomes the lawful owner of the impounded animals."

Ms Bell said using unregistered volunteer groups could lead to complaints of animal hoarding and premises could not be monitored to ensure health and hygiene standards were met..." More

Monday, November 29, 2010

Opinion - Nathan J. Wonograd: The Hoarders of NYC

by Nathan J. Winograd

If you were to believe groups like Best Friends, the ASPCA, and the Mayor’s Alliance for New York City’s Animals, hoarding is something that happens only outside of shelters. Hoarding is why rescue groups cannot be trusted and why pounds and shelters should not be second guessed when they decide to kill animals in the face of readily available lifesaving alternatives. Within the animal protection movement, hoarding has become the equivalent of “remember 9/11,” a tactic used to scare everyone into maintaining the status quo, allowing the power to stay where the power is, allowing the money to flow where the money currently flows, allowing animals to continue to be systematically put to death, even as the rescue groups offering to save those very animals are turned away.

There is no question that the effects of hoarding are tragic: animals wallow in their own waste, are denied food and water for long periods of time, do not get necessary veterinary care, are crammed into cages and do not receive walks or regular exercise, all of which results in tremendous suffering and death. Hoarding is cruel, painful, and abhorrent. But in the general population, hoarding of animals is the result of mental illness and therefore not as common as these groups would have us believe.

There is a form of hoarding, however, that is very common; hoarding that is epidemic, endemic, and at crisis proportions; hoarding that systematically neglects, abuses, and kills animals, all the while denying there is a problem and laying the blame elsewhere. This hoarding does not take place inside private homes, but rather in the very institutions which theoretically exist to protect animals: our nation’s “shelters.” Yet to this hoarding, the nation’s largest animal welfare protection organizations turn a blind eye.

Imagine a place where animals do not get fed. Imagine a place where animals with painful injuries do not get the veterinary care they need. Imagine a place where animals are stuck in cages and forced to wallow in their own waste. Imagine a place where the animals’ food is dirtied by cat litter and even fecal material. Imagine a place filled with dead and dying animals simply discarded in the garbage. These behaviors are the textbook definition of hoarding, but they also adequately describe conditions animals across this nation must endure when they enter their local “shelter.”

And no better example of this type of hoarding and the indelible harm it causes can be found than the bleak and foreboding situation faced by the animals of New York City, where all of these behaviors are standard operating procedure. And like many hoarders, those responsible for it seek to deflect blame by calling themselves a “shelter” and by claiming to be “rescuing” the very animals they neglect and abuse..." More

See the ABC news report & video: here

Special Report: The Cat Lady

By Christian Jennings

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – It's hard not to love kittens. They're cute and little, furry and sweet. But what about 20 of them? Even 100?

It sounds unmanageable and downright crazy to own that many cats but believe it or not some people do. They're often called animal hoarders and in many cases the secret obsession is kept a secret.

Their intentions are good, but sometimes people who take in strays, let the strays take over.

Beverly Foss doesn't mind being called the neighborhood cat woman. "There's worse things to be called," Foss said.

Tiny is the latest addition to her 26 member family. "They come in there and get on the bed. I have a king size bed, so quite a few get on it."

Stray cats have quickly become her replacement children. She started taking in cats during the flood of '98, devoting her space and finances to cat food. $40 a week, at least...." More & video

When collecting crosses the line

More than 50 cats, kittens rescued from foreclosed home in Fort Collins

FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- More than 50 cats and kittens were rescued by Larimer Humane Society's Animal Protection from a hoarding situation in Fort Collins, officials said.

The Larimer County Sherriff's office called upon Larimer Humane Society to assist with what appeared to be a few cats left behind following a home foreclosure.

Upon further investigation Animal Protection and Control officers found over 50 cats and kittens living in the home.

It took about a week to rescue the cats and kittens from what the humane society called ‘deplorable living’ conditions.

The felines were found in varying degrees of health and are undergoing extensive behavioral and health evaluations to determine if they are suitable candidates for adoption..."

Almost everyone has clutter, but hoarders take it to extreme


Maybe, just maybe, you like to save things: old newspapers or a black-and-white TV with rabbit ears or boxes of clothes or bundles of electrical wires and cords, spun together like spaghetti gone mad, and you can't bring yourself to throw it away, none of it -- why? -- because you could sell it, you might give it away, because it's so valuable; maybe you love to shop; you love to hunt for bargains or find gems at a yard sale, and it's a rush to find something special; maybe your closet is a mess or your attic or your basement; all that stuff piles up, like phrases in a jumbled, run-on sentence, compounding in a complicated swirl. And someday soon, you will weed through all your stuff and organize it, all of it, but not right now. Not yet..." More

How do you help a hoarder?


There are TV shows about hoarders and support groups for the children of hoarders. There is a push to make hoarding a separate mental illness and a new story about a hoarder pops up, it seems, every few weeks. We hear about animal hoarders and people who die in fires because their homes are so packed with stuff. The stories are revolting and fascinating and perplexing, all at the same time.

Why do people hoard? Do you know somebody who is a hoarder? What should you do to help them?

Randy Frost, a professor of psychology at Smith College in Massachusetts, is one of the nation’s top experts in hoarding. Frost and Gail Steketee, a professor and dean of the school of social work at Boston University, have co-written a book, “Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things.” More (see transcription of chat)

Animal Control Officer Denies Hoarding

BERWICK, Pa. - A northeastern Pennsylvania borough's former animal control officer is leveling animal hoarding accusations against her successor.

Jinece Loughry was named Berwick's animal control officer a month ago. She calls the allegations outlandish.

Her predecessor Kathy Joline said she responded to an odor complaint last year and found Loughry's home "overrun with animals."

After that, Loughry gave up six dogs and 20 cats. She said people abandoned the pets on her property..." More

Horrors of hoarding: Living and dying in chaos, clutter


Tyshee Snead woke to the smell of smoke. He rushed through his house with his wife, Tamica, rescuing their four children. The bedroom air was hot and smoky.

When they got outside, they realized their brick house wasn't on fire. It was the neighbor's wood-sided house, fewer than 10 feet across the alley.

Flames engulfed Viola Dickson's two-story home in southwest Detroit in the early morning hours of July 15.

"Does she go anywhere?" a firefighter asked, trying to figure out whether Dickson was even inside. "Does she go to the casino?"

"No," Tyshee Snead replied. "She's 95 years old."

Firefighters searched for Dickson but couldn't find her on the first floor, where she normally slept. Their efforts were hindered because the house was filled with so much junk. Dickson was a hoarder, and all of her newspapers and books and magazines and clothes and couches became a fuel source for the fire..." More & video

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Animal Hoarding Cases Up in Capital Region

Animal hoarding cases are up nationwide and in the Capital Region, too. What's tough to understand is why these terrible cases are showing up more and more. Randy Simons takes a closer look...." Video

Supervisors Board will discuss animal ordinance


OTTUMWA — An animal ordinance will take the big dog’s share of the agenda when the Wapello County Board of Supervisors meet at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in the Wapello County Courthouse, 101 W. Fourth St.

Supervisor Greg Kenning said Friday the board is concerned about animal hoarding after a recent raid at a home on Rochester Street. The animals were turned over to Eastview Animals Hospital, which will euthanize animals that aren’t picked up within six days.

“What’s happened is, Heartland Humane Society is full and private citizens are keeping more than the city ordinance allows,” Kenning said.

The board will review current county law and see whether the members “need to put any teeth in it” and what things the county is doing to discourage hoarding..."

Messy or a neatnik or somewhere in between

Recent studies show that between two and five per cent of our population hoards. Take, for instance, the friend who never throws away paper, ever. The relative who can’t pass up a dumpster. The local, so-called cat lady.

Maybe the packrat is you.

No matter where the mess is or how it got there, Frost and Steketee indicate most hoarders are embarrassed and ashamed about their messes. Many decide to seek help from psychiatrists and professional organizers because their families are suffering or frustrated (or both).

Frost and Steketee say that hoarding is a facet of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD. Generally speaking, people who have hoarding problems hate to think of anything being wasted. They sometimes keep objects because of memories attached to them, and though elaborate stories are often linked to the objects, hoarders are often afraid of losing those memories if they lose the objects. Hoarders are often perfectionists, they never pass up a chance to add to their collection, many are seriously in debt because of their inability to stop shopping, and some can’t stop “shopping” in a dumpster..." More

Friday, November 26, 2010

International hoarding experts Randy O. Frost and Gail Steketee appearing in Eastlake

By John Arthur Hutchison
By John Arthur Hutchison

Two international experts will appear Dec. 3 in Eastlake at a conference designed to promote understanding about the behavior of hoarding.

“A lot of people don’t want to recognize or admit how bad it is,” said Gail Steketee, dean and professor at Boston University School of Social Work. “They don’t want to say they don’t have control over it.”

Steketee will be one of the presenters and the other will beRandy O. Frost, a professor of psychology at Smith College in Massachusetts. They are co-authors of “Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things” published in April.

The conference will run from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel and is sponsored by the Lake County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services board and Lake County Council on Aging..."


San Jose, CA (November 20, 2010) – United Animal Nations (UAN), a Sacramento-based national nonprofit organization, is running a temporary shelter in San Jose for approximately 1,000 domestic rats removed from an overrun home in Los Angeles County.

The rats were removed from the home on Thursday and Friday by a team from A&E’sHoarders show, The Humane Society of the United States and North Star Rescue. They were then transported to a shelter that UAN staff and volunteers set up in downtown San Jose.

“Often, well-meaning individuals become overwhelmed with more animals than they can properly care for,” said UAN Emergency Services Manager Janell Matthies. “United Animal Nations provides critical support in such cases, often exposing rescued animals to loving human contact for the first time in their lives and preparing them to be adopted into permanent homes.”..." More

Do men care less about animals than women?


Once, a few years ago, I was handing out leaflets describing the cruelty inflicted on caged hens. Passers-by on the busy downtown sidewalk would sometimes just avoid eye contact and walk on by, but quite a few would take a leaflet and some, mostly women over 30, would express an interest in the issue.

One pedestrian, a middle-aged male, took a leaflet and started to read as he walked. Then he stopped dead in his tracks, turned around, handed me back the leaflet and said: “You’ve got to be kidding” and strode angrily away.

Such a reaction is not untypical for that demographic, according to colleagues working in animal advocacy. Anecdotal evidence suggests men are a harder sell when it comes to promoting awareness of animal welfare issues. Until recently, I never gave it much thought because, well, it just seemed natural. Thinking back, I just couldn’t recall ‘being kind to animals’ as a popular topic of conversation among guys in school locker rooms, on camping trips or in bars.

Research appears to confirm the perception that men do seem to care less about animal welfare than women do. A recent Angus Reid public opinion survey suggests that on a wide range of animal issues, men are less likely than women to be sympathetic to animals. For example, male respondents were more likely than female respondents to agree that governments were doing enough or too much to protect farm, laboratory and wild animals. Males were also more likely to support killing animals for fur, using animals in entertainment and killing animals for sport..." More

Rescued dog needs special home

Cookie, a 6-year-old Kuvasz, was rescued from a Reddick farm in April

By Ann Sperring

Cookie has spent six years waiting for a life free of neglect, hunger and pain. Solitude and mistreatment have left her with scars much deeper than those from having her leg amputated. Robbed of a dog's innate trust of humans, Cookie, a Kuvasz, is a big, beautiful dog reduced to hiding in the back of the cage that is currently her home.

Her odyssey from a rescue dog to potential adoptee has left her with a list of special needs, according to Elaine DeIorio of Marion County Animal Services.

"Cookie was among the more than 350 animals we seized due to malnourishment and mistreatment in April from a farm in Reddick," DeIorio said. "She has developed a fear-based set of behaviors arising from the traumas she has endured. The dog experienced so much in terms of isolation, malnourishment and pain that she became mentally and emotionally withdrawn.

"We have treated her physical needs to relieve the pain, but what she needs now is beyond our abilities to address in a shelter environment."..." More

Supervisors working to eliminate pet hoarding

OTTUMWA, Iowa) - A recent case of pet hoarding has Wapello County officials ready to take action to prevent future problems.

Last week, Sue Davis of Ottumwa, was cited for having over 90 cats and dogs in her on home on West Rochester.

Davis is on the board of the no kill Heartland Humane Society Shelter in Ottumwa.

Wapello County Supervisor Jerry Parker fears that at least some of the cats found at the Davis home were animals collected by the county.

Parker says that when the county collects stray cats, they are kept at a local vet's office for five days before being put down.

Parker believes Davis may have given the vet the impression that the cats were headed to Heartland Humane, knowing the that the shelter was full and she would have to try to care for them herself..." More & video

I Have to Tell You . . .

By Pauline Masson

What is the difference between collecting and hoarding?

There's a lively discussion on the Internet right now on the subject as all the reality television shows draw embarrassing attention to people who accumulate so much material that it overflows into the sight of the neighbors and someone raises an alarm.

he difference, one Web site says, is this. While hoarders may want to be left alone, collectors are often eager to carry on a lively discussion of the items they have accumulated.

I get that. And here's a good example.

I met a collector of the first water a couple of weeks ago. He said some people call him a hoarder and I could see why. His collection is a dusty, unorganized hodgepodge of books, framed pictures, papers, furniture, carvings, light standards, and signs that fill the cavernous high-ceilinged storage room of Slater, Mo., city hall and encroach into the foyer and the office of the collector.

"People bring me this stuff," Russell "Gene" Griffith, city clerk and assistant city manager, said. "They know I'll take anything."..." More

Springfield's APL teams up with Animal Planet to help hoarded pets

By Rhys Saunders

The Animal Planet television channel has teamed up with a local no-kill shelter to help find homes for pet victims of hoarding.

Springfield’s Animal Protective League took in eight dogs and five geese after being contacted Monday by the producers of the Animal Planet show, “Confessions: Animal Hoarding.” An episode featuring the case will be aired in early 2011.

The series explores stories of people who own more pets than they can care for.

The animals were mostly healthy with only minor medical issues, according to Deana Corbin, interim executive director of APL.

“As far as hoarding cases go, the animals in this case were taken care of pretty well,” she said this afternoon. “A couple of them had some skin issues, and one had a hurt paw. One is heart-worm positive, but their overall health is good.”.." More


By Brenda Bassett

The Humane Society said animal hoarding appears to be a growing problem in the Treasure State. Recent cases show hundreds of pets placed in dismal conditions by owners who believe they're doing what's right..." More


The Humane Society said animal hoarding appears to be a growing problem in the Treasure State. Recent cases show hundreds of pets placed in dismal conditions by owners who believe they're doing what's right, but could it be "good intentions gone bad?"

"It's very emotional. You're seeing what the animals are going through, how they're living, you know they're living in horrible condition, very unsanitary conditions," said Wendy Hergenraeder the State Director for the Humane Society of the United States.

A surplus of animals with medical or behavioral problems affects communities and shelters by exhausting funding and leaving authorities with difficult decisions. "When they go into shelter situations, sometimes the more adoptable animals in the shelter have to be euthanized because they have to make room for the animals coming in," said Hergenraeder..." More & video


It's estimated that there are 900 to 2,000 new cases of animal hoarding reported every year nationwide.

One Ballantine woman whose home was raided in 2009 for allegedly hoarding animals said it still hurts like an open wound. "It's like taking a knife and stabbing you in the heart. You know life goes on, but it's not the same, never will be. It just hurts so much," said Linda Kapsa.

Kapsa said she's been breeding dogs for more than 45 years. "With the economy and everything, things were slow, just like a lot of things but you go with the wave and ride it out," said Kapsa.

Authorities raided Kapsa's property on two separate occasions in 2009. She was charged with neglecting more than 200 dogs. "The dogs were under socialized, severely under socialized. Dental, ear, eye problems," said Dave Pauli, the Director of Wildlife Response for the Humane Society of the United States..." More & video

Making a mess of life

Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things by Randy O. Frost & Gail Steketee

You’ve been looking for something for days. The last time you had it, you put it down here. Right over here, and now you can’t find it.

But that’s no surprise. You’re always shifting a pile of something from table to counter to desk and back, and things get lost. As soon as you get some of those plastic bins, you’ll get organized. A little mess is normal, right?

That depends on how much is “a little”. In the fascinating new book Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things by Randy O. Frost and Gail Steketee, you’ll see how possessions could make a mess of your life..." More

Monday, November 22, 2010

Animal overload: How many pets is too many?

By Denise-Baran Unland

The person you love hoards 20 pit bulls or a houseful of debris. How to help?

Suggest they watch television.

Clinical psychologist Dr. Daniel J. Moran has been traveling all over the country helping people confront their hoarding in his role on two TV shows that utilize his expertise: Animal Planet’s “Confessions: Animal Hoarding” and the Discovery Channel’s “Hoarders: Buried Alive.”

“I interview the family and teach them how to support the person who is doing the hoarding — if that person wants to change,” said Moran, who is on staff at Silver Cross Hospital. “I also meet the individuals, try to find their motive and help them take steps toward living more flexible lives.”

Dan Jackson, executive producer of “Confessions: Animal Hoarding,” said he searched for clinical psychologists with experience in hoarding. Moran is one of five psychologists Jackson selected..." More

A hoarder among us


When most people think of hoarding, they picture mountains of belongings in crammed rooms. Few consider the emotional consequences.

Bruce Kirkland, senior entertainment writer with Sun Media, and my partner of nine years, has struggled with hoarding his entire life. It exhausts him.

“My parents were Depression-era people who kept everything because they had so little,” Bruce says. He has followed their pattern in his own home. “But at a certain point, you’re keeping stuff that you wouldn’t possibly ever need.”.." More

Sunday, November 21, 2010

San Francisco, CA - 2011 Annual Conference on Hoarding and Cluttering

MHA-SF has been holding an annual conference the past 12 years and annually draws more than 400 social service providers, medical professionals, landlords and property managers, researchers, family and friends, and people who hoard and clutter. MHA-SF has had the honor of having keynote speakers that are international authorities on the topic of hoarding and cluttering such as Dr. Randy Frost, Dr. Gail Steketee, Dr. David Tolin, Dr. Tamara Hartl, and Dr. Michael Tompkins. In addtion to having renowned speakers, the full day conference includes various panels and presentations on issues such as animal hoarding, treatments, consumer panels, legal and safety issues, and many other specialized hoarding and cluttering related topics.

This year's conference theme is Pathways Through the Maze: Practical Approaches and will be held on Thursday, March 10, 2011 and features Christiana Bratiotis, Ph.D., LCSW as the keynote speaker. Breakout topics for this year's conference include Animal Hoarding, Legal and Safety Issues, Motivational Interviewing, Hoarding and Cluttering in the Media, Starting a Support Group and Treatment Group, and a Workshop for Family and Friends.

To learn more information about the conference and on the keynote speaker, program schedule and other opportunities to participate in this award-winning conference click the more information link below.

More Information




  • Early Bird - $95.00 (Before 12:00PM PST on Tuesday, February 01, 2011)
  • Standard - $115.00 (Before 12:00PM PST on Friday, March 04, 2011)
  • At the door - $135.00 (Onsite Thursday, March 10, 2011)

Registration and Payment Policy


  • Payment is due upon registration online.
  • A confirmation email will be sent to the designated email address
  • If you need an additional confirmation receipt of payment please contact MHA-SF at 415-421-2926 ext. 300