Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Metapsychology: Review - Cold-Blooded Kindness

Neuroquirks of a Codependent Killer, or Just Give Me a Shot at Loving You, Dear, and Other Reflections on Helping That Hurts

by Barbara Oakley
Prometheus Books, 2011
Review by James K. Luiselli, Ed.D., ABPP, BCBA-D
May 31st 2011 (Volume 15, Issue 22)

In July of 2006, 46-year old Carole Alden shot and killed her husband, Marty Sessions, in their double-wide trailer home. Neither Alden or Sessions were stable or well adjusted individuals. Acknowledged as a respected artist, Carole had married three times and was noted for living in squalid conditions while apparently devoting herself to caring for hundreds of animals that she took in. Marty was a chronic drug user with a criminal record and several stints in prison. Alden was eventually convicted of manslaughter and to this day, remains behind bars. In Cold-Blooded Kindness, author Barbara Oakley reconstructs the facts about the Sessions murder by reviewing police records, dissecting trial testimony, and interviewing people who knew the protagonists. Oakley also accumulated nearly 100 letters Alden wrote to her from prison. As well, the author met and interviewed Alden at the Utah State Penitentiary.

The book features two dominant and intersecting themes, one being that Carole Alden struggled withpathological altruism, manifested by her unconditional care of other people or as Oakley writes, "an unhealthy focus on others to the detriment of one's own needs." In turn, Alden's altruistic compulsions codified her status as a co-dependent adult, a so-called "enabler" who contributed to Marty's lifelong drug addiction. The second theme of the book addresses Alden's claim and legal defense that she killed her husband because she had endured years of his physical and sexual abuse. Accordingly, Oakley explores the clinical and research basis for the battered woman syndrome, largely to reconcile the veracity of Alden's accusations with evidence that was revealed in court and the first-hand, albeit inconsistent, accounts of family members..." More

James K. Luiselli, Ed.D., ABPP, BCBA-D is a psychologist affiliated with May Institute and a private-practice clinician. Among his publications are 7 books and more than 240 book chapters and journal articles. He reviews books for The New England Psychologist.

Dead Mice In Dogs' Water Not Abuse, MCSO Says

Arizona has no law against hoarding, even hoarding dozens of animals, as long as they have access to food, water, shelter and medical care. And state law doesn't dictate the quality of those requirements.

That's the word from the Maricopa County Sheriff's Department on why it hasn't intervened and seized dozens of dogs living in mice-infested kennels deep in the desert.

"In terms of state law, it doesn't matter how many animals you have, as long as you're providing for them," said Sgt. Matt Summers with MCSO.

The dogs belong to Shirley Johnson, who lives west of the Palo Verde Nuclear Power Plant outside Tonopah. For years she has been taking in unwanted animals that others have dumped, putting them in kennels and caring for them.

Last summer she alerted a dog rescue group after her gas-operated well pump died, and she had no way to provide water for them. The rescue group said it was appalled by the deplorable conditions in which the dogs were living: kennels filled with feces, and water buckets filled with dead mice.

Sheriff's investigators have been to the property several times after receiving complaints, but Summers said they found no evidence of abuse.

"Dead mice floating in the water is not ideal, but that alone would not rise to the level of failing to provide necessary water," Summer said.

Over the past six months, the volunteers have been helping Johnson care for all of the unwanted dogs. Johnson has been slowly allowing the volunteers to remove dogs from the property and adopt them out.

"She had accumulated 101 dogs when we came to help; we're now down to 24," said Shelley Stolts, a volunteer with Arizona Desert Dogs. "We need to get the rest of dogs off this property."..." More

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Exotic birds seized from home

By Britney Milazzo

LCOTT — The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Niagara seized 15 exotic bird from a woman’s home Wednesday afternoon.

Executive Director of the SPCA of Niagara John Faso said after his office received an anonymous tip about a woman hoarding birds SPCA members arrived to the home and found the them.

“Our investigator found the birds generally in good health in spite of the overcrowded and filthy cages,” Faso said. “The woman was fostering the birds for various organizations and it became a hoarding situation.”

Faso said the SPCA has fostered out a couple of the birds and are looking for permanent homes for them..."

New Research Provides Insight Into How OCD Develops

Study shows that compulsions lead to obsessions, and not the other way around

New scientific evidence challenges a popular conception that behaviours such as repetitive hand-washing, characteristic of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), are carried out in response to disturbing obsessive fears.

The study, conducted at the University of Cambridge in collaboration with the University of Amsterdam, found that in the case of OCD the behaviours themselves (the compulsions) might be the precursors to the disorder, and that obsessions may simply be the brain's way of justifying these behaviours. The research provides important insight into how the debilitating repetitive behaviour of OCD develops and could lead to more effective treatments and preventative measures for the disorder.

The research, funded by the Wellcome Trust and published in the renowned American Journal of Psychiatry, tested 20 patients suffering from the disorder and 20 control subjects (without OCD) on a task which looked at the tendency to develop habit-like behaviour. Subjects were required to learn simple associations between stimuli, behaviours and outcomes in order to win points on a task...." More

Genevieve Maul
University of Cambridge

Hoarding Task Force trains Lee County law enforcement officers

LEE COUNTY, Fla.- Experts say it's not new, but a number of extreme cases of hoarding in Lee County calls for some new strategy from first responders.

"Officers very routinely run into hoarding situations. Most often, we'll see them at the last dire stretch, where there's really a crisis for someone to intervene," said Adam Leath of Lee County's Hoarding Task Force.

So, 60 Southwest Florida law enforcement officers are undergoing two days of Crisis Intervention Training to better identify issues such as hoarding early on.

"Law enforcement is 90% mental and 10% physical. There's only so many times you have have to make an arrest. But that 90% that's mental, it's giving them the skill set to be able to access these situations," Sgt. Jennifer Matlock of Cape Coral Police Department said Monday.

Lee County's Hoarding Task Force estimates there are 12-30,000 cases of varying degrees of hoarding in Lee County alone..." More

Read more:

Seized animals sick, dirty, stressed, Crown says


Confronted with an overwhelming smell of urine and excrement, an animal welfare inspector with more than 35 years experience was dry retching when he entered a cottage full of cats.

On March 5, 2007, the SPCA searched a Heretaunga Rd property between Woodville and Dannevirke, owned by David Neil Balfour, 62, and his wife Daryl Kirsty Reid Balfour, 50.

Inspectors found 161 cats and 87 dogs they allege were being ill-treated.

At the Palmerston North District Court yesterday, James Boyd, SPCA officer in charge of the case, said among the animals discovered four years ago were cats kept in a dimly lit and poorly ventilated cottage.

''The smell here was quite horrible ... I was retching. My eyes were stinging, my nasal passages were sore."

David and Daryl Balfour are each facing four charges – two of ill-treating animals and two of failing to prevent suffering.

The charges cover the period between August 23, 2006, and March 5 the following year. Both Balfours entered not guilty pleas to all charges at the start of their trial in front of Judge Grant Fraser.

In his opening statement, Crown prosecutor Paul Murray said the Balfours ran a dog and cat breeding operation on a property that was formerly a pig farm..." More


Animal Hoarding

There are many kinds of addiction, and there are different forms addiction can take. While some people are addicted to drugs and alcohol, others are addicted to collecting animals.

Animal hoarding is a growing problem. The stories are so unbelievable that they almost always make the news. Most often, cats are the objects of hoarding, but animals of all different kinds have been found in houses and on properties across the country, being collected by people who are addicted to the act of bringing in more and more.

Becoming a Hoarder

People who hoard animals are not able to stop their behavior, just as a drug addict cannot stop doing drugs. It often starts with the person feeling sorry for unwanted animals and wanting to take them in and give them a home. One by one the animals are brought in and fed, and pretty soon the animals are too numerous to be taken care of properly. The hoarder will continue to bring in more animals, not seeing the danger of it or the problems it is causing. The person will become overwhelmed with all the animals, but will not do anything about it because they believe they are still helping, and because now it is an addiction.

The kind of unrealistic thinking of an animal hoarder is very much like that of a drug addict. Hoarding is a mental illness, and often needs to be treated professionally, just like drug addiction..." More

Medina SPCA Trying to Combat Animal Hoarding Problem

The Medina County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) is attempting to form an animal hoarding task force.

Stephanie Moore, director of the MSPCA, is working with city and county officials to create a team that can help both the animals and hoarder.

According to Moore, there is a need for mental health professionals to assist hoarders after their animals are taken from their homes, and to work with them to prevent repeat hoarding episodes.

There is also a need for agencies to find homes for the hoarder since the properties are usually uninhabitable.

At a recent horrendous case of animal hoarding in Chippewa Lake, both the homeowner and her daughter had no place to stay. Moore and her Humane Officer found a church for them to stay at for a few days until a more permanent home could be located.

The task force would also focus on early intervention to stop this growing problem.

It's estimated that there is one animal hoarder every 20 miles in both urban and rural settings..." More

SPCA: 85 animals rescued from Hinckley Township farm

by Lisa Hlavinka

HINCKLEY TWP. — Eighty-five animals were rescued from a farm Tuesday in what appears to be another case of animal hoarding.

More than 40 dogs, two horses, four sheep, three rabbits, two potbellied pigs, cats, waterfowl, chickens and roosters were rescued by the Medina County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Executive Director Stephanie Moore said.

“Last week we received an anonymous email about a possible case of animal hoarding in Hinckley,” Moore said. “That was forwarded to our humane officer, and she went out on Monday and this is what she found.”

On Wednesday, many of the animals were awaiting medical treatment at the SPCA’S animal care facility, 245 S. Medina St., Medina. The livestock were at foster homes, but two dogs needed to be euthanized, Moore said.

All the dogs have serious dental diseases, and some have missing eyes, ear infections and lameness. Three dogs with severe injuries were hospitalized. A veterinarian treated the other animals at the SPCA office, she said.

Depending on their medical needs,some will be ready for adoption by June 4, Moore said..." More

150 Dogs Rescued from Hoarder, Shelter Overwhelmed

I received an e-mail from a long-time volunteer with the Austin Humane Society in Austin, Texas, and would greatly appreciate it if you would consider sharing the following:

Beginning last Friday, until yesterday, we started intake on almost 150 dogs voluntarily surrendered by a couple in rural Bastrop County, Texas. This one couple owned all of the dogs and became overwhelmed, as you can imagine, and reached out to Bastrop County Animal Control for help. BCAC, in turn, reached out to us.

We are overwhelmed by the magnitude of what these dogs need right now. Austin is very much a dog-loving city, and the people have been more than generous with their donations of money and supplies. Some of the dogs that were in better shape will be available for adoption beginning Saturday, but we still have at least 50 dogs out in foster, and the 59 we brought in yesterday are in much worse shape both medically and behaviorally. Some of them need specialist vet care that we hope will be donated to us by local vets and vet hospitals. This doesn’t even count the pregnant mommas we’re keeping tabs on..." More & video

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Animal Rescuer Gets Jail For Hoarding Cats In A U-Haul

By Ben Yakas

There's a thin line between being a cat rescuer and a cat hoarder: a Brooklyn man who ran a nonprofit animal rescue group, and claimed he was a cat rescuer, was sentenced to 60 days in jail for hoarding cats. Steven Hock was arrested for animal cruelty for housing 69 cats in a parked U-Haul van without air, food or water two years ago. "He is what the mental health community considers a hoarder but he considers himself a rescuer," said Brooklyn Deputy District Attorney Carol Moran

Hock, who ran nonprofit Kitty Shockwave, was convicted of 69 counts of confining an animal without food or water, eight counts of overdriving, torturing and injuring animals, and eight counts of carrying an animal in a cruel manner. In addition to the jail time, he'll serve three years of probation with psychological counseling, and is not permitted to own or harbor any animals for the next three years..." More

Animal cruelty ‘not neglect’

By Thomas Tracy

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A man convicted of keeping 69 cats in cages in the back of a U-Haul truck tried to claw his way out from under the guilty verdict last week by claiming his actions weren’t as bad as animal cruelty laws suggest.

Defense attorney Donald Yannella admitted that Steve Hock did indeed keep the cats in a locked U-Haul found at the corner of 23rd Street and Sixth Avenue back on Oct. 12, 2008, but did not “neglect to supply the animals with a sufficient supply of good and wholesome air, food, shelter and water,” as outlined in the criminal statute.

All he did was “impound or confine” the cats, which is also outlined in the charge.

Hock claims that the animals may have been locked in the back of a truck, but he did keep tabs on them and made sure they were fed.

Since there is no evidence that he had starved the cats, the entire animal cruelty charge against him should be rendered moot and the conviction vacated, Yannella claimed.

But Judge John Wilson didn’t see it that way.

In his March 31 decision, Wilson let the charge stand, claiming Hock was splitting hairs.

“It is inconceivable that the legislature intended that a person could provide an animal with three out of four of these necessities and not be guilty of the underlying crime,” he wrote.

Their info from Petfinder.com:


Our Featured Pets...



We are currently involved in assisting Brooklyn and Upper West Side street cats. Our rescued cats are well-traveled and diverse (not to mention darned lucky!). Check 'em out!

Who We Are

KITTYSHOCKWAVE is an all-volunteer, independent not-for-profit organization founded to help rescue cats and kittens and find them permanent homes. We currently do adoptions by appointment (call us at 718-238-4605!) Rescued cats are normally neutered, given their first shots, and tested for feline aids and leukemia .


Please send donations to

#155, 7304 5th Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11209

Adopting a friend

It's easy! We have some questions to help us learn which cats would be good matches for your situation. We ask for an adoption donation to help with veterinary and rescue expenses. Call us at


or email us at: kittyshockwave@yahoo.com

Come Visit Us!

Call or email us: 718-238-4605 or kittyshockwave@yahoo.com to set up an appointment to have pets brought for you to meet! We're located in the Upper West Side /all of Manhattan and in Bay Ridge/ Park Slope/Cobble Hill/Carroll Gardens/Brooklyn Heights/Sunset Park/ Dyker Heights/Williamsburg/Fort Greene/Greenpoint areas in Brooklyn, but we're happy to schedule a visit bringing kitties to you anywhere in the accessible NYC area!
We do adoptions by appointment --call us to make an appointment in the NYC area! (don't be shy about trying again if you don't hear back from us immediately)


or email us!

Psychology Of Hoarding


The demolition of an Aiken home continued Friday. The county seized the home, calling it a hazard due to hoarding. Doctors say hoarding is a mental health issue that can be treated.

Alisa Hamrick and her husband, Jason lived across from a "hoarder home" for nine years. They spent part of the day removing items from the before the county finishes tearing it down. They say they plan to store the items.

“He definitely can't get rid of anything. He likes to take stuff from our house that we were ready to throw away,” Hamrick said. "I think it's probably gotten worse, [over time] because he tends to collect trash."

Because of the trash the instability of the structure, the county says the home is a hazard, a result of hoarding..." More

Hoarding: Hidden Problem Becoming Increasingly Visible

Recently, 24,000 pounds of collected items were removed from a New Hampshire home in what experts called an example of an all-too-common problem -- hoarding.

It's a secretive and often shameful problem that is getting more attention thanks to national TV shows, prompting more Granite Staters to get help.

In the recent case, the family asked to remain anonymous. They said their father enjoyed buying and collecting things, and after his wife died, his stuff began piling up..." More

Hoarding’s Darkest Side

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Most people have some clutter around the house, but at what point does it become a hazard?

We’ve all had times where we can’t see the kitchen table because of clutter, but we clean it off and throw away what isn’t necessary.

For some, they can’t throw anything away and become hoarders.

On March 9, a cold rain only added to the depressing scene inside 113 Elmont Street in Crafton Heights. It was a fire fueled by waist-high trash.

It’s likely that 77-year-old John Rabusseau’s obsession with storing stuff away cost him his life. The body of the retired salesman was found just behind a front door blocked by junk.

For 20 years, no one was invited to Stan Engelman’s Morningside home – including family.

Patti Engelman, Stan’s wife of more than 25 years, became unable to part with anything..." More

OLDER ADULTS WHO HOARD: An Advanced Training for Service Providers Who Serve Older Adults

Mental Health Association of San Francisco

An Advanced Training for Service Providers
Who Serve Older Adults


Dear Friend of MHASF,
The Mental Health Association of San Francisco's Institute on Compulsive Hoarding and Cluttering is pleased to announce our upcoming training: "OLDER ADULTS WHO HOARD: An Advanced Training for Service Providers Who Serve Older Adults."

Date: Wednesday, June 15th, 2011
Time: 9:00PM -4:30PM
Location: World Affairs Council, 312 Sutter Street, Suite #200, San Francisco, CA 94108
Trainer: Michael A. Tompkins, Ph. D. Licensed Psychologist, Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of California at Berkeley and Founding Partner of the San Francisco Bay Area Center forCognitive Therapy

In this training Dr. Tompkins will address:
  • What is compulsive hoarding?
  • Why older adults with hoarding and cluttering behaviors often refuse help
  • How to help older adults with hoarding and cluttering behaviors accept help
  • Their goals, your goals, our goals
  • Identifying harm reduction targets and designing harm reduction plans
  • Discussion of cases and application of strategies

  • Early Bird: $130.00 on or before June 13, 2011
  • On-Site: $150.00 at the door
  • Includes a FREE copy of Digging Out: Helping Your loved One Manage Clutter, Hoarding and Compulsive Acquiring by Dr. Michael Tompkins and Dr. Tamara Hartl
  • Lunch included
CEUs for 6 hours at $30.00 per license
Social Work: LCSW, MFT
Nursing: CNA, LVN, LPT, RN
*San Francisco Department of Public Health employee CEU credits are FREE
For more information call 415-421-2926 extension 317 or email mark@mha-sf.org
Click below to:
Then submit your registration form through:
Fax: (415) 421-2928
Email: info@mha-sf.org
Standard Mail: MHASF, 870 Market St., Suite 928, San Francisco, CA 94102

Hope to you on June 15th.

Mark Salazar
Program Manager
Institute on Compulsive Hoarding and Cluttering
Email: mark@mha-sf.org
PH: 415-421-2926 ext. 317
FX: 415-421-2928
Spread the word! Please forward this to a colleague!
The Mental Health Association of San Francisco (MHASF) is a non-profit citizen's organization dedicated to improving the mental health of residents in the diverse communities of San Francisco through advocacy, education, research and service. In all its programs, MHASF works together with people and families challenged by mental illness and with the agencies that serve them to promote prevention, access to services, leadership and independence. Visit us on the web atwww.mha-sf.org.