Thursday, June 28, 2012

Animal hoarding comes at a big price

By: Tanya O'Rourke

Tucked into the bottom of a hillside in Ripley, Ohio lives Ruth Wilder, her husband, son, daughter and 69 dogs. They live in and around what amounts to a shack. The place is littered with trinkets that have sat in the sun, the rain and the snow.

There isn't overwhelming evidence that the home has electricity. A portable toilet near the home on the property questions whether there is running water. Wilder is a 65-year-old woman living likely at or below the poverty line.

Wilder waited for one rainy day in June with heaviness in her heart. The day she will give up all but three of her dogs to the Brown County Dog Warden, Leslie Zureick.

Wilder is an animal hoarder. She knows it. But the strain, financial and physical, is too much for her.
"I sleep on a lawn chair with a couch pillow on it for a bed," Wilder said. "And [I've] been buying part of my medicine and doing without part of it."

In large part, Wilder is willing to give up the dogs without a fight because of Zureick, who took over the Brown County Animal Shelter in Nov. 2011 and got rid of the gas chamber. 

Zureick promised Wilder her dogs would not be euthanized.

"She knew we weren't gonna kill 'em," said Zureick. "We weren't gonna euthanize any dogs."
Having significantly fewer dogs will help Wilder live a longer, healthier life.  But the burden now shifts to Zureick...."  More, photo & video

Original story:  here

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