Saturday, March 31, 2012

National group addresses animal hoarding with local law enforcement

By Laura McCallister

Local authorities are learning more about animal hoarding. 

The problem is on the rise across the country because hoarding often happens among people with anxiety who are struggling financially and both conditions are up right now.
The American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals spoke to local law enforcement and animal control Friday about how to spot an animal hoarder.
"Hoarding isn't about the number of animals, it's about the quality of care.  One of the things that distinguishes hoarders is they're oblivious to the hard they are causing.  They think they are helping animals," said Dr. Randall Lockwood with ASPCA to those who attended the conference..."  More & video

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Shannon Lacewell, Paws, Claws and More - Kentucky

Mar 28, 2012:  Additional charges for alleged animal abuser

For the first time in a month and half, alleged animal abuser Shannon Lacewell was in court Wednesday morning. Prosecutors added 96 additional charges of animal cruelty.
On Feb. 14, the Animal Rescue Corps along with the Graves County Sheriff's Department raided her "Paws, Claws and More" shelter and seized 96 starving and sick dogs. They also found nine dead dogs on the property.
Lacewell is due back in court next Wednesay for a pre-trial conference and arraignment for a drug possession charge. She is out on bond and is legally barred from housing any domestic animals of any kind at this time..."  More & video

  • Animal rescue group wants charges against Lacewell upgraded 
  • Friend who blew whistle on alleged animal cruelty speaks out 
  • Woman charged with animal cruelty speaks out 
  • Authorities serve warrant at local animal shelter 

  • Mar 15, 2012:  100 dogs rescued after raid at southern KY facility

    by Kevin Young
    About 100 dogs seized in Kentucky are settling in at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds after they were taken Tuesday from a property in southern Kentucky that claimed to be a rescue operation.

    The Graves County Sheriffs Department and members of the Animal Rescue Corps raided "Paws and Claws" in Wingo, KY.
    According to ARC, the animals were living in filthy conditions, didn't have access to food and many were in poor health.
    They also said they found several dead dogs on the property.
    The dogs will remain at the fairgrounds for now, where they'll be checked out by vets and receive vaccinations and care..."  More

    Pictures from Animal Rescue Corp FB page (graphic): here

    Jun 23, 2010:  Dogs found dead at shelter

    Union City police responded to the animal shelter on Sunday and found two dead dogs.

    Someone called the police department around 2:40 p.m. Sunday to report a dog outside the fence at 311 North Fifth St. possibly suffering from a seizure.

    According to the report, when the police arrived, a black puppy crawled out of a hole in the fence and walked up to the patrol unit.

    No dog was found to be in distress outside the fence but, upon further inspection of the grounds, “it was evident that there was a dead dog inside one of the pens,” the report states.

    Officers retrieved the key for the shelter from the police department office and contacted Police Chief Joe Garner, who responded to the scene. Once inside, the officers found several dog pens without any water and none had any food.

    The report stated that the National Weather Service reported the temperature to be around 94 degrees with a heat index of around 104. A heat advisory had also been issued for the area.

    Officers reported dispatch attempted to contact shelter manager Sarah Dodd of Hickman, Ky., and got no answer. Around 2:57 p.m., dispatch was able to reach Ms. Dodd’s mother, Shannon Lacewell (who runs Paws, Claws and More in Wingo, Ky.), who said she would have a volunteer meet officers at the shelter. Samantha Watson did arrive a short time later. And interim city manager Kathy Dillon was contacted by Garner and she also came to the shelter.

    According to the report, after officers were able to get inside the trailer at the shelter, they found another puppy deceased inside a cage and more caged dogs did not have any food or water.

    Ms. Lacewell arrived at the shelter and told police volunteer Tish Rutherford had been there at 1:15 p.m. and had fed and watered all animals.

    She said the dogs turn over their food and water bowls constantly and that is why none of them had any water.

    She also said the dead dog outside was from a litter that was infected with parvovirus and that the puppy inside the trailer had been sick for a while and was being treated with antibiotics. She said many of the young dogs that come to the shelter are infected with parvovirus and die while there.

    Ms. Dodd did arrive at the shelter while officers were there and confirmed the statements made by Ms. Lacewell about the water bowls and the dead animals.

    Ms. Dodd and Ms. Lacewell then gave all the animals water and removed the dead animals from the pens.

    Ms. Dodd told police they almost always have volunteers working in shifts to try to make sure the dogs are checked about every two hours...." More

    Dozens Of Dogs, Goats Seized From Central Texas Puppy Mill

    WACO, TX — Waco animal control officers and McLennan County sheriff’s deputies seized 78 dogs and about 30 goats Thursday morning from what authorities described as a puppy mill off Highway 6 near Riesel southeast of Waco.
    The dogs were taken to the Waco Animal Shelter on Circle Road and the goats were taken to a private livestock facility in Riesel.
    The seizure Thursday resulted from complaints earlier this month about the conditions.
    Some animals were in kennels without food or water.
    Authorities found the burned skeletal remains of dogs and goats on the property..."  More

    Animals Seized From Feces-Ridden Home

    KETV NewsWatch 7 is learning more about a case in which the Humane Society seized animals from a home in South Omaha.

    On Tuesday, police said officers serving a search warrant discovered 10 pit bulls, three small dogs, three fish, birds and a turtle in a home near 23rd and U streets.

    Some of the animals were found in dirty containers, and officers said they found feces and urine all over the floors of the house.

    Authorities said two young children were living in the home, under the care of two adults, ages 20 and 37.
    According to a police report, both adults were cited on suspicion of child neglect.

    The 37-year-old also faces several animal charges..."  More

    Steve & Pennie Lefkowitz, Haven Acres Cat Sanctuary - Florida

    Mar 29, 2012:  Hoarders of 700 cats ordered to pay $600,000 to Humane Society

    The owners of the Haven Acres Cat Sanctuary, from which 697 cats were seized in a case of hoarding last year, pleaded no contest Thursday to 47 counts of animal cruelty and were sentenced to 15 years of probation along with fines and a prohibition on owning or rescuing any cats.
    State Attorney's Office spokesman Spencer Mann said Steve Lefkowitz, 65, and his wife, Pennie, 60, also must pay $626,770 to the Humane Society of the United States as restitution for expenses and abide by other sanctions.
    "They must enter mandatory mental health treatment for hoarding," Mann said. "They must submit to inspections by the county to ensure there are no cats."
    Efforts Thursday to reach the Lefkowitzes and their attorney for comment were unsuccessful.
    With nearly 700 cats, Haven Acres in Alachua County was the largest case of cat hoarding worked by the Humane Society of the United States -- the primary agency involved in handling the animals, an organization spokeswoman said at the time of the seizures..."  More

    Alachua County Animal Services along with two other organizations seized 697 cats and one rooster from the Haven Acres Cat Sanctuary near High Springs. Steve and Pennie Lefkowitz, whose home is also on the property, operate Haven Acres.
    The seizure, which occurred over a two day period beginning Tuesday morning, was part of a criminal investigation and in response to concerns of alleged hoarding, said Animal Services Director David Flagler.
    Animal Services was tipped off in late May when a person wanting to drop off a cat at the sanctuary became concerned upon seeing the conditions of the animals there, Flagler said....
    ...County code enforcement checks apparently did little to catch the escalating feline population at Haven Acres. The operation was within its 200-cat limit according to code enforcement statistics retrieved this year. Flagler said every time code enforcement made a visit, they were told by people at the sanctuary that there were 197 cats on site...." More

    Jun 8, 2011: More than 500 cats seized at sanctuary

    By Cindy Swirko

    About 517 felines were seized Tuesday as part of a criminal investigation involving a cat sanctuary that has been controversial for several years.
    The Humane Society of the United States, which is assisting the investigation, said the number of animals involved rates it as one of the largest cases worked by the organization.
    “We have done several rescue cases in the 500-animal range over the past few years, but this is definitely one of the largest (probably top 3) cat hoarding cases the HSUS has ever done,” spokeswoman Jordan Crump wrote Tuesday in an email.
    The investigation at Haven Acres Cat Sanctuary, at 21023 NW 168th Lane, began about two weeks ago when an Alachua County Animal Services officer went there and found a dead cat in a cage and others that appeared to be sick, said Animal Services Director David Flagler.
    “We saw evidence of a hoarding mentality,” Flagler said. “It wasn’t until we went out and inspected two weeks ago that we found out that they had more cats than what they were allowed. But until we got in today, we had no idea it was this many.”.." More & video (graphic)

    Tuesday, March 27, 2012

    City Prosecutor Hosts Animal Cruelty Seminar

    By Jonathan Van Dyke

    The City Prosecutor’s Office wants to make sure residents know when they are seeing animal cruelty and that they have the confidence to report it to law enforcement authorities.
    To that end, City Prosecutor Doug Haubert will be hosting a free special educational event today (Thursday) to talk about different animal cruelty issues. He said he came up with the idea after speaking with Deborah Knaan of the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, who supervises animal cruelty prosecution.
    “We saw the need to better educate the public on what constitutes animal cruelty and who people can report that to,” Haubert said. “We’re delighted to have support from local and national programs that agreed to have this event.”
    Eric Sakach, Senior Law Enforcement Specialist for the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS); Knaan; and Sgt. Rebecca Johnson of Long Beach Animal Control are all slated to talk. After they are done, they will take questions in a panel-type format.
    “We’re going to discuss topics like animal hoarding, neglect, fighting — sometimes called game fighting,” Haubert said. “We’re also going to talk about the link between animal cruelty and other forms of violence — there is some evidence that some violent criminals began with harming animals and then later graduated to violence against humans.”..."  More

    Monday, March 26, 2012

    Faithful Friends to open March 31

    By Nathan Hardin

    At an emergency animal shelter in Rockingham, Shelley Swaim gave up.

    About 180 cats had been seized during a large hoarding case in the county last year and many of them that were contagious or couldn’t be rehabilitated were brought to Swaim’s shelter to be euthanized.

    “I looked at the girl’s face that was doing the euthanasia and I went in there to help her,” Swaim said.
    When she came out, she gave her notice.

    The decision, she said, was “like an epiphany.” For her new employers, they know the feeling.

    Swaim is now the operations manager at Faithful Friends Animal Sanctuary on Grace Church Road.

    The animal rescue group is having its grand opening on March 31 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

    It will be the only licensed no-kill animal shelter in the county, Swaim said..."  More

    Investigators get up-close training in hoarding cases

    By Chad Smith

    It was hard to replicate the odor.

    When officials at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine converted a room into a mock crime scene of animal hoarding on Sunday, they were able to make it as realistic as possible for veterinarians, animal-rescue workers and students.
    They used stuffed animals to play the parts of dead and dying cats and dogs. There were crates stacked on top of crates, with newspapers, empty cans of soda and cat food and pizza boxes strewn about.
    But they couldn't quite capture the strong odors that typically greet investigators as they confront the growing numbers of hoarding cases..."  More

    Saturday, March 24, 2012

    Dogs removed from home of West Palm Beach suspected animal hoarder

    By Cheryl Hanna

    Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control removed eight dogs from the residence of Karen May, 67 of Plumosa Street in West Palm Beach yesterday. According to Lt. Daisy Harsch the dogs were tied by leashes, kept in various parts of the home, and living in deplorable conditions.
    May's home was filled with debris and has been considered unfit for habitation by both humans and dogs.
    According to CBS News, May found the dogs roaming the streets and brought them in to her home. The animals were living in filth surrounded by feces and urine. The home was filled with debris.
    Diane Sauve, director of Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control stated the dogs were surrendered by May..."  More

    Animal hoarding the focus of weekend conference in Gainesville

    Florida - By Kelsey Diaz – WUFT-FM
    A University of Florida veterinary training program is playing host to a conference this weekend on animal hoarding. Florida’s 89.1, WUFT FM’s Kelsey Diaz explains what animal health professionals are doing to handle this issue..."  More (audio)

    Friday, March 23, 2012

    Judge Reverses National Arts Club Expulsion of Aldon James

    By Amy Zimmer

    MANHATTAN — O. Aldon James is getting a second chance.

    Although the National Arts Club voted in February to expel its embattled former president, a Manhattan Supreme Court judge ordered the 113-year-old institution Thursday to hold a new hearing conducted by a neutral party.

    Justice Carol Edmead said the club's board, which approved James' expulsion from the club on Jan. 23, no longer appeared unbiased in light of new facts that emerged since she called for the board to hold a hearing on the matter.

    Those included a countersuit the club filed in December seeking roughly $3 million in damages they charged James had caused. The claims in that suit, filed in December — such as allegations that James used club checks without approval and deprived the club of revenue by secretly using club apartments — were similar to the claims made after the hearing held the following month..."  More

    17 Rescued Harford County Animals Were Living With Dead Dog And Cat

    BEL AIR, Md. —Animal hoarding in Harford County. More than a dozen cats and a dog were rescued from a home there.
    Andrea Fujii explains that’s not all Animal Control found inside.
    Altogether Animal Control found nearly 30 dogs and cats at the home, including two that were dead.
    Nine beagles are still at the Bel Air home on Lochary Road, where Animal Control seized 17 other animals last Friday.
    The Harford County Humane Society now has the 16 cats and a beagle, who they say were living in poor conditions.
    “There was probably smells and feces if the dogs and cats weren’t getting out. There was probably some disease that was going on in the residence as well,” said Blaine Lang, Harford County Humane Society..."  More & video

    'Hoarded' dogs taken from Tampa home

    Stef DiPietrantonio

    They are two separate, but equally brutal, cases of abused animals seized in Hillsborough County.

    On Thursday, the animals that lived through the ordeal were found in a sad state, covered in their own feces and not fed properly in months.
    Animal services calls this a case of good intentions gone awry. Four-dozen dogs were stacked in carriers inside a home in Thonotosassa. The owner was at work, but came home when she learned Animal Services was taking the dogs away.
    "She does not see any error here, she does not see any issue, she does not see any problem," said Marti Ryan with Hillsborough County Animal Services.
    Boxes and pet carriers litter the woman's front yard.
    Inside? Animal services said the place was filthy. An anonymous caller tipped authorities off, saying they were worried for the owner, as well as the dogs.
    "We've seen many, many hoarding cases in our time," Ryan said. "The difference is this one was working under the heading of an approved 501C-3 non-profit, so people are unknowingly perhaps donating money, funds, and supplies."
    And never knowing, Ryan said, the animals would then be sent to live inside a small plastic carrier, living in their waste without vet care in a dimly lit double-wide trailer.
    The woman's attorney sent us this statement, saying she's innocent of animal cruelty..."  More & video

    More than 100 dogs removed from breeding operation near Quebec City

    Animal welfare advocates have removed 125 dogs from a breeding operation south of Quebec City they say wasn't properly caring for the animals.
    Provincial officials and Humane Society International's Canadian branch converged on a commercial breeding operation to remove the dogs and puppies.
    According to the humane organization, multiple investigations indicated the dogs were not receiving proper care and the security and welfare of the animals was compromised.
    The government agency that took part in the operation said the dogs were taken to a shelter where they'll receive veterinary care.
    The dogs will remain in the care of a non-governmental organization that enforces animal welfare in Quebec.
    A motion will be heard by a judge at a later date to determine whether the dogs will be returned or put up for adoption.
    Quebec has long been considered the puppy-mill capital of North America, with an estimated 800 unregulated breeding operations in Montreal alone.
    In December, the province sharpened the teeth of its laws against animal cruelty, tabling legislation that would hike fines to amounts that could go as high as $75,000 in serious cases..."  More