Friday, November 30, 2012

Twelve dogs being hoarded saved from Chicago fire

Yesterday, as ABC7 News covered the story about the 12 dogs that were rescued from a house fire on Chicago’s Northwest Side, animal lovers all around Chicagoland sat in stunned silence. Yet another person, this time a 50-year-old man, was hoarding animals and this time the act almost eliminated 12 defenseless animals! So far only one of the dogs died from the fire.
The hoarder lived on the 5000-block of West Winona in the Forest Glen neighborhood. He was taken to the hospital with burns. While no one wants a human being to suffer, it is unbelievable when we hear that animals must suffer due to people hoarding them.
Sometimes the hoarding has this type of result, accidental death because of a tragedy, and sometimes death is due to the fact that the hoarders forget to even feed or provide water to the animals in their care; needless to say they are never taken to a vet, taken for a walk, or even cleaned up after. The animals end up living in utter despair; with filth and negligence..."  More

Arlington's Hoarding Response Team honored

The town’s Health and Human Services’ Hoarding Response Team is being recognized by the National League of Cities (NLC) as a model program demonstrating innovative and collaborative approaches within government.

The Arlington Hoarding Response Team is one of 27 municipal programs selected for the 2012 City Showcase — NLC’s premiere program celebrating city achievements.

The Hoarding Response Team provides emergency response, intake, referral and follow-up services for persons living in hoarded, unsafe and unsanitary living conditions in their homes. The team, comprised of representatives of multiple town departments, operates on a hazard reduction model to ensure affected residents can safely reside in their homes.

The program will be highlighted during this year’s Congress of Cities and Exposition, held in Boston, Nov. 28 to Dec. 1. During the conference, representatives from Arlington will engage in networking and knowledge sharing with colleagues from around the country..."  More

Monday, November 26, 2012

Great Danes hoarded in Mpls. home

  • by: PAUL WALSH

Authorities in Minneapolis have uncovered a hoarding case involving a breed of dog known for its mammoth size, and now they are on a mission to find good homes for the animals.
Seven Great Danes were living in "filthy conditions and ... had very little socialization and care" in a home, said city spokesman Matt Lindstrom.
The dogs' owner surrendered them to the city's Animal Care and Control, which placed two puppies in new homes and began handing over the other five -- all adults -- to a rescue organization in two stages starting Monday.
"They are wonderful dogs, but they are big dogs," said Ann Heinrich, whose Great Dane Rescue of Minnesota and Wisconsin took in three of the dogs Monday and will return for the other two Wednesday.
Danes are considered the world's tallest breed, standing more than 3 feet tall from paw to shoulder and weighing at least 100 pounds by adulthood. It's the size of the five dogs that requires Heinrich to make two trips for the handoff.
Even though the dogs' owner cooperated with Animal Control, "this case is still under investigation for possible animal cruelty" charges, Lindstrom said.
Photos taken two weeks ago and released by the city show a thoroughly trashed living room and filth surrounding a kiddie swimming pool made into a dog's bed.
In light of this case, Animal Care and Control officials said in a statement that a residence with a large number of animals is "not a healthy environment for the people or the pets."..."  More

Humane Society given custody of 173 seized animals: Owner will not appeal decision

The Humane Society of North Texas (HSNT) was awarded custody Monday of 173 animals recently seized in Denton County. The species involved include guinea pigs, cats, chickens, rabbits, goats, donkeys, doves, ducks, geese and an emu.

The animals were seized from their owner on Sunday, Nov. 11.

“Discovering many different species, especially in pairs like this, signals a suspected breeding situation,” said Shelly Meeks, lead investigator at the HSNT, in a release following the seizure. “The conditions were absolutely deplorable, with feces and animal carcasses everywhere, as well as inadequate food and water. There were animals forced to live in small enclosures with animal carcasses.”

The owner chose not to appeal the custody decision, and the HSNT will now be able to begin placing the animals with new owners. The organization is preparing 30 bunnies for adoption, by spaying and neutering them, as well as several donkeys, pigeons and doves. Those interested in adopting an animal can mail, fax or turn in an application at the HSNT office at 1840 East Lancaster Avenue in Fort Worth.

The 173-animal seizure came just over a month after two additional instances of mass animal neglect. The Flower Mound Police Department recently recovered 51 Maltese mix-breed dogs abandoned on the side of the road days after the HSNT recovered 41 Cavalier King Charles Spaniels abandoned in Sanger.

Flower Mound police captain Richard Brooks said the dogs recovered by his department had “mud and feces in their hair.” All the dogs have since been adopted, but a $1,000 reward is being offered to anyone who provides information leading to the arrest and conviction of the party responsible for dumping the dogs..."  More

Ogden dog hoarder wonders why he did it

A 60-year-old man says he doesn’t know how he let his good intention to rescue dogs turn into a hoarding situation that ended with last week’s removal of 149 sick and starving Chihuahua dogs from his home in Ogden.
"I don’t understand me," Miguel Salgado told the Standard-Examiner ( ). "I think now: ‘Why?’"
Animal services officers and volunteers removed the mixed-breed Chihuahuas from his home and took them to four agencies. Health officials have told Salgado he can’t live in the house until it’s cleaned out and he will have to replace all his furnishings, including clothes. Until then, he is staying with friends.
Salgado said he shut off his electricity and telephone service to pay for dog food, of which the dogs went through an estimated 100 pounds a week.
He said things got out of control after he underwent open-heart surgery two years ago. He took in strays, dogs given to him by neighbors and canines dumped over his fence by others. Only a few were spayed or neutered.
"The doctors tell me, ‘You lucky man. No operation, you dead,’ " said Salgado, who speaks limited English. "All I’m thinking is, ‘What happen to my dogs?’ "
When animal services officers and volunteers removed the Chihuahuas from his home, the dogs were suffering from starvation and ammonia burns from exposure to urine. Some have birth defects from inbreeding. They will be put up for adoption after receiving shots and an examination by a veterinarian.
Salgado cried as he talked about the dogs being gone..."  More

Monday, November 12, 2012

Hoarding will soon be recognized as mental disorder

By: Christa Dubill


Inside a small Kansas City-area home, a mom quietly maneuvers along a path intricately etched through mounds of clothing, paperwork, books and boxes.

There are full storage bins and bags stacked to at least waist-high. The circular kitchen table, which sits within feet of the front door, is covered in a pile of paper and cardboard reaching the edge all the way around...

...Experts estimate 5 percent of the population are hoarders. That is twice the rate of obsessive compulsive disorder, and four times the rate of bipolar and schizophrenia.

Even with those statistics, hoarding is not recognized as a mental disorder. But that is about to change.

For the first time, the American Psychiatric Association -- the group tasked with updating the manual all mental health professionals use for diagnosing -- is planning to add hoarding as its own category next year. The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is being published in spring 2013.

Many believe a clinical diagnosis is the first step in the right direction for treatment..."  More

The Truth Behind Animal Hoarding

We've all seen the photos on the news: dogs covered in feces-filled dreadlocks, cats coated in filth, piles of waste and trash filling the home. Hoarding is a problem that has been brought to the forefront of America's consciousness by shows like Hoarders and Confessions: Animal Hoarding. But unfortunately, animal hoarding is much more common than most people realize. 
So, what is an animal hoarder?Animal hoarding is an extremely complicated issue that effects entire communities because of the mental health, animal welfare and public safety concerns involved. To be considered an animal hoarder, a group or individual must:
  1. Have more than the typical number of companion animals
  2. Be unable to provide even minimally acceptable standards of nutrition, sanitation, shelter and medical care. Often this inability results in starvation, illness and even death.
  3. Be in denial about their inability to provide the minimally acceptable standards of care and the impact it is having on their animals and themselves. 
Most animal lovers know someone who has multiple pets -- that does not make them an animal hoarder. It is crucial to realize it is not merely the number of animals involved that makes an individual a hoarder. In order to be a hoarder, an individual must meet all three criteria.

Why do people hoard animals?The results of animal hoarding can be horrific, but before you place judgement on the animals' owners, please understand that these individuals suffer from severe mental illness.  ASPCA writes the following: "It is not clearly understood why people become animal hoarders. Early research pointed toward a variant of obsessive-compulsive disorders but new studies and theories are leading toward attachment disorders in conjunction with personality disorders, paranoia, delusional thinking, depression and other mental illnesses. Some animal hoarders began collecting after a traumatic event or loss, while others see themselves as 'rescuers' who save animals from a life on the street.
Animal hoarders may think they have good intentions, but their irrational behaviors cause significant suffering to the large numbers of animals in their care. The "hoarder" does not intend to inflict harm on the animals, and in most cases, the "hoarder" can no longer take care of himself, much less multiple animals."

How common is animal hoarding?There are approximately 3,500 cases reported and 250,000 animals that are effected each year in the United States alone. Thanks to increased awareness of animal hoarding, the number of cases being reported over the past four years have nearly doubled.

What you should do if you know of an animal hoarder?If you suspect that you know an animal hoarder, the best thing you can do is contact your local humane law enforcement department. While we do assist in animal hoarding cases, AHS does not have a law enforcement arm and therefore we cannot initially investigate these claims. In Travis County, please call 3-1-1 and they will put you in touch with the appropriate authorities. You may be scared of reporting someone you know, but the person and the animals both are in dire need of help, it is the best thing you can do for all parties involved!


Police: Animals seized from ARK shelter in DeLand will not be killed

By Jen Horton and Sarahrose Ministeri
The DeLand Police Department has come under fire after it seized 126 animals from the Animal Rescue Konsortium (ARK) shelter in DeLand and placed them in temporary homes.

Animal activists have been burning up email connections and the Internet with allegations that the animals taken may be destroyed. Fanning the flames is a lack of information about the process.

DeLand Deputy Police Chief Randy Henderson explained the animals cannot be killed; they are being held now for safekeeping in shelters and rescue homes, and no decisions will be made about their fate until the case is reviewed by a judge.

DeLand police officers executed a search warrant about 8:30 a.m. Nov. 8 at the ARK shelter, 441 S. Woodland Blvd., after receiving complaints about the care of animals there. After a veterinarian toured the shelter at the City of DeLand's request, the decision was made to seize the animals.

Shelter supporters have said the complaints were lodged frivolously by a rival animal-rescue group, and also said police and firefighters who entered the shelter got a skewed impression of conditions, because the morning clean-up had not yet been done by ARK volunteers.

The animals are safe right now, and are in holding, Henderson said.

The Police Department has filed paperwork with the court, and is waiting for a hearing date within the next 30 days.

"We hope to be in front of a judge next week," Henderson said Nov. 9. "The welfare of these animals is of the highest priority, and we would like to see this resolved."

No-kill advocates contacted The Beacon and said some of the rescued animals were taken to shelters in Flagler and Seminole counties that don't have no-kill policies.

"That is true," Henderson said. "But nothing can happen to these animals until court."

The judge may release the animals back to ARK, or they could be given to the shelters or rescue homes where they are now being housed. If that happens, the shelters would have control of the animals.
Henderson said he deliberately chose shelters that do not use euthanasia as a means of population control.

"A great deal of effort went to finding shelters with high adoption rates, who did not use euthanasia for population control," he said.

The cooperation from shelters has been great, he said.

Henderson pointed out that the City of DeLand has a no-kill philosophy. The Second Chance Animal Shelter, run by the DeLand Police Department, has a survival rate of 99.4 percent, Henderson said. The only animals the city's shelter has had to euthanize were either suffering, or were not able to be rehabilitated for adoption.

All of the dogs seized from ARK have been placed in shelters or rescue homes save one, an aggressive dog that bites, Henderson said. All of the cats were also placed.."  More

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Video: Animal hoarding a growing problem

The RSPCA tells 4BC the welfare of animals "suffers hugely" because of animal hoarding, which can see people living among "hundreds of dogs" in a house...Video

Hoarding is risk to humans, pets

Dear Dr. Thompson: Can you help me with a serious problem? I am witness to a family member who is a hoarder of animals. There are so many and some that are old with incontinence problems, that the home is littered with feces and smelling strongly of urine. This home obviously needs to be cleaned. But its owners need to know how to prevent the problem from recurring. Can you give me some direction as to organizing this home so that the pets can remain there, but the mess doesn’t repeat?
Unfortunately, you are dealing with a very complex situation that involves a mental health issue, animal cruelty, and a risk to public health. You did not give an estimate of how many animals are in the house, but I assume it is a significant number and there is no reasonable way for these pets to remain with this person
Most cases of animal hoarding start out well intentioned. There is a desire to help these animals, but as is the case with many mental illnesses, the behavior is taken to extremes. Often hoarders fail to realize their behavior is putting the health and welfare of the animals in jeopardy. This becomes a cruelty case since the presence of feces and urine throughout the environment put everyone in the house at risk for illness. The large numbers of animals in the house also create significant conflict between the animals for food and water. Many times these animals are malnourished and dehydrated..."  More

Cat ‘hoarder’ sent for mental evaluation

Further criminal court action against alleged animal hoarder William Tinkler has been delayed until his mental state can be tested.

As Tinkler went before Kane County Judge Kathryn Karayannis on Friday, defense lawyer Michael Reidy made a motion that he be tested for mental and physical fitness to stand trial. Karayannis ordered him to be evaluated by the Kane County Fitness Center and set a new hearing for 9 a.m. Jan. 10 in Elgin Branch Court. At that time, she said, she will rule whether he is fit to face the charges and, if so, he will be asked to plead guilty or not guilty.
Tinkler reportedly took care of dozens of stray cats at his Villa Street home before police found 43 dead animals in his van and temporarily declared his home uninhabitable because of unsanitary conditions.
After Friday’s hearing, Reidy said his client is a Vietnam War veteran and may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Tinkler lived alone except for the numerous cats he reportedly took care of, although both Reidy and neighbors said Tinkler has a close friendship with Penny Knuth, the woman who owns his home but does not also live there..." More

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Clay County jury finds woman guilty of harboring feral cats

Animal hoarding case costs Oregon county $300,000

Once they got them all counted, it turns out that 257 animals were seized from a Cave Junction property in what officials consider the worst case of animal hoarding in Josephine County.

The county has spent nearly $300,000 so far to shelter and care for the animals,
the Grants Pass Daily Courier reported.

They include 117 miniature horses, as well as a mix of other animals: full-size horses, miniature donkeys, chickens, a peacock, cattle, dogs, cats, goats and pygmy goats.

Kandi Lucile Crow, 61, has been accused of misdemeanor charges of animal abuse and neglect at her Crow's Magical Miniature Horses. She has not entered a plea and is due in court Nov. 19.

She has surrendered the animals to the county.

Now the county is moving to make the animals available for auction or adoption, or in the case of those owned by other people, to allow them to be reclaimed.

The number of animals is higher than initially reported when they were seized over three days in mid-September.

Public Health Director Diane Hoover said it took time to do an inventory, and a precise count has been a moving target. A horse, chicken and puppy have died, and several miniature horses and puppies have been born..." 

Digging for truth in hoarding TV shows

By Nicholas Sauma

Television shows about hoarding depict people trapped in piles of papers, mountains of objects, and every room packed to the brim with stuff.  It makes good television, but is it real?
UNO’s Grace Abbott School of Social Work hired Christiana Bratiotis, who has specialized in researching hoarding for nearly a decade now.  Her background in mental health practice, research, and teaching made her the perfect source for the truths behind the misconceptions about hoarding.

Bratiotis arrived in Omaha just before the semester started from Boston University where she did her postdoctoral fellowship.
“I chose UNO, and specifically the School of Social Work, because the faculty here are so devoted and I wanted an opportunity to teach and mentor students,” Bratiotis said.

Hoarding, as Bratiotis explained, is now considered a stand alone mental health disorder under the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) spectrum.  It affects roughly five percent of Americans and has been found to be genetically linked.  It is characterized by three problems: collecting too many items, having difficulty getting rid of items, and problems with organization, according to the International OCD Foundation.  It cannot be treated by conventional methods of medication and therapy, but a new behavioral therapy program has been developed by with some solid results..."  More

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Cat-hoarding pair sentenced to prison

The man and woman who admitted to hoarding more than 100 cats in two different city houses were given prison time Monday for the property destruction they wrought.

Constance J. Anderson, 50, and Jeffrey G. Tourney, 45, were both sentenced in Allen Superior Court to serve 1 1/2 years in prison on felony charges of criminal mischief.

They also received sentences for several misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty which will be served at the time as that sentence, an Allen Superior Court Judge ruled.

Animal care and neighborhood code enforcement officers were called to the Elmer Avenue home – rented by the pair – on March 1 after city officials received a report of abandoned cats inside..."  More