Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Dead dogs found in home; owner charged

Deputies raided a home near Ft. Pierce finding three dogs dead, and more than a dozen other animals-- many without food or water, sitting in waste. The animals' owner is charged with animal cruelty.

A crime scene video released by the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office, shows many of the disturbing conditions and discoveries. "Two ferrets, no water," an investigator is heard saying on the video. And the list goes on.  Rib cages showed through on at least three of the dogs.

Deputies charged Michele Nunziata with six felony counts of animal cruelty, 10 misdemeanor counts, and one count of not having the special permit needed to have a wolf. The arrest report says Nunziata had euthanized the three dogs herself this past weekend.

The living animals seized from the property included two cockatiels, two ferrets, two rabbits, one chinchilla and a goose. The critters are now at the shelter of the Humane Society of St. Lucie County. "It's awfully hard to see animals coming in, just skin and bones," said Frank Andrews, the shelter's director.

Nunziata bonded out of the St. Lucie County Jail Monday afternoon. Efforts to reach her were unsuccessful..."  More

Nearly 200 Cats Found At Cecil Co. Home

Cecil County officials have declared a Chesapeake City home uninhabitable after nearly 200 cats were found inside, including dozens of dead animals stored in freezers.

Sheriff's Office spokesman Lt. Bernard Chiominto says deputies, animal control officers and the Cecil County SPCA found cats roaming freely and cats in cages at the home in the 900-block of Town Point Road on Friday. He says upstairs there were as many as 15 to 20 cats per room and indications that some of the animals are ill.

Chiominto says there was plenty of food and water for the cats and several litter boxes in each room. He says the homeowner claims she rescued the animals, but did not explain why she was keeping dozens of dead animals in two freezers.

Chiominto says the county office of permits and inspections declared the house uninhabitable..."  More

Cecil County Woman Will Keep House Full Of Cats For Now (video)

Regulating numbers of pets - and animal hoarding prevention

By: Deni Goldman

Many cities and towns have imposed regulations on the numbers of dogs and cats that residents are permitted to have residing in their homes. While there are a few pet owners who feel this is unfair, the majority a pet owners wouldn’t even consider owning more than the commonly allotted number of pets, simply because its too costly to take care of them in excessive number.

Excessive cat ownership is clearly more popular than excessive dog ownership, since most cats are primarily self-sufficient and spend most of their time keeping to themselves, subsisting on their own initiative. Dogs, on the other hand, aside from requiring a managed life, survive and thrive off of their constant involvement with their human counterparts.

In several instances, those who wind up taking care of an abundance of pets, may become ‘hoarders’, when their need to rescue and nurture handfuls of animals, quickly flares out of control. Many find themselves unable to adequately provide health and medical provisions for their pets, causing pets to become ill, remain injured and/or pregnant. Many of these pet owners sacrifice their own provisions in order to care for their furry cohabitants. In situations like this, the health of the entire home faces jeopardy, as diseases may cultivate and pets reproduce, to the point where the owner himself/herself finds that he/she has reached a level of unhealthiness that is perilous to their life and/or the lives of his/her pets.

In most cases, hoarders are true believers that they are helping these animals, even though their inability to adequately care for them is actually abusive.

Cases of animal hoarding are recognized and dealt with quite frequently, often resulting in dozens and sometimes hundreds of pets being rescued, placed into animal shelters and even euthanized due to suffering from illnesses and/or severe neglect. Many of these hoarders themselves wind up in healthcare facilities themselves.

It is for these reasons that animal hoarding is taken so seriously. Caring for a pet takes responsibility – emotional, physical, and financial. Because of this reality, so many cities and towns have imposed regulations on limiting the number of dogs and cats per household. While these regulations vary from jurisdiction, they are relatively similar – and frequently offer special permits and licenses for reasons ‘acceptable’ to house more than the numbers permitted per home (i.e. kennel licenses - dogs)..."  More

Monday, June 29, 2009

Animal cruelty investigators learn to use forensics to unearth clues

By Leonora LaPeter Anton

"...Melinda Merck is a veterinarian from Atlanta and the rock star of a budding animal-crime-solving movement.

Merck has helped solve some of the most notable animal crimes in history, including the Michael Vick dogfighting case. She's moving to Gainesville to teach and investigate crimes at the University of Florida. The new animal forensics program is the first in the nation.

Crimes against animals have gained attention the past few years. Police are charging more people with animal hoarding. Prosecutors are more likely to take cases of dogfighting and cockfighting to court. More and more law schools are offering animal law classes.

All but four states now have felony animal cruelty laws. At the heart of the push is research that shows people who hurt animals often go on to commit more serious crimes against humans. Serial killers Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, Albert DeSalvo (the Boston Strangler) and David Berkowitz (Son of Sam) all harmed animals before they went on to kill people.

No single agency keeps statistics on animal cruelty cases, so numbers are collected by animal abuse organizations anecdotally, from stories in the newspaper or on the Internet.

Florida seems to have more documented animal cruelty cases than most states. But this could be an indication that Florida's animal cruelty laws are strong and cases are more likely to be prosecuted, said Jennifer Hobgood, the Florida director for the Humane Society of the United States..." More

Photo: [JOHN PENDYGRAFT | Times]

The remains of a bound dog was among evidence placed at the scene. Animal control officials and veterinary students came from distant places to learn how to solve crimes against animals.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Another Rabbit Hoarder Arrested With 334 Bunnies

Now New Mexico police have cited Nancy Haseman for having 334 rabbits when the city ordinance limits her to five pets.

Haseman says it all started when she rescued a rabbit over a decade ago and then a few more. They just kept breeding despite her attempts to separate the genders. Rescue groups have found homes for about half her remaining rabbits.

Miriam Sakewitz never got into the 300s, she was caught in October 2006 the first time around with nearly 250 rabbits, including 100 dead ones in freezers and fridges. The next year she broke into the facility where her remaining rabbits were being cared for and stole most of them back. She was caught again, sentenced to five years probation and given a rabbit-restraining order. That didn't stop her: She was arrested last week with 13 live rabbits hopping around her hotel.."  More

300 Animals Rescued

May 19, 2009:  Cazenovia, Wisconsin. More than 300 animals have been seized by the Richland County Sheriff's Department from the Thyme and Sage Ranch in Cazenovia, Wisconsin..."  Video

Cluttered house: Sign of a problem

By:  Janet Marshall

PATIENT I'll call Christine (not her real name) was distressed enough that her mother had cancer and that she needed to go to Ohio to help her mom through chemotherapy.

But when she got there and found the house an unspeakable clutter--and her mother passionately resisting her throwing anything away--she realized she had another problem to contend with.

"There were newspapers, books, ornaments, calendars, clothes, bills, bank statements, food wrappers--everything she had ever used in the last 20 years, I swear," Christine told me...


The inability to throw anything away is not such an uncommon problem. Like so many neuroses, we may see a bit of it in ourselves.

A weakness for bargains and freebies, collecting discarded objects, going to yard sales and renting storage space because you have too much "stuff" are all possible signs.

It may be just a minor eccentricity in some. But when you can't find your bills, checkbook or keys, every last surface is covered in clutter and your life is in disarray, it's gotten to the point of being a disease.

Clutterers also suffer emotional symptoms such as worries, regrets, emotional fog and spiritual emptiness...


The way out is to stop doing the drug or behavior, and wait for your brain to recover--easier said than done, as any smoker or overeater will tell you.

Clutterers Anonymous adopts the classic 12-step program that was originally invented by Alcoholics Anonymous...


It intrigues me that so many of these diseases--such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, workaholism and Internet addiction--are all pathological exaggerations of normally healthy, constructive behaviors. You might wonder about the merits of obsessive-compulsive people, but very often they do a good, careful, conscientious job--even if at a cost to their emotional health..." More

13 Dogs Rescued From Florence Home

myFOXaustin (Austin) - It's only been a day after 13 dogs were rescued but already shelter visitors are admiring the long haired small breeds.

"These puppies are absolutely precious very socialized very clean they're beautiful." said Tessa Sherill. It's a stark contrast compared to the way they arrived at the Williamson County Humane Society Friday Afternoon.

The dogs were believed to be living in unhealthy conditions when authorities seized the dogs. Among them papillons, miniature pinchers, dauchsons, and even a maltese.   

"Many of them were found inches deep in fecal matter and we were able to pull them out and give them all baths." said Wilco Humane Society Executive Director Juliana De Rosa.   

The dogs were found to be infested with fleas and ticks. De Rosa said their owner was likely hoarding or even carelessly breeding the animals. One of the dogs tested positive for heart worm, while a miniature pincher has a skin disease and she came in giving birth to stillborn puppies..."  More

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Woman arrested in 2nd case in a week

By:  Gloria Gomez

BLOOMINGDALE - For the second time in a week, a woman has been charged with hoarding dozens of cats in her house, and deputies say many of them are in bad health.

Constance Biebel, the secretary of the Bloomingdale Homeowners Association, has been arrested for animal cruelty. Investigators raided her home on Minuteman Lane in Bloomingdale Friday morning and took most of the cats. One more came out of hiding hours later.

"If they had remained there, they would have died there," said Pat Perry of Hillsborough Animal Services.

Animal Control says there were 28 cats in bad shape, living in terrible conditions. Investigators say many of them will have to be put down.

"They are emaciated, losing hair, open sores, some of them can't close their mouths," Perry said.

Biebel was arrested at her home and is charged with cruelty to animals. She is in jail on $70,000 bond..."  More

Deputies seize 28 cats from woman; most to be euthanized

Workers train to help those with hoarding behavior

by Theresa Collington 

Dr. David Tolin, Ph.D. Director of Anxiety Disorder Center at The Insitute of Living was in the Bay area today for two workshops on Hoarding. The Department of Children and Families hosted a special seminar in training for service workers of adults and the elderly on hoarding behavior.

Compulsive hoarding, a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder, is a common and sometimes severe mental health problem that affects adults in our communities.

Today's workshops reviewed the nature of hoarding, the mental health connection, and new research findings regarding brain function in people who hoard. The goal is to help local service providers better assist adults who may have a hoarding issue and to teach them how to to help people reduce clutter and to master the psychological underpinnings of hoarding behaivor..."  More

Friday, June 26, 2009

Animal hoarders 'hide their obsession,' psychologist says

Dr. Phil Heller, a Florida-based clinical and forensic psychologist who specializes in obsessive-compulsive disorder, said hoarders see the world differently. 

"A hoarder will collect things to fulfill an obsession that is overwhelming them with anxiety," he said. "An animal is viewed as an object, and the rational thinking that it takes to consider the costs and time included in caring for the animal is absent in a hoarder's mind.

"If a hoarder feels an anxiety or panic attack coming on, they may seek another animal for immediate comfort, thus repeating the cycle until ultimately they may accumulate so many that they are overrun," he said.

Heller said most people don't understand how a hoarder could allow pets to suffer from overcrowding to the point they're starving and sick..."  

Animal hoarding confounds police departments

Authorities say they try to get help when they find hoarders

By Wendy E. Normandy

Oak Lawn police responding to an odor complaint were not prepared for what they found in a 68-year-old man's apartment earlier this year.

Ninety-five turtles and tortoises of various sizes were crowded into a dozen or so plastic storage tubs half-filled with dirty water. There also were 20 newts, 12 salamanders and numerous other reptiles, plus as many as 100 dead turtles and the remains of an 18-inch-long alligator, police said.

Rescue workers knew immediately what they were dealing with: an animal hoarder...

Oak Lawn Deputy Police Chief Roger Pawlowski said officers try to tread carefully.

"We often try instead to get them to agree to relinquish the animals in lieu of being charged with animal cruelty," he said. "If we can get the animals relocated to a shelter, it gives us more time to address the situation with the hoarder and, hopefully, convince them to get help."...

Experts say counseling and close monitoring are needed with a hoarder to prevent recurrence. "The relapse rate can be near 100 percent. ... If allowed to relocate, they often start the collecting process all over again," said Dr. Phil Heller, a Florida-based clinical and forensic psychologist who is an obsessive-compulsive disorder specialist.

As for how to detect hoarders, Estrada said she would like to see people become more aware of what goes on with their neighbors. "If they suspect that someone is having a problem with their pets, whether they suspect they are hoarding or not, it's easy to make an anonymous call to authorities or the welfare league and bring it to someone's attention," she said.

Signs of a hoarder include window shades that are kept closed all day, excess newspapers and numerous bags of litter in garbage cans, and odors coming from the house or backyard. "All we're asking people to do is make that initial phone call if they suspect any type of animal abuse," Estrada said. "We'll take it from there."...

Public domain photo

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Dead animals found in Valrico home

June 25, 2009:  DCF investigates Valrico hoarding case  More & video

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FL -- At first glance, the brick Valrico home in an upscale neighborhood appears to be a nice place to live.

Neighbor Chad Brock told us, "I never knew what was going on inside. You'd always see these cats running around."

But when you look closer, through frosted windows and into the garage, you'll find stuff stacked chest-high and smell the stench wafting from a cracked sliding-glass door.

"I actually had to climb up and over and crawl in some of the rooms in the home to get across them on my hands and knees, " said Corporal Ken Vetzel.

Hillsborough County Animal Control Officer Vetzel helped rescue 11 cats from inside the house. Some caked in their own filth and fleas, while other cats were missing eyes and fur. Five more cats were found dead but officers believe there are at least 30 more roaming outside.

"It's a very bad neglect case," according to Corporal Vetzel. But it's the homeowner, 74-year old Alice Santy, that investigators and neighbors are truly worried about..."  More

SPCA seizes 89 cats, dogs


Nova Scotia SPCA officers seized 89 animals — 64 cats and 25 dogs — from two homes in Port Felix on Wednesday in a case that the agency believes is "animal hoarding."

That is where "people collect animals and they don’t have the money to spay and neuter the animals, so they breed out of control and the numbers get absolutely overwhelming for them," said SPCA president Sean Kelly.

Mr. Kelly said officers executed a search warrant at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday on the two Guysborough County houses following an investigation that was based on a complaint.

The two houses are owned by Christine DeYoung and an adult daughter. It’s too early in the probe to determine whether anyone from the family will be charged, Mr. Kelly said.

Some of the animals appeared to be worse for wear, he said in an interview. The animals were still being examined late Wednesday by vets at the SPCA’s facility in Burnside.

"The cats are in fairly rough shape. They look like there’s quite a few genetic abnormalities," Mr. Kelly said. "As of now, the dogs are very unsocialized and some do have medical issues."

On CBC-TV, officers equipped with breathing masks were shown carrying animals out of the house. Mr. Kelly said the ammonia levels inside were extremely high.

"Anytime that you have a high number (of animals) you get ammonia through the urine and feces of the animals," he said.

But Ms. DeYoung said the place would have smelled fine if the SPCA had held off until after lunch.

"The boxes were cleaned in the morning, at dinner time, suppertime and at night time."
The officers caught the two women by surprise, she said.

"I was all worked up. I didn’t know what to do."..." More

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Neglected Animals Seized In Southest Dallas

Dallas -- Nearly 30 dogs were seized in Southeast Dallas and then released back to their owners. The dogs lived in the 3700 block of Cotton Lane. 
The person who owns the land called for help after he saw the shape the dogs were in.  Photos obtained by CBS 11 News shows some dogs were dead with maggots all over them, others were covered with files and had open sores. All of the water bowls for the animals were rusting and they had no food.  "These dogs, from the pictures I saw, were in terrible shape," said Jonnie England with Metroplex Animal Coalition.  England had other comments after seeing the photos CBS 11 News obtained. "To me this is a clear cut case of animal cruelty… cruelty through neglect," she said. "[Neglect] if he didn't feed dogs or seek medical care and they were allowed to just die."..."  More

Public domain photo

Teen found hoarding 53 baby birds

By: Charlie Brennan

ONGMONT, Colo. - Police have cited an unidentified 15-year-old Longmont boy for taking no fewer than 53 baby birds from their nests and harboring them in shoe boxes until his mother discovered what it was going and called authorities.

Many of the birds were hatchlings, and did not survive after being taken last Wednesday to the Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center near Lyons, while others had to be euthanized.

Only 13 of the birds, mostly swallows and sparrows, survived and will likely be returned to the wild in coming weeks.

The boy, who took most of the birds in the 1800 block of Meadow Street in Longmont, has been cited for violation of municipal ordinances, cruelty to animals and interference with birds or fowl.

Although police found no sign of malicious intent, they admit they have no idea what the teenager had in mind.."  

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

NM woman hoards 334

Reporter: Maria Medina

RIO RANCHO (KRQE) - Rio Rancho Police Officer and Spokesperson John Francis said Monday the county's animal control division discovered 334 hopping bunnies in one woman's backyard.

Nancy Haseman has been cited for violating a city ordinance that allows five pets per household, and for failing to restrain her animals.

An animal control officer reported spotting rabbits running around Haseman's front yard.
So far rescue groups, mainly House Rabbit Society, have found homes for more than half of Haseman's 334 rabbits.

The discovery was made last month and the House Rabbit Society is still on the lookout for people who'd like to adopt the rest of Haseman's bunnies.

Haseman said it began with one rabbit 12 years ago, when her husband rescued a bunny from a neighbor who had abandoned the pet..." More

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Necedah woman charged with abuse after 93 animals seized

MAUSTON — Prosecutors have charged two women with animal abuse after sheriff’s deputies seized 83 dogs and 10 cats and kittens from their home.

According to a criminal complaint, deputies went to the Necedah home 63-year-old Jeanellen Maderer shared with 63-year-old Leslie A. Ellis on Tuesday.

The deputies found feces all over the floor and dogs in kennels covered with feces.

They also found two rooms filled with cats, including two dead kittens. They couldn’t count them because there were so many.

Both Maderer and Ellis were charged with felony mistreatment of animals, improperly sheltering animals, a misdemeanor, and obstructing an officer, a misdemeanor. Online court records didn’t list an attorney for either of them..."  More

Public domain photo

SPCA removes animals from home


Caledon OPP officers and the OSPCA attended a residence in Caledon Village on Tuesday, June 16 at 10:30 a.m. to investigate concerns about animal welfare.

"The officers were called by the SPCA to keep the peace while the SPCA was investigating a residence on Highway 10 regarding the welfare of the animals," explained Caledon OPP Constable Jonathan Beckett.

"We did attend the property yesterday morning with a warrant," confirmed Kristen Williams, OSPCA public relations manager. "We were responding to a number of complaints we had received concerning an odour coming from the house. We found 11 dogs and three cats in distress."

All of the dogs were full-grown Briards, a large breed of fluffy French sheepdogs. "They are very large; they look like small bears," said Williams. "They're a high maintenance breed from a grooming perspective and they were very matted and very dirty when they found them."
Two Persian cats and one Domestic Short Hair were also found in the home.

"The animals are currently in our care receiving some medical attention," said Williams. "They are seized at this time, so they still belong to the owner, but we are considering charges."

Town of Caledon by-laws limit the number of dogs in a house to three and require that they all be licensed.
.." More

Too Many Pets

When Animal Lovers Turn into Hoarders


For those who don’t work in the animal welfare industry, the term “animal hoarder” may be foreign. For those of us who have dealt with animal hoarders, the scene is horrifying.

An animal hoarder is defined as someone who owns more than the typical number of companion animals. They have a compulsion to bring more and more into their home. Hoarders have an inability to provide even minimal care for the animals and they generally will deny that there is a problem, even when there are clear signs of illness in the animals. The result is squalid conditions where animals are ill, starving, and sometimes already deceased.

According to the Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium, many hoarder dwellings have been condemned as unfit for human habitation. The air is so polluted from the high levels of ammonia that people can’t enter the home without respiratory masks. In the major hoarding case I was involved with at the Michigan Humane Society in Detroit, the resident was living in his garage, while his 300 cats had taken over his 800-square-foot home. We had to wear hazardous material suits and breathing apparatus to rescue the cats. Even with those precautions, we could only operate at 15 minute intervals due to the unbearable air quality. Unfortunately, most of these cats were wild and suffering from illnesses and had to be humanely euthanized. This situation was filmed and televised on Animal Planet in an episode of Animal Cops Detroit entitled “House of Cats.”

Animal hoarders may start out with good intentions. They think they are “saving” these animals, but they get in way over their heads and fail to ask for help. In most of the cases, the hoarders not only fall short of providing for the animals in their care, but they fail to provide for themselves. Recent research proves there is a direct correlation between psychological problems and the tendency to hoard. According to Randall Lockwood, vice president of Research and Educational Outreach at the Humane Society of the United States, “Hoarding is very often a symptom of a greater mental illness, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder. For most hoarders, it is likely that their actions are the result of a true pathology, even though they are still usually able to function quite well in society.”

Animal hoarders often appear to lead normal lives. At first glance, it may be difficult to recognize when a person’s fixation with animals has gotten out of control. Many times it’s a neighbor who reports an animal hoarder due to the overwhelming smell that starts to seep from their homes. Community members can help animal hoarders get the aid they need, while also rescuing animals by notifying authorities as soon as possible if they suspect a hoarder. In the cases I’ve worked with, animal hoarders tend to have all their windows closed and the blinds drawn at all times and they won’t allow even their closest friends in their home. Even if you only suspect an animal hoarding case, notify Animal Control immediately.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals stresses that not everyone who has multiple animals should be considered an animal hoarder. If someone owns many animals that are all spayed and neutered and they provide the essentials for the animals as well as veterinary care, they would not be considered an animal hoarder.

Recently, there was an animal hoarder case in Mojave, California. This case involved a repeat offender. According to Jill Anderson, Director of Development and Communications for Return to Freedom, American Wild Horse Sanctuary, 100 dogs were seized from filthy conditions back in 2006. It took three years for the court case to resolve, meanwhile these dogs sat in shelters. This same person was recently convicted when 300 more animals were found living in the same squalid conditions. Anderson said that the animal rescue community is industriously working to get these animals into loving homes. According to Last Chance for Animals, there are approximately 35 dogs that still need homes. If you can’t offer a permanent home, there is also a need for fostering, donations, boarding, food, or transportation. For more information on the Mojave hoarder case, visit: wuffingtonwag.com.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Starving animals seized in Abilene

By Daralyn Schoenewald

An Abilene man is under police investigation after authorities on Thursday seized more than 60 scrawny animals from his home in the 2100 block of Huckleberry Lane.

City of Abilene officials are seeking help from the public to feed the animals, most of which are being kept at the Abilene Animal Shelter, 925 S. 25th St.

In all, officials seized 54 fighting roosters and hens, eight horses -- including three foals and a pregnant mare -- a bull and a heifer from the man's property, said Aaron Vannoy, animal services manager for the city of Abilene.

Police did not identify the owner of the animals because he has yet to be charged with a crime, but Abilene Police Detective Ernest Moscarelli said an investigation into criminal animal cruelty is in its "beginning stages."... More & video

Photos by Victor Cristales Kerri Helm

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Walter gets jail time, probation

Door County judge placed the owner of All Creatures Home for Animals on three years' probation and stayed a 90-day jail sentence on a misdemeanor charge of bail jumping.

Judge D. Todd Ehlers accepted Rory Walter's no contest plea to the charge, which had been amended from felony bail jumping.

The probation for Walter,7175 All Creatures Lane, Baileys Harbor, is to be served at the same time as her sentences for five felony counts and five misdemeanor counts of animal abuse.

The jail time will be stayed if Walter, 58, provides proof within 60 days that she received a psychological evaluation for animal hoarding.

Walter was convicted on April 15 of five misdemeanor counts of animal mistreatment. The five felony counts for mistreatment were held open after reaching a plea agreement. Part of the agreement included Walter obtaining treatment, but as of June 5, she had not yet had an evaluation. She also was ordered to pay restitution and court assessments of $15,060.93 by June 5. Walter signed a lien for that amount against her property..."  More

Public domain photo

Mental health and animal hoarding

Is mental illness a concern when dozens of animals are found in one home?

We recently had two cases like that in Giles and Montgomery Counties where dozens of cats were seized by animal control.

Those in the mental health field said simply removing the animals from the home isn't enough.

Some type of follow up counseling is necessary..." More & video

Deceased man discovered to be hoarding poodles

ROOSEVELT, Utah (ABC 4 News) - In the process of responding to a medical call at a cabin in Tabiona, authorities discovered an incident involving animal hoarding.

Apparently an elderly man passed away Thursday night after being transported to a hospital. When the Duchesne County Sheriff responded they found that the man had been living alone in a single-room cabin with 75 poodles.Sixty-six of them were living.

The Roosevelt City Dog Shelter responded to the call, but is unable to handle this many dogs.

In addition to the poodles, there was approximately eight other dogs as well as an unspecified amount of goats on the property... More

Photo ABC

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Police find rabbit hoarder with bunnies - again

By KATU.com Staff

TIGARD, Ore. - Here we go again.

A woman court-ordered to stay away from animals was found Tuesday in a Tigard extended-stay hotel with rabbits, authorities said.

It was just the latest problem for 47-year-old Miriam Sakewitz, who has served jail time in the past over a sometimes bizarre case of animal abuse and hoarding.

Back in 2006, police found nearly 250 rabbits at her Hillsboro home, 88 of which were dead and in freezers. After the animals were confiscated, she broke into a police facility and took back more than 140 of them.

She was eventually convicted of animal neglect and tampering with physical evidence, among other charges. She received probation and was ordered to refrain from owning any domestic animals. But in 2007, she served three days in jail for violating her probation when she was discovered raising rabbits again.

In 2008, police found a dog and rabbit in her garage when they went to her home to check a report she was suicidal, another violation of her probation. The outcome of that case was not immediately clear.

In the latest incident, Tigard police said an employee of Homestead Suites at 13009 S.W. 68th Parkway called police about 3 p.m. Tuesday after a maintenance worker discovered caged rabbits in a room. Police had to forcibly enter the room, and, once inside, found Sakewitz there along with several cages, a small kennel housing rabbits and other rabbits roaming the room, police said.

Washington County Animal Services confiscated eight adult and five baby rabbits from the room. A dead baby rabbit was also found there, police said.

Sakewitz was taken into custody on a parole violation detainer and lodged in the Washington County Jail. Under the terms of her probation, she continues to be prohibited from owning animals..." More

The Shelter Pet Project!!!

Around 8 million dogs and cats enter shelters and rescue groups every year, and an estimated 3 million healthy and treatable pets never find a loving home.

The Shelter Pet Project (SPP), a national Ad Council campaign sponsored by Maddie’s Fund® and The Humane Society of the United States in partnership with the entire animal welfare movement, is going to change that. Developed pro bono by Draftfcb Chicago, and with an annual commercial value of tens of millions of dollars, the campaign will utilize TV, print, radio, and outdoor public service advertising, along with an interactive website to encourage millions of people who are looking for a companion animal to make shelter and rescue dogs and cats their first choice for adoption. If we succeed, we will virtually empty our shelters and reach our goal of a no-kill nation.

But we need your help. We at Maddie’s Fund are inviting you — your organization, your shelter, your rescue group, and you personally — to be a part of this ground-breaking national campaign right now. Please go to http://www.theshelterpetproject.org/ and sign up to receive regular updates on the development of the campaign and all the different ways that you can expand your involvement in saving the lives of America’s homeless pets.

The campaign launches in August, and marks the first time in its more than 60-year history that the Ad Council has taken on an animal welfare cause. We need you to add your voice to this historic campaign and spread the word that shelter pets are great pets!

Public domain photo

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

14 pitbulls seized from shed

By: Bob Wilson

Hartford (WTNH) - In Hartford more than a dozen dogs have been seized from a shed behind homes. There are questions as to why the dogs are there and concern for the future of the animals.

14 pitbulls were caged and living inside a single shed.

Police say they were called to 145 Grandby Street after people began complaining about pitbulls being kept in the shed. When they opened the door, they found 14 dogs all in cages lined up and stacked in crates.

"There is no room in a shed for 14 animals," Raymone Brown, of Hartford, said. "It's unsanatary, they can get sick, carry diseases, that's just not right."... More

Public domain photo

Monday, June 15, 2009

Animal hoarding: Its roots and recognition

Because you are likely to encounter an animal hoarder, familiarize yourself with the signs of hoarding and build relationships now with the authorities you can turn to for support.

By: Gary J. Patronek, VMD, PhD, Veterinary Medicine

IN OUR PROFESSION, we regularly discuss the veterinarian's role in recognizing and reporting suspicions of deliberate animal abuse.1-3 It is a positive step for the profession, for animals, and for society that veterinary medicine has embraced responsibility for preventing cruelty to animals. But we also need to attend to a more subtle and less well understood form of severe cruelty: the chronic, large-scale neglect that occurs with animal hoarding..." More

More than 60 dogs seized in Tampa, Seffner

By Amy Mariani and Steven Overly

TAMPA — The more than 60 Yorkshire terriers seized from a family-run puppy mill Thursday are alive but suffer ailments commonly associated with neglect, authorities said.

Hillsborough County Animal Services collected the puppies and dogs from two homes officials say were littered with trash, old food and feces.

Investigators recovered the animals from James Jordan's home at 8912 N 39th St. and Dovie Carter's home at 304 Orsley Drive in Seffner. Carter is Jordan's mother...

Many of the dogs were missing teeth and hair, dehydrated and showing signs of stress and fleas, Ryan said.

Animal Services became aware of the living conditions through a tipster who had arranged to adopt a dog. When the owners would not meet at their home and brought the dog in a dirty carrier, the person alerted authorities.

The terriers are not yet available for adoption.

Yorkshire terriers are considered a "designer breed" and some of the dogs had sold for $650 to $1,000, Ryan said.

She called the incident a classic case of animals being bred for profit and treated improperly. She said owners who are unwilling to show potential adopters their homes, the puppy's parents or proper health records are cause for alarm.

"Be very, very careful and make sure you can go through that checklist and get a good look-see about where the animals are born and raised," Ryan cautioned... More

Public doman photo

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Alarm over pet abuse

By: Eleni Hale, Herald Sun, Australia

AN increase in the number of people keeping excessive numbers of animals in their homes and garages has shocked authorities.

Some of the hoarders are even keeping the bones of dead pets.

In the past year, about 200 hoarding cases have been uncovered nationally.

In many cases the animals never leave the house or are kept in cages stacked to the ceiling, resulting in a build-up of faeces and carcasses.

Recent Victorian cases include:

A FAIRFIELD woman kept nearly 100 birds in stacked cages in her one-bedroom flat. There was no room for a bed. Chicks were kept in wicker baskets above oil heaters to "keep them warm".

A WESTERN suburbs man kept 40 rabbits in his garage. After RSPCA inspectors removed the animals the man replaced them with more rabbits.

A MIDDLE-AGED man in Rye kept 50 cats in a two-storey house and decorated his kitchen bench with the bones of dead cats. The animals rarely went outside and the house was covered in filth.

Animal hoarding is costing the RSPCA up to $1 million a year, with about 15 per cent of the group's anti-cruelty enforcement budget going towards fighting legal challenges from accused hoarders.

Mental health, animal welfare and even fire-fighting experts gathered in Melbourne on Friday to discuss a solution to the growing problem, as the RSPCA called for animal hoarding to be labelled a mental illness.

Some puppy farm owners and people who claim to be running animal shelters have also been exposed as hoarders.

RSPCA inspector Allie Jalbert said many were older women living in isolation.

She said hoarders started collecting animals with the intention of rescuing them, but the situation spiralled out of control.

"They think they are saving the animals, but instead find themselves in a situation where they cannot cope," Ms Jalbert said.

"The majority live in suburbia and we become involved when neighbours complain about the smell."

South Australian couple Joseph and Margarete Higham sparked a nationwide hunt last year when they packed most of their 120 dogs into a ute and fled to Victoria after being convicted of animal cruelty in Adelaide Magistrates' Court.