Friday, July 31, 2009

Neighbors sickened after dogs kill horse, owner kills dogs

By Carol Ferguson

WELDON, Calif. -- After a man's dogs attacked and killed a miniature horse, neighbors said they want animal control to remove the dogs.
It happened at Keith Irons' home in Weldon. He owned the horse that his dogs killed.

Irons said he's already killed some of his dogs, and he plans to get rid of most of the others.

Neighbors called the Eyewitness News tip line worried that the problem won't be taken care of. Kern County Animal Control gave Irons until Monday to reduce the number of dogs.

Animal control director Guy Shaw said two officers will be at Irons' house Tuesday to see what he's done.

The small horse was killed July 10....

...Irons said he will get rid of the dogs that still remained on the property Monday, except he wants to keep four to six of them. He said most of those are spayed or neutered.

Animal control said they want all the dogs gone.

"We want him to surrender all the animals that are left," Shaw said. He added it might be possible for Irons to keep dogs that have been spayed or neutered, but they really want him to give up all the animals.

Neighbors had also heard that Irons' dogs had recently injured his wife's leg, causing severe medical problems. Irons said his wife is paralyzed, and she did have an injury from a puppy. But that happened in the house wasn't an attack, he said.

"The injury that she had led to the discovery of a more serious injury that caused her leg to be amputated," Irons said. "Let's make that plain."

He described his wife's injury from the dogs as a "puppy abrasion."

Neighbors complain problems with Irons' dogs have gone on for years. Neighbor Pennay Johnson has jotted down the dates of more than 30 calls she's made to animal control since 2004 regarding dogs from Irons' place.

"They've come, dug under the fence and climbed over the fence into our property," Johnson said. "And they threatened us on our own property, on our own patio when were were just drinking our coffee."..."
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Townships in Jackson County lack ordinances regarding number of pets in households

by Heidi Fenton
Machell Dunlap was overcome by a sinking feeling as she opened the door earlier this month to a house on Levant Street near Sparks Foundation County Park.
Dunlap, a Jackson County Animal Control officer, arrived days after neighbors complained of an emaciated animal and foul stench coming from the property.
As she walked inside the dark entryway, she saw why.
All the home's windows were closed and covered by blinds. Fecal and urine matter covered almost every inch of the floor from the living room — cluttered with stacks of furniture — to a bedroom, where the homeowner slept. Running water was cut off because the homeowner's well was in disrepair.
And then there were the cats — more than a dozen of them, Dunlap estimated..." More

Man Found Guilty Of Animal Cruelty

Following a trial in Adair District Court Monday, a Columbia man was found guilty of 34 counts of second degree cruelty to animals.

David Coppage, 71, of Columbia, was found guilty of the 34 counts by the jury. Thirty three counts were related to dogs, and one to chickens. The amount of fines owed by Coppage and the disposition of the animals, which are currently being held at the Green River Animal Shelter, will be finalized by Judge Michael Loy next Monday, Aug. 3.

Coppage and another individual, Marshall Bunch, were arrested on Mar. 17 of this year after Adair County Sheriff Ralph Curry and Deputy Bruce McCloud executed a search warrant at Coppage's home at 2096 Highway 55 South.

A total of 34 dogs, four cats, 73 chickens, 38 exotic birds and numerous ducks were removed from the residence.

According to statements made at the time of the arrests by Green River Animal Shelter director Jeff Thomas, the majority of the animals were found in the basement. Most of the dogs were housed in male-female pairs in pet carriers or small cages, and the birds were in small cages.

Marshall Bunch, who was charged with two counts of second degree cruelty to animals, entered a plea in May in which he was placed in a diversion program for two years, ordered to pay restitution and forfeited rights to the animals seized..." More

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Alleged animal hoarder believed back in Findlay


A woman who lived with dozens of cats and rabbits in a Findlay garage last year has been posing as a member of a local dog adoption agency and soliciting donations, according to a police report.

Valerie Serafin, 68, has been calling herself a member of Teddy's Rescue, an agency that finds homes for unwanted dogs, according to the report.

Teddy's Rescue members, concerned they are being misrepresented, said they might seek a restraining order against her.

Meanwhile, Serafin's return to Findlay has caught law enforcement's attention.

Last September, authorities found Serafin living in a garage on South Blanchard Street with hoards of cats and rabbits and no running water.

But she disappeared, animals in tow, before the Humane Society could seize her malnourished cats and police could charge her with animal cruelty.

She was not seen in Findlay for several months.

On June 12, Serafin allegedly went to Jack's Aquarium and Pets on Trenton Avenue and asked for donations as a member of Teddy's Rescue, records show.

Serafin visited at least two other times before that seeking donations, said Jim Augustine, the store manager. She usually gathered a few bags of dog food, Augustine said.

But Serafin is harming Teddy's Rescue's reputation, said Susan Hollington, the group's vice president, and she is not giving the donations to Teddy's.

"We don't agree with her philosophy; we can't have her representing us," Hollington said. "She thinks one person can have 300 animals and take care of them."

Dana Berger, an agent with the Humane Society, suspects Serafin might be hoarding animals again.

Berger said he has received phone calls from people who have spotted Serafin "collecting cats" in parking lots on Tiffin Avenue, Berger said.

"I believe she is an animal hoarder," Berger said. "She takes in strays and she thinks she's helping them and that's where the problem lies. She thinks she's helping and she's not."

After fleeing Findlay with her animals last September, Serafin went to Hardin County.

A few weeks later the Wyandot County Humane Society, which serves Hardin County, seized Serafin's animals -- 20 cats, five rabbits and one chicken.

The majority of them had to be euthanized because they were so ill, said Linda Balz, director of the Wyandot County Humane Society.

Serafin disappeared after her animals were taken and charges against her were dismissed soon after, records show.

But the charges could be refiled should Hardin County law enforcement encounter Serafin again, said Hardin County assistant law director Jason Miller.

"I don't want Ms. Serafin to get off scot-free on this, that's for sure," Miller said.

He said he would advise the sheriff's office to track down Serafin, but acknowledged deputies have other priorities.

Berger cannot charge Serafin with animal cruelty unless he can find out where she is living and prove she is hoarding animals and not caring for them properly, he said.

Her transient lifestyle makes that difficult, Berger said.

"You really got to give her credit for her sharpness," he said.

Findlay police think Serafin might be living out of a white Oldsmobile, according to the police report..." Link

Hoarders need way to calm anxieties


Hoarding is often a way to cope with anxiety and is sometimes a symptom of a larger mental health problem, said Darlene J. Barnes, a psychologist and nurse practitioner at Century Health, a mental health center in Findlay.

People often hoard money, food or animals, she said. The items can represent security, or be a way to calm anxiety or prevent loneliness.

The problem, she said, is hoarders eventually accumulate so many items that it becomes destructive.

“The house becomes stacked from floor to ceiling with all kinds of memorabilia ... to the point where it can become a fire hazard,” Barnes said.

For pet hoarders, animals often represent innocence and security, even though hoarding puts animals at risk for starvation and neglect, Barnes said.

Humane Society agent Dana Berger, for example, has found people in Hancock County living with up to 50 cats. Their homes become coated in cat feces and urine because they cannot manage so many animals, he said.

“They try to take care of them, but they get overwhelmed easily because the population increases so fast” as the cats are not spayed or neutered, he said.

Berger said he finds several hoarders every year, usually accumulating cats.

Last September, authorities say Valerie Serafin was found living in a garage, without running water, with dozens of malnourished cats and rabbits. She left Findlay, with her animals, before authorities could seize them.

Serafin was eventually caught in Hardin County, but the majority of the animals were too sick to save, officials said.

“For them, it's not so much about the animals as it is about not being alone,” Berger said.

Sometimes hoarding is a symptom of obsessive compulsive disorder, Barnes said. Those who suffer from the disorder might wash their hands repeatedly, obsessively count items, engage in ritual behavior, or hoard items.

“The compulsive behavior tends to dissipate their anxiety,” Barnes said..."

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Neighbors: Hoarder's Home An Eyesore

Man Has Been Collecting Junk For Years, Say Residents

In a west side neighborhood in Detroit, where residents take pride in the colorful landscaping and manicured lawns, lives a man who neighbors said is forced to sleep in his car because his home is jammed from floor to ceiling with junk.

Neighbors said they have repeatedly offered to help Thomas McGregor clean his home after he has been collecting things like news, furniture and boxes for the past eight years.

"Inside is littered with paper and trash, wall to wall," said neighbor Jeanette Sanders.

Local 4 found weeds growing more than 8 feet tall in the back yard and piles of junk were visible through one of the front windows.

"There is stuff on the porch, on top of the vans, it's ridiculous," said a neighbor, who did not want to be identified.

Neighbors said they believe McGregor has to sleep in a small space inside one of his two minivans because there is so much stuff crammed inside the home.

"I don't know if he's aware that what he's doing is not normal," said Sanders.

Local 4 found McGregor inside one of his minivans. When asked if there was something he needed help with, McGregor said, "No, don't help me."

When asked for a comment, McGregor said, "Just let me be, please and thank you."

Neighbors said McGregor is a nice man.

"He needs some help and a whole lot of help," said neighbor Willis Harris.

City leaders told Local 4 they cannot legally do anything about what's going on inside the home because there is no threat to a person or an animal.

However, outside is a different story. Environmental inspectors have already issued a dozen tickets to McGregor and just a few last week.

He is due to appear in court on next month..."  Link & video

Nearly 100 animals seized from Hesperia home

'This is one of the largest [animal hoarding] instances we've had in the city,' Kelly Malloy, spokeswoman for the city of Hesperia

Nearly 100 animals were removed from a Hesperia home after the pets' owner was found dead, city officials said on Wednesday.

"This is one of the largest [animal hoarding] instances we've had in the city," said Kelly Malloy, spokeswoman for the city of Hesperia.

San Bernardino County Sheriff's officials arrived at the home in the 9000 block of Evergreen Street on Monday to check on the female inside who had been sick, authorities said. When they entered they found the woman dead and numerous animals — mostly cats — living inside the home.

It took officials nearly three days to remove a total of 83 cats, several geese and two dogs from the property, Malloy said. The dogs were turned over to family members and the remaining animals were taken by Animal Control Officers.

"The house had obvious signs of large numbers of animals living in the house," said Malloy.

Witnesses reported there were animal feces and congealed cat urine throughout the home, which measures between 1,500 to 1,800 square-feet.

"They were running free throughout the house," she said, adding the exterior appearance of the home would not have tipped anyone off that many animals were being kept inside.

Some warning signs someone may be a hoarder include:

• The inability to refuse a "needy" animal, despite having too many at home.

• A refusal to stop rescuing despite a lack of money or space.

• The unwillingness to adopt the "rescued" animal to a good home, and finding excuses to reject those who do want to adopt.

• An inability to care for the animals, physically and emotionally.

• Having mistaken beliefs about the hoarded animals' needs and about shelters or other alternatives.

• Avoiding behavior that would expose the hoarder, such as inviting guests to the home.

• Traditionally the exterior of the home is well-kept but the windows will be blocked out. The windows may also show a brown film along the bottom.

• Empty cat or dog food containers.

• Unsanitary conditions for the animals and the hoarder (frequently hoarders have extremely dirty homes that include the presence of animal waste).

If residents suspect their family member is hoarding animals, Malloy encourages them to call their local Animal Control office..."  Link

Photo by Peter Day 

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Judge orders farmer to pay $34K in cattle case

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - An Ada County rancher who pleaded guilty to animal cruelty and failure to properly dispose of animal carcasses has been sentenced to 10 years of probation.

A judge on Tuesday also ordered 73-year-old Hermis Sparks to pay $34,128 in restitution to state agencies that investigated and cared for the animals seized from his property in January.

Sparks was charged with multiple counts of animal cruelty after a raid on his farm outside Boise, where officials seized more than 260 cattle and found more than 40 cow carcasses.

Sparks pleaded guilty to one count of animal cruelty and four counts of failure to properly dispose of animal carcasses as part of an agreement with Ada County prosecutors..."  Link

Multiple pets legal but costly

by Rachel Abell

EL PASO, Texas -- It's the case that highlighted a little-known law -- 48 Chihuahuas living under one roof, and it's all perfectly legal.

There is no limit on the number of pets you can have in the city of El Paso, but there are strict guidelines that must be followed.

It's what you call a "multiple-pet household." Betty Hoover and her husband have eight dogs living with them. But Betty, who works for the Human Society, says she knows better than most how much work goes into owning multiple pets.

"They take a lot of time, as much love as they give back they really do take a lot of time," she said. She says multiple pet owners should ask themselves, "What are your personal resources? What is your personal commitment? What is the amount of time you can spend with the animals to make sure they're properly socialized and that they have a good home?

And that's not all -- affording multiple pets can be one of the biggest obstacles. "We spend probably around $300 a month on food for the animals."

And according to the city ordinance, you also have to make sure their shots are up to date, they are microchipped and they are maintained and contained..."  More

Update: Cat Hoarding Case Causes Difficulties For Volunteers

By: Ashley Blackstone

A cat hoarding case, along with the troubling economy, has caused problems for a central Arkansas rescue group.

Lydia Grier recently helped take 20 cats from a home in Vilonia. 
They're Gentle Souls' latest rescued animals. Right now, they are in quarantine as precaution.

"I couldn't get within five feet of her door without wanting to gag," says Grier. 

She says the kittens were living in unsanitary conditions. And there's still about 30 more to rescue. 

"Actually the word to me would be deplorable," Grier adds. 

All are infested with fleas. Some have eye conditions. None are spayed or neutered. They need blood tests, vaccines, and antibiotics. 

Grier says, "Right now, just for 40 cats, you figure that is $3,200 coming out of the coffer that just really isn't there." 

Pet supplies, food and cash donations have dropped 60 percent. As for adoptions, they're down 35 percent. It's just another sign of the struggling economy. In fact, Gentle Souls began in 2004, and by far, Grier calls 2009 the worst year yet. 

"It is hard to ask someone to give you money when you know that they can't even afford to feed their own family." ..."

Monday, July 27, 2009

Wellington woman on probation for animal cruelty arrested for DUI


A Wellington woman who pleaded guilty last year to animal cruelty after authorities seized 27 animals from her property was arrested Sunday for DUI and eluding police officers.

Alesha Matchett, 44, who accepted a plea agreement offered by prosecutors to serve 200 hours of community service and serve four years through probation, is facing charges for DUI, DUI driving under restraint, eluding a police officer and disobeying a lane usage sign.

She was arrested Sunday and is scheduled to be advised of her rights and the charges against her through a video hearing at 1:30 p.m. today. Her bond is also likely to be set at that time.

This is her second DUI arrest in the last two years. She has pleaded not guilty to  DUI after being arrested in May 2008, about five months after her property was raided and she was originally charged with 20 counts related to inadequate car of animals at her rescue, Animal Angels Horse Rescue Shelter..."  More

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Dog hoarder in Lonestar found guilty of animal cruelty

JEFFERSON — A 115th District Court jury has found Barbara Britton Holtz, 70, guilty of one count of animal cruelty and acquitted her on a second.

Animal cruelty is a Class A misdemeanor offense and Ms. Holtz received a one-year, probated sentence, said Marion County District Attorney Bill Gleason. She was assessed a $500 fine and ordered to pay court costs.

Ms. Holtz is appealing the conviction, Gleason added. Defense attorney is Jim Finstrom of Jefferson.

Charges against Ms. Holtz stem from SPCA's seizure more than a year ago of 83 dogs from a house in which she was residing illegally in the Lakeland Addition of Lone Star, northwest of Jefferson.

Gleason said he decided to try Ms. Holtz on the animal cruelty charges after it came to his attention that she had violated the terms of a probated sentence assessed as a result of a guilty verdict handed down Sept. 10, 2008, by another 115th District Court jury.

On the morning of July 10, 2008, staff members with the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Texas arrived at a brick residence at 119 Lakeland Drive.

Shortly before their arrival, a deputy with Marion County Sheriff's Office executed four Rusk County warrants for misdemeanor animal cruelty and destruction of property and transported Ms. Holtz to jail.

SPCA rounded up more than 45 dogs running loose on the property and held in outside pens and then seized more than 30 from the interior of the house..."  More

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Joan Skillman: Australian Shephard, Breeder - Mason, Michigan

Animal cruelty case goes to the jury, deliberations resume Friday


MASON — A Mason-area championship dog breeder accused of allowing many of her dogs to live in mud and feces has been charged with 11 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty, court records show.

Charges were filed today in 55th District Court. Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III said he notified Joan Skillman’s attorney Thursday that charges were forthcoming.

The 73-year-old Aurelius Township woman faces up to 93 days in jail as well as fines.

Neither Skillman or her attorney, Kevin Tyrrell, could immediately be reached for comment.

Skillman has bred Australian shepherds for more than 20 years on her property in Aurelius Township.

Ingham County Animal Control officers on April 27 went to Skillman’s property and seized about 70 dogs. It was called the largest seizure in the county’s history.

Officials said many of the dogs were living in filthy conditions. Some had severe medical problems. Kennels were filled with mud and several inches of feces that had been covered with wood chips. The bottom of one pen was covered with water, from which the enclosed dogs could not escape.

Animal Control placed most of the dogs that were seized in foster homes. About 17 remained at the county animal shelter last week, according to Director Jamie McAloon Lampman. Most of those dogs were in poor health, and some were still receiving veterinary treatment, she said..." More

Local dog breeder's trial starts

Testimony: Dogs in Mason-area cruelty case fearful, antisocial

Opening arguments today in case against local breeder

Animal cruelty trial against Mason-area breeder starts Tuesday

Animal cruelty case: Dog breeder testifies operation not "out of control"

Testimony: Mason-area breeder loved dogs as if they were her own children

Witnesses defend dog breeder (w/video)


A municipal court judge Monday told a pet owner she's very lucky her dog didn't die in a hot vehicle..Calling the owner's choice to leave the dog locked in the car as cruel confinement.  And, as a result that same judge upheld an animal seizure warrant and awarded custody of the pup to the city....Meaning soon it'll be available for adoption.  Three news has been following this story. 

Monday's hearing was an opportunity for  Loraine Martinez to get her dog back. She tried representing herself.  She took the stand and told the judge she loved her dog named Tex. 

Loraine Martinez quickly got in a friend's car, dodged our camera and our questions following the hearing.  She told us inside the courtroom she didn't want to speak with us because quote "We had humiliated her, and her sons."

We were there on July 9Th, and saw her dog yelping and rapidly panting from the inside of her uncle's SUV. According to police she left the animal for at least thirty minutes while she went inside a store in Moore Plaza. She said she was looking for her uncle who was shopping. We later confronted her after concerned citizens called 9-1-1 and police had to break into the locked vehicle to rescue her dog.

She questioned the city's witness,  Animal Control Services Community Education Officer, Dennis Noble asking him when it became illegal to leave dogs in cars, and asked aren't dogs able to tolerate heat better than humans. That's not the case, in this type of heat this is considered cruel confinement. 

The judge agreed with animal control and a city prosecutor that Ms. Martinez might love her dog, but leaving an animal in a locked car is cruel confinement as if leaving them to cook in an oven. The dog is now the property of the city, and will be available for adoption after it goes through heart worm tests.  If it tests negative then it'll be available to go to a new home.  

 The temperature outside is different than the inside of the car. For instance, the average temperature on Monday was 97 degrees...after just 15 minutes even if the windows are cracked the temperature inside of a car, rises some 30 degrees..."  Video

Help Prevent Animal Hoarding in New York

Animal hoarding is a debilitating psychological disorder characterized by a need to obsessively accumulate higher-than-usual numbers of animals as pets -- despite an inability to provide even minimal standards of care. This often leads to severe neglect, starvation, illness and even death for literally hundreds of animals at a time.

As more cases come to light, people are beginning to understand that hoarding situations are characterized by severe self-neglect and often involve not only animal victims but dependent human victims as well.

Children of animal hoarders can suffer from serious and enduring distress. They may grow up with an authority figure who appears to appreciate collections of animals -- dead or alive -- more than the child. Embarrassment about living in a household unfit for human habitation can cause these children to isolate themselves from their peers. Their attempts to clean up the house are prohibited or punished, and the people they count on as authority figures refuse to get help. This only increases the children’s anxiety and confusion.

Despite its tragic impact on local communities, animal hoarding and other types of animal neglect are rarely investigated and prosecuted in New York.

Assembly Bill 592 addresses the need to establish animal hoarding as a type of serious animal neglect offense that requires early intervention and preventative treatment.

The bill would make animal hoarding a separate animal neglect misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a maximum $1,000 fine. A592 would also require the court to order convicted hoarders to undergo a mental health evaluation and necessary treatment or counseling. The court could also prohibit convicted hoarders from owning companion animals for a reasonable period of time.

While animal hoarding is best resolved through a long-term process that involves a wide spectrum of community agencies (including mental health and social services, adult protective services, child protective services, public health and sanitation, local law enforcement and animal welfare agencies), A592 represents a step forward in addressing an overlooked social issue and giving law enforcement the tools needed for early intervention..." Link

Please ask your Assembly member to support A592.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Kennel care at center of dog fight

By Zeke Barlow 

The co-owner of a high-end Moorpark dog kennel and breeding facility was arrested Friday on suspicion of stealing a dog, cruelty to animals and filing a false police report.

The incident involving Golden Meadows Kennels co-owner Barbara Hoke comes after a month of back-and-forth accusations by the people involved, confusing tales of who owned the dog, and conflicting stories of how the dogs at the facility are treated.

Hoke, 51, said she has been wrongly accused and is a target of a disgruntled employee. But law enforcement officials say they believe she was abusing her golden retrievers and vizslas dogs — some of which cost $7,000 — with an electric cattle prod and shock collars.

All this comes after a Ventura County agency issued a citation earlier this month to the Hokes for not having the needed permit to run a kennel.

“They are operating illegally,” said Gloria Goldman, senior code compliance officer with the Ventura County Code Compliance Division. She said the owners have a notice of violation to fix the problem, which would require them to remove the dogs from the property and then get the needed permit. Hoke declined to comment about the permit.

The case began earlier this month when employees at the kennel on Clinton Street called the Humane Society and other agencies complaining about how dogs were being treated at the facility..."  More

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Va. Woman Pleads Guilty to Animal Cruelty Charges

A King George County woman has pleaded guilty to animal cruelty and neglect charges after dozens of dead or severely malnourished animals were found at her home.

Forty-year-old Iris Marie Hedrick pleaded guilty Thursday to 16 misdemeanor counts. In return for the pleas, four felony charges were reduced.

Hedrick remains free on bond until she is sentenced Oct. 23.

Authorities went to Hedrick's home Jan. 2 in response to an anonymous tip and found dead or dying dogs, cats, birds, goats, rabbits, pigs, sheep and a cow.

Hedrick's attorney said she was an animal lover who once worked for an animal rescue league in California. She said Hedrick has a history of taking in unwanted animals and ended up overwhelmed with too many..."  More

Find out more on Pet-abuse

Animal hoarding in Bensalem

Another case of animal hoarding was uncovered yesterday at the 2700 block of June Street in Bensalem, (Bucks County) PA. A 74 year old woman and her 38 year old son were actually living among filth, clutter, trash and animals (living and dead).

The house is literally falling down and has been condemned by the Board of Health. A cat was found walking on the roof; it apparently had easy access from the rotted eves of the house. The house is scheduled to be torn down within the next 30 days.

A total of five cats were rescued by PSPCA and will be available for adoption. Their names are Mischief, Sprinkles, Sugar Cone, Clover and Diamond.

Dead animals were discovered among the ceiling high trash including one cat in a cage that had actually mummified! Traps were left at the site for any other animals that may have been missed. Officials will return to the house to check on the traps and remove any other animals discovered..."  More & video

Animal hoarding not unusual across U.S.


Though neighbors on the Dearborn street where a 56-year-old man kept more than 260 living and dead Chihuahuas may have been shocked to learn what was inside the small house, those familiar with animal hoarders say the condition, if not the magnitude, is not unusual.

No firm statistics exist to describe the scope of animal hoarding, but cases occur regularly across the country, experts say....

"These people are driven to acquire animals ... and quite often they believe in their hearts and souls that they are the only people who can care for a particular group of animals."

In many instances, such as in the Dearborn case, conditions are often filthy and can lead to medical problems for the animals.

"They believe they are saving the animals' lives when in fact when one animal is sick, they're infecting the other animals," said Linda Lawrence, a veterinary social worker at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Michigan State University. "It just does not connect that they are hurting them."

Lawrence researches hoarding cases in order to educate veterinarians about how to detect the behavior..."  More

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Mysteries of Animal Hoarding

By:  Ransom Riggs

Maybe you’ve heard stories about a “crazy cat lady” that lives down the street: the stereotypical older, single woman with fifty cats; so many that they’re mangy starving, and yet she considers herself the Mother Theresa of the animal kingdom. While there are plenty of examples that follow that model, hoarding is by no means limited to cats, nor old ladies, for that matter. (Here’s a story about a Texas man who hoarded cats he got via “free kitten” ads in the newspaper — and when that didn’t net enough animals, he resorted to outright theft.) There have also been reports, according to the BBC, of dog hoarding, a woman who kept pigs in her Los Angeles home, and “a Connecticut woman who hoarded beavers she had shipped from Montana.” I blogged last year about a Russian woman with more than 120 cats in her home — check out the amazing video.

We know these cases exist — what psychologists don’t understand, however, is where the compulsion to hoard animals comes from..."  More

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Man Wants Cash For Ex-Wife's Seized Dogs

By Dennis Ferrier

The biggest confiscation of dogs in Tennessee history took place in the heart of Franklin.

Jennifer Siliski was found guilty of animal abuses of every kind and sentenced to 10 days in jail. She had to forfeit her 230 Maltese dogs, which were valued at about $250,000.

Five years later, her ex-husband is suing Williamson County for the cash back for those dogs. But the people who brought those dogs back from death's door are appalled.

Juliet's legs were like raw hamburger. That's what happens when you live belly-deep in feces and urine. She is just one of the 230 dogs rescued by an army of volunteers who, five years later, are still paying enormous veterinarian bills.

Alan Siliski claims he cleaned the animals' cages sometimes and played with them.

Ann Logan sat through Jennifer Siliski's trial and wondered where Alan Siliski was then. She said he wasn't making big claims when the charges were out there.

"I can't imagine what his rationale is for five years after the fact," said Logan.

The vet bills for these animals are estimated at more than $1 million, all paid for by volunteers.

But even money couldn't save them all. Stewie's ashes are with the family pictures.

Otis was one of the smallest of the dogs. Five thousand dollars can't solve an abnormal heart, liver and kidneys.

"The little guy just didn't have a chance. He only weighed three pounds," Logan said.

The Siliski case has become the case talked about when trying to pass laws about puppy mills. It led to demand for a law forcing licensing, inspection and confiscation of any breeder with more than 50 puppies per year.

That failed because pet food companies were asked to add $2 per ton to pay for enforcement.

The final law forces licensing on breeders who have 20 breeding females, meaning the breeder has to have 200 puppies a year to be regulated.

Jennifer Siliski was accused of cutting the dogs' vocal cords so they couldn't bark and giving them Viagra and estrogen to keep them producing, causing cancer and tumors.

Just this fiscal year, Metro Nashville destroyed 10,000 animals at a cost of $135 per animal, amounting to $1.35 million..."  More & video

To learn more about this case visit Pet-abuse here