Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Proposed Animal Abuser Registry - New York

Patrick Battuello

NYS currently has a bill pending, A10387, that would create central and county registries for convicted animal abusers “guilty of violence, torture, mutilation, intentional killings, bestiality and animal fighting as well as neglect and hoarding.” Abusers would be photographed and fingerprinted, have relevant personal data entered, and would need to re-register annually for 15 years. The county sheriff’s office would “contact every residence, school, humane society, animal shelter and any other business within a half mile radius of the animal abuser’s residence or location” and provide the abuser’s information (excepting social security number), which “shall be made available to the public”for the 15-year period. “An animal abuser who intentionally or knowingly fails to comply…or provides false information…is guilty of a felony,” punishable by up to four years.

Monday, July 26, 2010

ASPCA on Animal Hoarding with Dr. Randall Lockwood

Dr. Randall Lockwood joined the ASPCA in 2005 and is currently Senior Vice President of the ASPCA’s Forensic Sciences and Anti-Cruelty Projects. For more than 25 years, Dr. Lockwood has worked with humane societies and law-enforcement agencies, serving as an expert on the interactions between people and animals. He has testified in numerous trials involving cruelty to animals or the treatment of animals in the context of other crimes, including dog fighting, child abuse, domestic violence and homicide

"...[Comment from Stryker]
I read that some of these hoarders operate under the guise of "rescuers" themselves. Isn't there a way to more closely monitor how many pets a person has "rescued"?

Randall Lockwood:
Yes. We are seeing a growing number of "rescue hoarders" who take in many animlas but who make no effort to find homes for them and often keep them in very poor conditions - unlike legitimate rescue groups. come may even have non-profit status and fancy websies - but the reality is that the situations for the animals is the same as other hoarding cases. I think about 1/4 of the cases we see are such "rescue hoarders".

Right now there are very few states that specifically set standards for rescue groups (Colorado is one) and the resources are often not there for a system of of inspection, also rescue hoarders often work through their own secretive network - rather than trying to help put healthy animals into loving homes..." More

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Spreading the word on animal hoarding

A symposium on animal hoarding is being held Wednesday at Bucks County Community College's Newtown Township campus.

There's got to be an easier way.

Since many different agencies might need to become involved in an animal hoarding situation, some local officials hope a little education will go a long way to help handle those cases more efficiently.

A symposium on animal hoarding is being held Wednesday at Bucks County Community College's Newtown Township campus for veterinarians, mental health workers, first responders and members of the public.

The five-hour event, which costs $15 and includes lunch, is being sponsored by the Bucks County commissioners, Bucks County SPCA, PECO Energy and the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School.

"It strikes me every time I see it," Anne Irwin, executive director of the Bucks County SPCA, said about animal hoarding. "Right now, even if children or elderly are involved, one agency at a time handles the case. If we can combine our knowledge and efforts, maybe we can resolve some of these issues and catch situations early before they get out of hand."

Earlier this spring, Irwin started an animal hoarding task force with Bucks County Commissioner Diane Ellis-Marseglia..." More

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Inside a puppy mill rescue and compulsive hoarding

Wayne Pacelle

he name Sea Breeze Kennels conjures up nothing but pleasant images. But as our Wilde Puppy Mill Task Force discovered, the facility by that name was anything but pleasant. Working with deputies from the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Office, our team found more than 100 dogs living in absolute filth and squalor, and plenty of sick and ill animals. The Humane Society of the United States and its partners have now rescued these dogs, and you can see details of the raid and the rescue effort on this video.

Seeing these images reminded me of the images I saw last night on Animal Planet in its new
series about animal hoarding. That six-part series, which will highlight The HSUS’s rescue work in selected cases and airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT, focuses on people with a mental disorder that results in their having more animals than they can reasonably care for, and the homes of these hoarders soon become overtaken by the smells of urine and feces everywhere. The homes become one large litter box, rarely if ever cleaned, and these hoarders increasingly become estranged from their own families.

The images from the Mississippi puppy mill were even more disturbing than the hoarding cases profiled last night, and they were pretty awful. We at The HSUS are committed to rescuing animals in distress, but most importantly to prevent animals from getting into these circumstances in the first place...." More

Why did Houston seize 1000 birds & animals?

Marguerite Matthews

Thursday, July 15th, over 1000 "animals" were taken from the home of a USDA licensed breeder in the Houston area. There are many aspects of the seizure that give pause. The facts of the case need to be clarified. The HSPCA may or may not be right in having had these animals taken.

Around Houston there are numbered precincts each of which employs constables to enforce the law. The seizure was reportedly carried out by constables from a neighboring precinct. The case is reportedly being heard by a judge several precincts away rather than by the local judge who has jurisdiction. Although on the day of the raid media reported no court date was set, the judicial arrangement and the decision to have the action carried out by constables from a different jurisdiction must have been made in advance of the seizure since, by Texas law, a hearing date must be set before a raid.

The HSPCA has a video posted. Watch it, with its superfly music, and tell me what you see that is so horrible. Yes, in my opinion, too many birds, but is not enough reason to raid an individual's home. The birds probably sound distressed because dozens of strangers have come into their home and they are afraid. Meera Nandlal, HSPCA Public Relations, was in charge of the seizure and stated the reason for the seizure as "poor environmental conditions and cruel confinement." ABC News noted some of the birds are "Extremely valuable" and asked when they would be "Up for adoption." If the county wins in court, this raid will bring money into the coffers of the HSPCA...." More

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Increased awareness leads to more finds

By Beatriz E. Valenzuela

As Hesperia Animal Control officers return to the two-bedroom home on Mesa Street and 11th Avenue they first visited on Tuesday, the tally of cats removed from the home continues to climb.

At last estimation, there were nearly 100 cats at the home, according to Supervisor Suzanne Edson.

According to Edson, officers are not necessarily finding an increase of hoarding cases but an increased public awareness to the issue of animal hoarding, which has led to more tips from the public.

"We're getting more citizens that are saying there's a problem," she said. "Because of news reports, like the story from (Tuesday) and another one from last year and the television shows, there is a heightened awareness of what it is."

People are more aware of the warning signs to animal hoarding and are more apt to report it, she said..." More

Idaho Man in Trouble for Hoarding Rattlesnakes in His Apartment

A southern Idaho man who authorities say had 25 Western rattlesnakes in his apartment at the Sunset Motel in Malta has been issued two misdemeanor citations by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

Thirty-eight-year-old Terry Brian Teeter received the citations in May that list possession, transport or shipment of wildlife. Officials say Teeter had as many as 32 snakes but he gave some away and cooked and ate two others.

Teeter says he was unaware a license is needed to hunt rattlesnakes in Idaho, and that there is a limit of four rattlers a year. Teeter tells The Times-News that authorities confiscated the rattlesnakes and released them, but the next day he and a friend found the snakes and killed them...." More

Hundreds of Highlands animals rescued from inhumane conditions


A tip recently led animal rescue personnel to 1,079 dogs, rabbits, hamsters and birds in inhumane conditions in Highlands. Most of the animals rescued were birds.

According to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), the cages and bins that housed the animals were lined with waste, spider webs and old food. Some of the animals were dead or close to dying.

“These animals were rescued from deplorable, horrific conditions, and many lacked proper food and shelter as required by law” said Linda Geffin, chief of special prosecutions of Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan’s office.

Meera Nandlal, with the SPCA, said the home in the Highlands area was raided Thursday night.

The animals were being held at a property in Highlands. According to the Precinct 1 Deputy Constable’s Office the couple residing there has a breeder’s license and were likely breeding them for sale to pet shops or flea markets. However, that license may not be valid for long.

“Whether or not you have a breeder’s license, the animals do need to have proper food, water, shelter, care if they’re in your possession. So that is why the animals were removed,” said Meera Nandlal of the Houston SPCA.

Nandlal says many of the animals did not even have adequate food and water...." More

Help is available for hoarders

By Julia Spitz

Framingham is one of a growing number of communities, including Boston, Newton, Beverly and Gloucester, that has established a task force to deal with compulsive hoarding.

"It grew from the Board of Health becoming aware of these situations, as well as myself, and we wanted to put together a group of individuals" to address the problem, said Alexis Silver, the town's human services coordinator.

"Right now there are a few cases in the town that we're working with," she said, and "other providers in the task force are working with individuals ... whose cases might not have reached that level" of health and safety risk that would prompt a town department to intervene.

On Thursday, police found Richard Lamphere and Susan Abraham dead in their Bellingham home, where piles of the couple's possessions made the rooms virtually impassable.

"Our hope is to provide the intervention so it doesn't rise to a crisis level," Silver said..." More

Monday, July 19, 2010

40 Pets Seized from Overcrowded Rescue in Montana Arrive at Wayside Waifs

By: Sharita Hutton

Wayside Waifs received 40 neglected animals seized by The Humane Society of the United States from an overcrowded shelter in Montana.

The HSUS worked with the Fallon County Sheriff's Department to remove 60 dogs and 30 cats from Eastern Montana Humane Society. The sheriff's department served a seizure warrant for the animals held at EMHS Tuesday morning due to violations of the Montana animal cruelty code.

"The Humane Society of the United States is grateful to the Fallon County Sheriff's Department for upholding the cruelty laws and calling us in to rescue these animals," said Adam Parascandola, director of Animal Cruelty for The HSUS. "These are highly adoptable dogs and cats which deserve to be living as cherished family pets."

When responders arrived at the EMHS, which is not affiliated with The HSUS, they found large numbers of dogs and cats living in filthy, cramped pens and crates. Many of the animals were housed for long periods of time in unsafe and unsanitary enclosures. Some of the animals were suffering from skin and parasite infections. The HSUS also gathered EMHS animals from several other locations.

The HSUS is safely removed all of the animals and transported them to a nearby temporary shelter set up specifically for this rescue by The HSUS and United Animal Nations. The animals received thorough veterinary checks and necessary medical treatment. The HSUS called in United Animal Nations to provide critical sheltering support on this mission..."
More & video

Authorities seize 19 cats at North Rapid home, shelter puts out plea for help

Holly Meyer

Rapid City Animal Control seized 19 cats and kittens from a house in North Rapid Thursday morning.

The animals were found after emergency services responded to a medical call for one of the house's adult residents, according to Animal Control officer Kent Brown. Two other adults and one child also live in the house.

The resident that needed medical attention was also the same resident who took in the animals, according to officials. She was taken to the hospital, according to officials.

"She was good hearted and could never say ‘no' when somebody walked up to the door," Brown said.

At least three cats ran away during the seizure. Brown has worked out an agreement with the residents that they will capture the cats, and he will return to collect them..." More

Evidence tossed in Appleton animal abuse case


An Outagamie County judge dealt a severe blow to an animal cruelty case Friday when she ruled prosecutors can’t use 20 cat skeletons as evidence because police illegally searched an Appleton woman’s home.

Judge Nancy Krueger ruled in favor of a motion to suppress evidence in the case against 42-year-old Lorie Kuehl. She's charged with nine criminal counts including five felonies for mistreatment of animals causing death.

The evidence taken from the home represented the bulk of the case. Kuehl’s defense attorney, Michael Petersen, asked for dismissal after Krueger’s ruling, saying prosecutors don’t have enough proof to win convictions.

Krueger said police should have sought a search warrant before entering the Mason Street home. In failing to do so, officers violated Kuehl’s fourth amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure.

“A warrant could have been obtained with only a few hours delay,” she wrote.

In January, an Appleton health inspector received an anonymous tip claiming dead cats and feces littered Kuehl’s Mason Street home. He set up an appointment with Kuehl and her landlord. Kuehl, who was no longer maintaining the home as her primary residence, didn’t show up.

The inspector and landlord entered the home, and found piles of animal feces, clumps of fur and the skeletal remains of several cats. The inspector summoned police. Investigators entered and discovered the remains of other dead cats, including a garbage bag found with the skeletal remains of multiple animals. They said no water or food were available in the home..." More

April Irvine / Huskies - Saskatchewan, Canada

July 16, 2010 - Cost of seized huskies tops $60,000, SPCA says

The Saskatoon SPCA says the cost of looking after 82 dogs recently seized from a breeder has surpassed $60,000.

To date this seizure has cost the Saskatoon SPCA over $25,000 and that number is growing every day, while it has cost the Saskatchewan SPCA over $38,000," Tricia McAuley, a spokeswoman for the Saskatoon SPCA, said.

Most of the Saskatoon SPCA costs were linked to sheltering the animals and providing them with food and medical treatment.

McAuley said many of the dogs have been adopted. While she did not have an exact number, she estimated that about 40 dogs were still in need of new homes.

She said the SPCA is trying to match the dogs to homes where people can provide some extra attention to animals..." More

June 9, 2010: 83 dogs and puppies seized by Sask. SPCA

Dozens of dogs, including five litters of puppies, were seized by RCMP and the Saskatchewan SPCA recently after officials received complaints about animals in distress.

According to police, on June 4th authorities went to a property in the Leslie area, east of Saskatoon and removed the animals.

"They were not being cared for," Frances Wach, executive director of the Saskatchewan SPCA, said Wednesday. "Because in order for us to take the animals into our care or seize them, they have to be in distress."

Wach said the animals did not have proper food, water or shelter.

The SPCA said it received a number of complaints about the property and the state of the dogs.

RCMP Const. Jim Ferguson was one of the officers at the scene when the dogs were seized.

"Most were outside, tied up basically on leashes," Ferguson said Wednesday. "I believe a couple dogs were located inside a residence on the property."

After the dogs were taken away, they were put in the care of the Saskatoon SPCA. The animals appeared to be huskies, wolfhounds and malamutes....

"We did take care of all their parasite concerns," Tiffiny Koback said. "[We] vaccinated them, provided them with medications to treat internal and external parasites."

On Wednesday, the SPCA said they need help because they have never had to deal with so many dogs all at once.

Koback says donations would be welcomed as they are spending about $800 per day on the new arrivals.

As well, volunteers are needed to help provide basic care for the dogs.

"Their coats are filthy," Koback said. "A lot of them are matted [and] there's fecal matter and urine in their coats. They're in need of a good cleanup."

According to a news release from the RCMP, charges of neglect of animals and causing distress to animals have been laid against a woman from Leslie, Saskatchewan.

April Irvine is to appear in provincial court in Wadena on June 24th..." More

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Rescued from squalor

A house full of dogs saved by The HSUS and partnering organizations provides a glimpse into the delusional world of animal hoarders

All Animals magazine, July/August 2010

By Carrie Allan

The blue lights of a sheriff’s black cruiser blaze through the early spring drizzle, flashing a signal of caution to any cars approaching the modest, ranch-style house on this rural road in Preston, Miss.

Such passersby are infrequent; the road is isolated, the piney woods around it stretching into the distance. But if you were to be driving by this morning, you would see a small woman—middle-aged, blond, perhaps once pretty—standing in the driveway between two officers from the sheriff’s department. She is crying, pleading with them. Her face is crumpled and exhausted. The officers have their hands on her arms, restraining her.

Like a river moving around a boulder in its path, a half dozen grim-faced emergency responders in dark blue rain jackets and rubber boots divide and trudge past the officers, heading toward the woman’s house.

If you saw this from the road, from a distance, what would you feel? Confusion? Pity for the woman, who is crying as though her heart might break?

Look again: Several loose dogs circle around the front yard, wandering onto the road. More dogs move slowly about in pens in the side yard, some peering out from ramshackle hutches of plywood. The only sounds are the rain, the low voices of the officers, and barking—some close by, other howls fainter, farther away, from the woods behind the house.

Many of the dogs don’t look quite … right. From a distance, it’s hard to say why.

Come closer. Get out of your car. Wear shoes you don’t care about; every few steps, there are piles of dog feces. There is also trash everywhere, and shoddy fencing made of plywood and rusted metal wiring, and a busted-up sofa in the driveway that has been mauled and shredded by the dogs. Chunks of its yellow, weather-stained foam litter the yard.

The sheriff has opened the plywood gate to allow the responders deeper into the property. As they pass the officers and the woman they’re restraining, she says to them in a low, choked voice, “Please, go away.”..." More

Thursday, July 15, 2010

75 CATS SEIZED: May be largest animal hoarding incident in Hesperia in recent years

Code Enforcement and Animal Control officers worked for nearly four hours to remove 75 cats from an elderly man's home Tuesday afternoon, making it one of Hesperia's largest cat hoarding incidents in recent years, officials said.

"We're not done yet, but we expect to have about 80 cats when we're done," Animal Control Supervisor Suzanne Edson said.

A postal employee became concerned for the well being of the elderly man and called Animal Control to check on his welfare, San Bernardino County Sheriff's Hesperia station officials said.

Authorities arrived at the home on Mesa Street near 11th Avenue and discovered the large colony of felines.

The two-bedroom home had cats in every room and there was a large amount of feces and urine in the dwelling, officials reported..." More

One House, 83 Cats

Menagerie mania: Animal house littered with critters


We've seen the reality TV shows with people who hoard all sorts of stuff.

Now, there's a new one, but instead of too many knickknacks, it's animals being hoarded.

A new six-part series that profiles people who hoard large numbers of pets in deplorable living conditions begins Wednesday on Animal Planet.

"Confessions: Animal Hoarding," airing at 8 p.m., takes a documentary-style look at animal hoarding, the people and pets affected, and the challenges of confronting the psychological condition.

Some people hoard everything from cats and dogs to birds, fish and farm animals. In most cases, the psychological disorder goes unaddressed until animal control or the health department arrives and the pet owner is ordered to give up the pets, be fined or face a prison term...." More

Advocates Call For Strict Pa. Animal Hoarding Laws

Reporting Ben Simmoneau

Animal advocates say Pennsylvania law needs to change if officials are going to be able to stop the growing problem of animal hoarding.

Already this week, officers from the
Pennsylvania SPCA have raided two Philadelphia homes and confiscated nearly 200 animals.

In a home on Mascher Street Tuesday, officials found the remains of 30 dead animals and 90 more alive.

Two dead dogs were found along side 85 live Chihuahuas and two cats in a home on Earp Street in South Philadelphia Wednesday. SPCA officer George Bengal says that home was the worst he's seen in 20 years of work....

..."Years ago – and I'm going back probably 10 or more years ago – you got maybe one or two a year," he said. Now, SPCA officers average about one or two per month.

Bengal says part of the problem is that Pennsylvania law does not mention hoarding at all. Right now, most hoarders just receive summary citations – comparable to traffic tickets.

If dead animals are found, hoarders can be charged with crimes, but only misdemeanors, officials say.

And there's nothing to mandate psychological treatment, even though psychologists say animal hoarders are clearly mentally ill.

"Usually it's a sense of personal responsibility, that it's their responsibility to make sure that the animals are taken care of," said Dr. Marla Deibler, a psychologist who specializes in hoarding. They believe if they don't take care of the animals "then they would be responsible for them being mistreated."

"We now are typically asking for psychological evaluations through the court system so they can get some type of mandatory help," said Bengal. But until the law changes, judges do not have to comply with that request.

"The bigger picture with this is to actually get help with the individuals," Bengal said. "To me, that's a huge win-win for us and also for the individuals."..."

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

74 dogs, puppies seized in Jackson County, Ga.

Jackson County Animal Control officers and inspectors from the state Department of Agriculture said they seized 74 dogs and puppies from an unlicensed breeding operation between Jefferson and Commerce in northeast Georgia.

Jackson County public development director Gina Mitsdarffer said animal control officers went to a home on Friday after receiving a tip and found rows of kennels in storage buildings, inside a home and outdoors.

Officer said the kennels were filled with nursing and pregnant miniature dogs.

Mitsdarffer said she won't identify the owner until charges are filed.

She said inspectors did not find any injured or dead animals.."

30 Animals Seized, Dozens Of Carcasses Found On Property

A 57-year-old woman could face charges after authorities found animal carcasses in her home, along with animals living in cages lined with feces and urine...." More & video

Call for taskforce to help hoarders


AUSTRALIA needs a taskforce on compulsive hoarding, an under-recognised mental illness that ageing, mental health and council workers are ill equipped to deal with, experts say.

Swinburne University professor of psychology Michael Kyrios, who will chair a panel discussion on the topic at a conference this week, said a multidisciplinary approach was needed to help people with the disabling condition who hoarded ''anything and everything''.

He said studies had shown ''a strong association between hoarding and getting older'', and the average age of hoarders was 55. About 2-4 per cent of the population probably suffered the condition, but skills were lacking in the mental health and community sectors on how to help them..." More

More than 50 Cats Removed from One Home

A case of animal hoarding has volunteers trying to find good homes for dozens of cats. It happened in Van Buren County earlier this month, and volunteers say the woman who had them, had good intentions.

Many of these cats were rescues in the first place, but she couldn't afford to spay and neuter them, and things got out of hand..." More

Dozens of dogs taken from single-family house

By Tom Mooney

Animal-control officers, called to a house on Phebe Street Wednesday afternoon for a report of pet hoarding, witnessed a waterfall of dachshunds and Chihuahuas come spilling down the stairs from the second floor.

About 50 dogs, all but 3 of them of small breeds, were living in the single-family house at 77 Phebe St., said Jennifer Siakotos, a veterinary technician with the Providence Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Siakotos said all the dogs seemed to be in good shape and the house was relatively clean. But an ordinance does limit to three the number of adult dogs someone can have in the city.

Animal control officials from Pawtucket, East Providence and Providence took temporary custody of the animals until their care was further investigated, said Joseph Warzychi, an investigator for the SPCA..." More

The Issue Of Animal Hoarding In Central Ohio


Over the last several days, dozens of dogs have been seized by humane society agents in central Ohio after they were found to be living in inhumane conditions.

Kathy Montgomery says she was never mean to her dogs; the two dozen of them allegedly found caged and covered in feces in her Fayette County trailer; not to mention more than a dozen dogs found dead in a home on the same property. “Things got a little out of hand,” she said. Those dogs were seized by agents on Friday.

Then Tuesday, 89 dogs were seized from a home in Delaware County. Those conditions weren't much better. Those dogs were taken to the Delaware County Humane Society where they are currently being adopted out.

So why do people collect so many animals only to leave them in inhumane living conditions? Jodi Buckman,Executive Director at the Capital Area Humane Society says there could be two reasons. First, they could be a hoarder. “A hoarder might hoard animals, cats or dogs. A hoarder might hoard newspapers, plastic containers, junk mail. It's a mental illness. It's a compulsion,” says Buckman.

Or she says, “There's also folks who just have a huge heart. They have been taking in animals trying to provide shelter and care. The numbers get overwhelming and they don't know where to go for help."..." More

'Hoarding is a compulsive, anxiety disorder

Dr Randy Frost said the disorder involved "compulsive shopping'''' as well as the "collecting of free objects''''.

"A new understanding of hoarding is desperately needed,'''' quoted Frost, one of the world''s leading authorities on hoarding, as saying.

"While the disorder is often associated with collecting rubbish, up to 80 per cent of compulsive hoarders also suffer shopping disorders where they constantly acquire new items," he added..."

PSPCA: hoarding case worst it has seen

Katherine Scott

The PSPCA seized a collection of animals in one of the worst cases of hoarding officials have ever seen.

The place was full of feces, urine, parasites, and a whole lot of animals, dead and alive, according to authorities.

As Licenses and Inspections condemned the Olney home as unfit for human habitation the Pennsylvania SPCA spent over six hours removing animals.

This is one of the worst houses I've been in when you take into account the dead cats. It's ridiculous," said George Bengal of the PSPCA.

Fifty dead animals, investigators say including cats, dogs, a pelican and even a fox retrieved from the basement freezer. As for live animals authorities carted out approximately 56 cats, 20 chinchillas, seven dogs, and 18 pigeons inside and around the backyard.

"The dogs apparently didn't like the pigeons in the yard they would chew them, capture them, and she would put them in a cage."

Homeowner Olga Fedorov invited only Action News inside, explaining that the home is under construction, arguing that her pets are her top priority..." More & video