Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hoarding horror in Winnipeg


A case of extreme hoarding hindered a fire crew’s ability to battle a blaze in River Heights on Monday morning.

Firefighters had to remove the front door of the house in the 300-block of Waverley Street to gain access after flames broke out on the main floor about 8:30 a.m.

Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service district chief Bryan McNamara said stairways were blocked with items and belongings were piled four feet high on the floor..." More

Seized animals need homes

Killeen needs your help finding homes for 41 animals seized from an elderly couple.

27 cats and 16 dogs were taken from the home yesterday after the city got an anonymous call about too many animals living in the home.

Investigators say the animals were not in bad shape, but the elderly couple had trouble caring for so many cats and dogs.

Now the city is looking for good homes for the animals. They say the cats especially need some special attention...

...For more information on how you can adopt one of these animals go to KilleenPetAdoption.org..." More

Animals found dead in Lakeland pet store with no power

Polk County sheriff's deputies found eight dead animals at a pet store that had its electricity turned off for five days because the owner failed to pay the electric bill.

Diana Cabrera, owner of Noah's Ark Exotic Pets, 3632 U.S. Highway 92 E., Lakeland, said she was out of town but had asked someone to take care of the pets at the store while she was away, the sheriff's office said.

The sheriff's office received a call Monday regarding dead animals at the store. When the sheriff's animal control arrived, the owner of the strip mall allowed investigators into the store.

The temperature inside the store was more than 100 degrees and deputies found eight dead animals, including a lizard, a duck, a rabbit, two exotic birds and three chickens. Investigators found more than 50 other animals alive, but they had no water in their cages, deputies said..." More

Monday, August 30, 2010

Dog Hoarder in Watsonville Convicted

Santa Cruz County Animal Services Authority and the Santa Cruz County District Attorney's Office recently received a conviction against a City of Watsonville resident who was keeping dogs in her home in unsanitary and neglectful conditions. Animal Services Officers and Assistant District Attorney Nicole Ellen Jones worked closely in the investigation to interview witnesses and collect evidence to ensure justice was won for the animals.

On July 22, 2010 Mary Frances Laney, 42, pled no contest to two misdemeanor counts of Penal Code Section 597.1(A) for the neglectful care of numerous miniature poodles in her Watsonville home. Laney was sentenced to 3 years of probation and ordered to do 100 volunteer service hours. Additionally, she was ordered not to possess, acquire, and/or care for any additional dogs and she's subject to search and seizure by law enforcement for indicia of dog ownership. She was also ordered to pay $6,467.18 in restitution to the Animal Services Authority.

The case stems from a December 3, 2009 incident when Animal Services Officers were called to Laney's home on a complaint of possible animal hoarding. Once inside the residence the officers discovered numerous miniature poodles living in small cages in their own feces and urine. The poodle's hair was completely matted with their own waste..." More

Special-needs pets a focus at Mount Pleasant Shelter


Visitors to the Mount Pleasant Animal Shelter came in a steady stream on Saturday, eager to inquire about adopting, or perhaps to see a familiar, furry face.

But a group of animals with special needs, including a one-eyed kitten named Willie and a dozen cats taken from a hoarding situation in Parsippany, were the focus.

"(People) can come in anytime we're open to adopt one of our animals, but we're highlighting these guys today," said Abby Berenbak, the shelter's outreach coordinator..." More

Colo. Shelters Take In 81 Cats Rescued From Wyo. Home

Alan Gathright

About half of the 157 cats rescued from "deplorable" conditions in a rural Wyoming home arrived in Colorado shelters Sunday night, officials said.

Sixty-one of the cats were taken in by the Dumb Friends Leagues in Denver and 20 more were going to the Larimer Humane Society, officials said.

The felines were rescued during a hoarding investigation at the home near Powell, Wyo., last week by Park County authorities and the Humane Society of the United States, according to a Sunday news released by the Dumb Friends League..." More & video

LETTER: Animal lovers, We need your help

By: Ella G. Caro

Everyone is invited to the first public meeting of the Friends of the Walton County Animal Shelter, Inc., on Sept. 9 at 7 p.m. at the Freeport Community Center. A nationally recognized speaker from the Humane Society of the United States will first tour the big, modern shelter just north of DeFuniak Springs and then address the meeting.

She is Laura Bevan, Director of the Eastern Regional Office of HSUS, overseeing 26 states with a staff of 19. She has extensive experience in working natural disasters and specializes in such topics as animal cruelty, animal fighting, disaster planning and response for animals, and animal hoarding..." More

150 Cats Rescued from Hoarding Case in Wyoming

By Wayne Pacelle

For the past few weeks, Animal Planet has run a compelling series on the psychological disorder of animal hoarding, which is a cause of enormous suffering for dogs, cats, and other animals. There's typically no malice here -- just a distorted reality and an inability to recognize that the situation for the animals at home has skidded off the tracks.

It seems we at The Humane Society of the United States are responding to more hoarding cases than ever. Last Thursday, the Park County Prosecutor's Office and the local sheriff's department called The HSUS to help with a case involving 150 cats in a home.

Cats were everywhere -- living in couches, above the ceiling, outside of the home, and in practically every other nook and cranny of the residence. Our team found several pregnant cats and litters of newborn kittens in deplorable conditions. Many had upper respiratory infections, ear mites, tumors, and emaciation. They'd obviously been languishing at this residence for some time.

The local volunteers who helped with this operation deserve special thanks, as does PetSmart Charities for donating much-needed sheltering supplies. Now safely removed, all of the cats have received thorough veterinary checks and medical treatment. Soon we'll transport them to rescue groups, on their way to new, adoptive homes..." More & video

20 cats seized from Wyoming 'hoarder' en route to Larimer County

Compulsive Hoarding: When it Goes Beyond Clutter

By Joan Delaney

Stacks of old newspapers and clothing piled to the ceiling in every room; chaotic mounds of valuables, junk, rotten food, and even human waste all mixed together; so much stuff packed into the kitchen and bathroom that they can’t be used.

This is how life can become for compulsive hoarders—those who obsessively amass a large amount of items of no apparent worth and are unable to discard any of them, even when everyday living is compromised.

For some hoarders, many of whom are elderly, shame over the state of their home or fear that they’ll be put in a long-term care facility if their living conditions are discovered prevents them from seeking help.

“I’ve found some pretty deplorable conditions that people are living in as the cost of sort of maintaining their independence, because they’re afraid that one thing will lead to another,” says Elaine Birchell, an Ottawa-based hoarding intervention specialist...."

Exotic birds, chihuahuas among animals taken into state custody

The Humane Society of Missouri received permanent custody of 17 exotic birds and nine chihuahuas recently seized from a property in Greene County, the organization said in a news release.

The owner surrendered custody Friday prior to a scheduled disposition hearing.

The animals are in the Humane Society facilities in St. Louis. They will be treated by the organization and made available for adoption as soon as possible, the release said..." More

Jefferson Co. Humane Society Gets National Help

The Humane Society of the United States is stepping in to help Jefferson County officials care for more than 200 animals that were seized during a raid by the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office.

Among the animals recovered were 200 pit bulls and various game animals. The animals were taken from the home of Sherman Bell. Deputies said they also recovered 30 marijuana plants and 80 guns from the property.

Debbie Welsch with the Jefferson County Humane Society said that all the animals are safe and healthy. She said veterinarians are still assessing the animals and providing treatment when necessary..." More & video

84 dogs seized from Clarksville home

By Janelle MacDonald

Indiana authorities have launched an investigation after they seized dozens of animals from a home in Clarksville on August 26. Now the J.B. Ogle Animal Shelter is trying to deal with the influx of dogs.

Neighbors say you would have never have guessed the number of dogs town officials say the people who live at a home on Cottonwood Drive in Clarksville were keeping.

"When we showed up and knocked on the door, we heard some barking, but it wasn't ... you didn't expect 80 dogs to be there," said Officer Bradley Cummings with Clarksville Animal Control.

Cummings is not releasing the name or exact address of the home. He says an anonymous tip led them to the house.

"One of the neighbors, I guess, were able to see and count the number and they stopped counting at 30," Cummings said.

The building commissioner in Clarksville conducted the original investigation because it's against zoning laws to have more than three dogs in a home. Cummings says the commissioner reported back Wednesday afternoon that there were 30-plus dogs in the home..." More

Animal hoarding results in tragic consequences

By Jen Gerson

Neighbours usually notice the smell first. An unfathomably wretched ammonia stench seeps into the floors and poisons the frame.

Most times, these homes can't be saved. Neither the people can be helped, nor the animals they collect and breed.

Long brushed off as eccentricity, hoarding behaviours are gaining a new recognition as a unique mental disorder characterized by an almost obsessive accumulation of animals, junk or incomprehensible collections. But when the objects collected are living pets, hoarding can lead to tragic consequences.

Elaine Birchall, an Ottawa-based social worker and hoarding specialist, once walked into a home to find two freezers accumulated with the bodies of 300 cats..." More

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Hoarding Situation Leaves More Than 30 Cats Homeless

The anonymous report of an animal hoarder on Union Street led to the discovery and rescue of approximately 30 flea-ridden, cats needing immediate medical care in what officials are calling one of the worst animal abuse incidents the town has encountered.

On Aug. 23, animal control officers investigated the complaint, at which time officers were granted limited access to the one-family, residential home. It was determined that approximately 30 cats were living in the house with most infested by fleas. Officers determined that all the cats were in need of immediate intervention and should be removed from the home, evaluated and treated by a veterinarian.

Laura Selvaggio Burban, Director of the Dan Cosgrove Animal Shelter, said that most cats were thought to be feral, but after treating them for medical conditions—specifically skin irrations do to fleas—the majority of cats have calmed down and do not show signs of feral, or wild behavior. She does however note, several cats in the lot are feral..." More

photo: Laura Selvaggio Burban

Missing Woman's Body Found In Clutter


A four-month search for a missing Las Vegas woman came to a ghastly end this week when her husband found her corpse in their home amid a labyrinth of squalor that had been impassable even to search dogs.

Bill James apparently had no idea that the body of his pack-rat wife, Billie Jean, was under the same roof as he helped police scour the home and the Nevada desert for any sign of her. Then he spotted the feet of the body poking out of a floor-to-ceiling pile of junk Wednesday, revealing in shocking detail the woman's penchant for hoarding.

Police say they searched the home several times - even using dogs from a unit that helped locate bodies at ground zero after Sept. 11 and Hurricane Katrina. But they were unable to find the body of amid the piles of clothes, knickknacks, trash and other junk.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Richardson awards stimulus funds to crack down on cockfighting, manage wild horses


Some of the state’s last stimulus funds will be used to benefit animal welfare, Gov. Bill Richardson announced today.

The Department of Public Safety will get $150,000 to combat illegal cockfighting, dog fighting and animal hoarding. The money will pay for an staff, training and materials.,," More

Signs of an Animal Hoarder

by: Jan Thomas

Animal hoarders can be overwhelmed caregivers, rescuers or sociopaths. Go inside their minds and learn what to do if you suspect hoarding.

Just how long Barbara Onderdonk had been hoarding Shetland sheepdogs is unknown. What is known is that she stored dogs like throwaway clothing in her garage in Buncombe County, N.C., and that ultimately, it was someone from her local animal hospital who turned her in. According to court records, an unnamed veterinary hospital employee contacted the Asheville Humane Society after treating one of Onderdonk’s dogs that was “malnourished, dehydrated, severely underweight, anemic and had died.” After visiting the premises, animal control officers removed 25 dogs and two cats from the woman’s care. Most of the dogs were found in the garage, where they lived in carriers and crates stacked one on top of the other and were caked with feces.

In the world of animal hoarding, where abusers often acquire hundreds of pets before judicial intervention, the Onderdonk case is hardly extreme. However, it does cast a spotlight on the role that neighbors and friends can and should play in eradicating this confusing phenomenon.

Today, we understand animal hoarding to occur when someone is:

Unable to provide minimal levels of nutrition, sanitation, shelter and veterinary care - In denial about both his or her inability to provide care and about the impact of that failure on the animals, their home and other people who live on the property

A one-size-fits-all approach does not work with animal hoarding. Nevertheless, hoarders do share some characteristics, for instance:

Most are female - Most live alone - Almost half are 60 years of age or older

In almost 70% of investigated cases, animal feces and urine are present in the hoarder’s home

Sick or dead animals were discovered on the premises in 80% of the cases; and in 60% of these cases, hoarders denied there was a problem

Gary Patronek, VMD, PhD and founder of the Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium (HARC), cautions against generalizing based on gender or living conditions. Instead, he says most hoarders fall into one of the following categories:

Overwhelmed caregivers: These people begin rescuing or helping animals in a small way, acquire pets passively and become overwhelmed when their growing animal population combines with a significant negative change in lifestyle. People in this category tend to be the most willing to consider downsizing.

Rescuer hoarders: Most people in this group are driven by an extreme sense of mission. Patronek says they likely “have a profound fear of death and loss. Caring for animals provides a strong sense of identity; losing the animals or losing control is a loss of who they are.” Negotiated settlements, sometimes coupled with the threat of prosecution, work best here.

Exploiter hoarders: “These people may be true sociopaths,” Patronek warns. “They have no empathy for people or animals. They are manipulative, cunning, very shrewd and can be quite vicious. You’re probably going to have to prosecute them with every trick in the book to have any chance of successful intervention.”

In addition, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) cites these signs that may indicate someone is an animal hoarder:

They have numerous animals and may not know the total number of animals in their care

Their home is deteriorated (i.e., dirty windows, broken furniture, holes in wall and floor, extreme clutter)

Animals are emaciated, lethargic and not well socialized

Fleas and vermin are present

They are isolated from the community and appear to neglect themselves

If you suspect a hoarding situation, call your local humane society, animal control agency, police department, animal shelter, animal welfare group or veterinary hospital to initiate the process. You may not want to get the person “in trouble,” but a telephone call may be the first step to getting that individual and the animals the help they need...." Link

Read more about Barbara Onderdonk on Pet-abuse.com

In a Hoarder’s Home, Going All Out to Find the Floor


The door to the apartment would open only six inches. The owner squeezed himself inside, grabbed the top rung of a wooden bed frame and hoisted himself over a mountain of objects — a stepladder, a bird cage, a pile of wood planks — until he was standing atop a waist-high ridge made of the flotsam of his life.

here was a batting helmet. A telephone shaped like a sports car. A tea-colored lampshade. A dozen broken umbrellas hung in a neat row from the bed frame, rising from the rubble like the mast on a shipwreck. The floor was entirely hidden. Over there — the man pointed toward a boulder of suitcases blocking a doorway — was the kitchen.

The owner of all this, the occupant of the 500-square-foot apartment in the Bedford Park section of the Bronx, is a trim 54-year-old with short white hair, a thin gray mustache and a nervous, high-pitched voice. He asked not to be named for fear of public shame..." More

Photo: Michael Appleton for The New York Times

Flashback: The Collyer Brothers, NY's Famous Hoarders

By Jen Carlson

How many "Collyer Mansion" situations do you think we have going on in the five boroughs? Today the NY Times profiles one 54-year-old Bronx man, who has been hoarding forever. The paper visited his packed pad, where he requested to remain anonymous "for fear of public shame." His 500-square-foot apartment in Bedford Park did get visually documented, however, as it's in the process of being organized by a local service specializing in hoarding cases. Hurrah! Now, let's take a look back at the famous Collyer brothers—who often get mentioned in news stories like this.

Brothers Homer and Langley Collyer were not only hoarders, but hermits living together in Harlem (at 2078 Fifth Avenue). The two were found dead in 1947, surrounded by everything from stacks of newspapers to a horse-drawn carriage! According to the NY Sun, they amassed over 130 tons of waste by the time of their deaths—which was well-documented by photographers at the time. One reporter said the smell was like "a punch to the face by a chain-mail fist."..." More

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

75 animals seized at Cape home; filthy living conditions found

By Erin Hevern

Cape Girardeau police and staff from the Humane Society of Southeast Missouri seized 75 animals Tuesday from a residence on Boutin Drive, where officers say a child and her mother were living in "extreme filth."

Police and Humane Society workers spent around four hours removing several dogs, around 40 rabbits, guinea pigs, chickens, rare birds including a peacock, and five goats from 2327 Boutin Drive. The owner of the home, Robin Peavler, 48, was charged Tuesday with misdemeanor animal abuse for an investigation police conducted at a home on West Cape Rock Drive. Missouri Casenet didn't list additional charges for the newest investigation by Wednesday night.

Many of the animals were caged and living in their own feces, according to Cape Girardeau nuisance abatement officer Ty Metzger..." More

Hoarding is a health problem for seniors struggling with depression

Susan Pigg

Dan looks surprisingly relaxed sitting in a wheelchair outside his North York apartment, waiting for the door to be opened on his life.

He only starts to flinch as a team of “extreme cleaners” dons protective suits, arms themselves with garbage bags and braces for the shock waves.

First there is the stench. Then there is the sound. Pigeons have been roosting in Dan's apartment since he was rushed to hospital a month ago with a broken hip, too embarrassed to ask anyone to shut his balcony door.

“I never imagined I could be living like this,” says Dan, 66, as the morning light shines on a crisis of clutter..." More

Glenda Marie Cagle & James Edward Cagle - Knoxville, Tennessee

Aug 25, 2010: Siblings charged in South Knox dog hoarding case accept plea deal

A pair of south Knoxville siblings accused in a dog hoarding case have pleaded guilty.

Glenda Marie Cagle and James Edward Cagle were charged with animal cruelty.

More than two dozen of them had to be put down, but the rest wererehabilitated and taken to rescue agencies or adopted into good homes. Animal rescue officials nicknamed the dogs the Tennessee Toe Hounds, because most of them had an extra toe.

As part of their plea deal, some of the charges against the Cagles were dropped or reduced. They will avoid jail time, as long as they abide by the court's orders. The judge ordered them not to own any animals for at least two years, and will have to seek counseling. Animal control will make home visits to ensure they are abiding by the judge's orders..." More

Jun 13, 2010: Hoarding a danger to people, animals
By Chloe White Kennedy

On April 22, animal control officers removed 76 dogs from a South Knoxville house on Neubert Springs Road. They had to wade through animal feces 6 inches to a foot deep inside to remove the animals, some of which had hidden behind wall panels.

Residents Glenda Marie Cagle, 64, and James Edward Cagle, 67, were charged with five counts each of aggravated animal cruelty. They are due in court July 13.

The house was condemned by a city codes enforcement inspector, and 29 of the 76 dogs were euthanized because they were too aggressive, suffered severe health problems or were too malnourished to be nursed back to health, according to Young-Williams Animal Center Executive Director Tim Adams.

The remaining 47 dogs have received veterinary care at the center and evaluations from local and

ASPCA animal behaviorists. Sixteen have been moved to the adoption floor. As of Friday, five had been adopted and nine faced residential training to prepare them for adoption..." More

May 13, 2010: Animal lovers walk fine line between rescue, addiction

By Amanda Greever

Sometimes people really just don’t know when to stop.

Let me use alcoholism as an example. For those battling the bottle, alcohol is a need. It might start small, but the victim keeps knocking back shots or drinks as if they were water. For an alcoholic, one drink is too many but 10 is never enough.

A couple of weeks back I saw a story on the news that left me in tears. More than 70 dogs were removed from a home in South Knoxville. About 30 of them had to be euthanized due to the treatment they’d received. The dogs were malnourished and about six inches of feces covered the floor..."" More

Apr 26, 2010: Son of accused Knoxville dog hoarder says father has reached out


The son of a man charged with animal cruelty for hoarding more than 70 dogs in South Knoxville said his father has reached out to him for help.

James Cagle, Jr. doesn't know how long his father, James Edward Cagle, and aunt, Glenda Marie Cagle, had been living in their house in deplorable conditions.

"Last couple of years I think he's not been associating with anyone," his son said.

He added that he's been estranged from his father for years until Sunday when his dad reached out to him for help.

"He was bawling in tears, grabbing me up, something he hasn't done in a while. It tore my heart out to see him so upset," his son said.

On Monday, his son was at the condemned home on Neubert Springs Road looking for anything worth saving before it's demolished..." More & video

Apr 25, 2010: Both suspects out on bond in Knoxville animal cruelty case

The brother and sister charged in a large animal cruelty investigation in Knoxville are both out on bond.

Deputies say James Cagle was released from the Knox County Detention Facility on Saturday.

His sister, Glenda Cagle, was released on bond Sunday night.

The two are facing felony charges after more than 75 dogs were seized from their home in South Knoxville Thursday..." More

Apr 23, 2010: Knoxville animal center begins rehabilitating rescued dogs


The majority of the dogs rescued from a brother and sister charged with animal cruelty remain at Young-Williams Animal Center in Knoxville Friday for rehabilitation.

Officials say they're not ready for adoption yet, but donations are being accepted.

Officers took more than 70 dogs from the home of Glenda Marie Cagle, 64, and her brother, James Edward Cagle, 67, in South Knoxville Thursday afternoon.

Officers unloaded the dogs at the animal center and veterinarians assessed their health in a triage set up to handle the large number.

Many of the 47 remaining dogs are in poor condition. Some have protruding bones or patches of fur missing..." More & video

Apr 22, 2010: 76 dogs removed from South Knoxville home, brother and sister charged


A brother and sister were charged Thursday with several counts of felony animal cruelty after officers removed 76 dogs from their South Knoxville home over two days.

Glenda Marie Cagle, 64, and James Edward Cagle, 67, were arrested at different times Thursday at their home at 5412 Neubert Springs Road near Martin Mill Pike.

James Cagle was missing from the house Thursday afternoon, he returned in the evening and was taken into custody in the back yard without incident.

Police and animal control officers arrived at the home with a search warrant at 12:33 p.m. and started removing the dogs after receiving an anonymous tip from neighbors.

Officers couldn't open the door to the house because there was about a foot of dog feces in the way. Police said waste was six inches to 1.5 feet deep throughout the house. Very upset dogs also met them at the door.

As the dogs tried to escape, one was mauled and eaten by other dogs.

When officers were finally able to start removing the dogs, they got about 30 before they said Glenda Cagle came out wearing a bathrobe and slippers covered in feces.

Glenda Cagle insisted the dogs were healthy, and were fed one bag of dog food a day. When told about the dogs eating the one dog, she said, "Oh, they do that.".." More & video

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Cleaning up after hoarders is a booming business

By Christian Boone

What's the difference between a hoarder and a pack rat?

"When I have to use my shoulder to push the door in, that probably means we're going to take the job," said Todd Reese, co-owner of Georgia Clean and Associates, which helps hoarders reclaim their homes from collectibles, debris and worse. The niche service has become a booming business for Reese and his associate, Gordy Powell, who recently combined their two companies to deal with demand.

They've overseen some well-publicized clean-ups, including the Sandy Springs home belonging to Mary Minter, who had to be rescued from chest-high debris in late June. She died two weeks later.

"People used to write [hoarding] off as someone just being messy, or lazy," Reese told the AJC. "But I think people are learning that it's a serious problem because of all the publicity from the TV shows."..." More