Wednesday, February 23, 2011

After Nearly 300 Animals Seized or Surrendered, Woman Will Be Charged

By Jeff Raasch

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Dominoes have continued to fall for Jennifer Wood, the woman whose animals were seized from her southeast Cedar Rapids home last week.

Nearly 300 animals in Wood’s care have either been taken from her or voluntarily surrendered since 1997, because of unsanitary conditions, according to a KCRG-TV9 investigation. In the past week alone, she has lost control of at least 140 animals, closed her business and resigned from an animal rescue operation.

Wood, 36, recently agreed to give up nine more dogs, two horses and a few cats that she kept on a farm at 3136 S Ave. near North English. Iowa County Sheriff Robert Rotter said his office had taken several complaints about the number of dogs on the property..." More & video

Testimony in case of woman accused of hoarding dogs

By: Jeff Zevely

EL CAJON (CBS 8) - Testimony continues Wednesday in the case of a Lakeside woman accused of running an illegal dog rescue.

More than 60 boxers and Chihuahuas were seized from Alice Via's home last March. Prosecutors say they were living in filth..." More & video

Chinchillas, Deer Among 60-Plus Hoarded Animals

According to Quality of Life Task Force investigators: one cow, one pig, eight goats, five dogs, six cats, two ducks (one was found dead), several chinchillas, one sun conure (a type of bird), two cockatiels, seven fancy rats, two love birds, three hens, one pheasant, one diamond dove, several cats, and approximately 75 pigeons were removed from the house, with five of the pigeons found dead.

Veterinarians were at the scene to help the animals who could still be saved.

“This animal hoarding is one of the most egregious Quality of Life Task Force cases we have seen," according to Supervisor Mark Lesko.

Many animals inside the house were already dead, and firefighters were forced to don HazMat suits with breathing devices to be able to investigate the basement of the house, where many of the animal corpses were left to rot. Feces covered the inside of the residence, and the front and back yards were littered with abandoned tractor equipment.

The home is owned by an 85-year-old woman, but a 23-year-old male care taker was taken into custody. He has reportedly said that the animals are his...." More & video

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Inside Animal Hoarding

Animal hoarders go beyond being animal lovers.

For those who do it, it becomes a dangerous obsession.

"It becomes less and less about caring for the animals and caring about the animals and much more about what the animal hoarder needs," said Boise author Celeste Killeen, author of "Inside Animal Hoarding."

Killeen spent three years documenting the story of Barbara Erickson, an Oregon woman who was arrested for keeping more than 500 dogs in horrid conditions.

"The depth of denial really surprised me because to her, and I think to this day, is totally convinced that she took care of everyone those animals," Killeen said. "Under her view, those animals just had everything they needed and she loved them dearly and they loved her and everything was fine."

The Animal Planet show "Confessions: Animal Hoarders" documents similar cases.

Hoarders will live in the animals' filth – even develop breathing problems because of the conditions.

Psychologists are still figuring out exactly what causes animal hoarding, but many have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, depression, addiction, and dementia..." More

Animal hoarder busted

By: Kendra Oestreich

Repeat-hoarding offender found living in filthy, cat-filled house.." Video

Hoarding: amassing a mess


While most people's homes could use a little tidying up, some decluttering and reorganization of space, others require a major overhaul. And these people are often hoarders.

How do you know if you’re a hoarder? There are actually diagnostic tests from the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization and, in fact, the disorder has recently been added to the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the diagnosis and treatment tool used by mental health professionals). But for some, the realization comes when relatives give you a gift certificate for a personal organizer..." More

Cost Of Hoarding

One researcher estimates hoarding is the most costly mental illness to treat in the U.S. That's in part because communities don't know the best way to help people who stockpile rooms of trash, debris, food, and even animals.

Leaders in one local county are trying to tackle the problem.

One University of Kansas researcher said people who hoard are often passed from one agency to another because communities don't have protocols in place to help.

Currently, both the KU and leaders in Wyandotte County are working to change that in an effort to save everyone time and money.

When it comes to zeroing in on the cleanup cost of hoarding, one can simply take a look at the laptop of restoration specialist Steven Martuch. From mounds of trash to an entire bathtub filled with human feces, he's been inside some of the worst hoarding locations all over the country.

"Maryland, Pennsylvania, Florida, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Nevada, Kansas Nebraska, we've been, pretty much. All we need to do is hit Washington, and we'll have been in every corner of the country," Martuch said.Martuch works for a company that has realized hoarding cleanup is big business."$10,000, on a whole, would very, very easily sum it up," Martuch said. "Like I said, we've seen some that are $20,000, $30,000, $40,000."

Martuch is quick to point out that $10,000 only covers the cost of of the cleanup. The real cost, he said, is much higher, and Wyandotte County leaders said they are very much aware of those costs.

Wyandotte County now has a Hoarding Coalition. It's one of only a handful around the country and Rik Van Dyke is the chairman of the Wyandotte County Hoarding Coalition.

"We realized one agency can't do it," Van Dyke said. "Code can't do it by themselves. We can't do it by ourselves. It takes the whole community to really get involved."

Julie Sergeant, with KU's School of Social Welfare, is studying whether hoarding coalitions, like the one in Wyandotte County, can make a difference in cutting down costs."

I think the next step is to really look over the long term at the outcomes of the work that these hoarding coalitions do," Sergeant said.Sergeant said cities and counties need to get a handle on the disorder because studies estimate hoarders make up 6 percent of any region's population. In Wyandotte County, with a population of around 155,000, the cleanup costs could potentially run taxpayers more than $93 million..." More & video

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Oppenheim investigating dog hoarders


OPPENHEIM - Dog Warden William Lints says at least 25 cases of animal cruelty are being investigated in his town, and about a dozen of them are classified as "hoarding."

"Oppenheim could be a poster child for animal cruelty, and it needs to be stopped," said Lints, who took the position in January after the resignation of Kenneth Decker.

He said recent complaints from residents have yielded several cases being investigated by the Fulton County Sheriff's Department and New York State Police. He's most disturbed by about 15 residents who are "collecting" dogs, keeping them in the homes in cramped quarters and unsanitary conditions.

"The smell is noxious, with urine and ammonia. The dogs are in cages stacked two and three high," with waste falling onto the animals below, he said.

Supervisor George Capek credits a vocal minority of residents who recently began identifying potential mistreatment of dogs with helping to jump-start awareness.

"I had no idea anything was happening, but all of a sudden, this became a problem," he said. "People started to complain."

The town responded with an ordinance limiting households to six dogs, Capek said. Residents can apply for a permit to house up to 15 dogs, but any more requires approval from the town. No residents have asked for approval, he said...." More

19 dogs taken from overheated trailer

By: Kate Harrison & By: Pam Sohn

Nineteen quiet but frightened Chihuahuas sniffed the air timidly as they were unloaded one by one from McKamey Animal Care and Adoption Center trucks Monday afternoon.

The dogs, rescued earlier in the afternoon from a trailer in Hixson where a kerosene heater had raised the temperature to 101 degrees Fahrenheit, represent a case of animal hoarding, according to Karen Walsh, McKamey's executive director.

"The dogs may look normal, but because of ammonia issues [from living in excrement] they may have internal problems that you don't notice right off the bat. There were feces and urine all over the floors," she said. "And some of these dogs have nails way too long, two have eye issues and ear issues."

The dogs' owners, Winston Andrew O'Dell and Tonya Middleton, tell a different story.

"I love my dogs to death, and I'm going to do whatever I got to do to get my dogs back," O'Dell said. "I think McKamey sticks their noses where they don't belong."..." More

Monday, February 14, 2011

Man Charged in Chihuahua Hoarding

CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - A Hixson man will face charges after officers found nearly 20 dogs in his home.

Neighbors reported Winston Andrew Odell to police because of excessive barking coming from his home.

Officer showed up with an eviction notice Monday and discovered 19 Chihuahuas in the home.

McKamey officials were called to remove the dogs from the home.

Karen Walsh, Director of McKamey Animal Center, told Eyewitness News there was no power to Odell's trailer home. A kerosene heater was running, making the home 101 degrees inside.

Walsh says the heat was a factor in charging Odell with neglect.

The dogs had not been vacinated and were not registered with the city. Walsh says Odell does not have a breeders permit either..." More

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Pet overpopulation produces animal hoarding

by Shaka S. Lias

Roxanne was found with barbed wire twisted around her mouth and 40 pounds underweight. Henry's leg was mangled when a car hit him and his leg had to be amputated. Sally was bred at least 15 times until she required surgery to repair damage.

In addition to the dogs' strong will to survive they all have something else in common, Second Chance Animal Rescue and Adoption rescued them.

Jolynn VanCamp is a state licensed rescuer who has rescued cats and dogs since the mid-1990s. With the help of volunteers, she runs Second Chance and saves animals from death row.

Second Chance is a no-kill facility, which bears a huge responsibility, VanCamp said. "Being no kill you can end up with way too many animals."

To date they have adopted out more than 3,000 dogs, with strict instructions in the contract that if the owner ever wants to get rid of the dog they must return the animal to Second Chance. The dogs cannot be turned into a shelter or given to someone else without a screening of the home or shelter by Second Chance.

VanCamp said currently they have about 10 dogs that have been returned and cannot be adopted.

"There are seven in the house with me, and they have plenty of room and love," VanCamp said. The rest are in a kennel located on the 10-acre ranch in Canton where Second Chance is located.

VanCamp said saving pets is a passion she holds dear to her heart. "I've been active in trying to stop the over pet population, it stretches far and wide."

Although Second Chance is located in Canton, VanCamp travels throughout the state rescuing animals. Last month she rescued 19 dogs and five cats that were taken from an elderly woman's Cartersville home by Animal Control.

VanCamp said that case is a classic example of hoarding. She said tools for hoarding come from pet overpopulation, with owners desperate to give up their animals. "People dumped them on this lady and didn't care to look in her home to see the conditions."

"All they know is that she was taking the dogs," VanCamp said. "The lady believed in no kill, so many animals got dumped on her by these owner give-ups."

VanCamp said animal hoarding, animal cruelty and dog fighting all play a part in overpopulation, and unfortunately, there is no law against it..." More

Animal hoarder spent $200K to care for 82 dogs

By Michael Inbar

Carolyn opened up her heart, wallet and home to unwanted dogs throughout her Missouri community, but what started as a labor of love nearly did her in. She eventually adopted 82 dogs, causing herself health problems, estranging her from her four children — and nearly sending her and her husband Ron to the poorhouse.

Carolyn (who withheld her last name) appeared on TODAY Friday, the same day that the second season of reality TV series “Confessions: Animal Hoarding” was slated to begin on Animal Planet. Carolyn’s is one of 10 cases examined on the hoarding show this season, and while she prefers the term “animal boarder” to “hoarder,” she admitted her love for dogs took over her life.

Dogs by the dozen
Her obsession began 16 years ago, after the last of her children moved out of the house. Carolyn began volunteering at a local animal shelter and found her heart breaking as she watched animals being euthanized.

“Every day I would go in and there would be several dogs I wouldn’t see again — time after time, day after day,” Carolyn told Meredith Vieira. “So I just got to the point when people would bring them to the door [of the shelter], I’d say, ‘Well, do you want this dog adopted?’ They’d say, ‘I don’t care.’ So I would put them in my Jeep and bring them home.”

Carolyn began taking in more and more dogs, to the point where neighbors would drop off their unwanted dogs at her house rather than the shelter. Her feelings for the animals became so intense that she once stole a dog she believed was being abused from a neighbor.

Eventually, Carolyn had eight dogs inside her house, 20 more living in her yard and another 54 on a property outside town.

The bills were astronomical: The family spent $350 a week on dry dog food alone. Husband Ron estimated the family shelled out more than $200,000 in a little over 10 years’ time on the pets.

Money became tight, and Carolyn began asking her children to pitch in financially. But those children were at their wit’s end. Carolyn’s son Tim, appearing alongside his mother on TODAY, told Vieira that “physically, financially, emotionally, it was taking its toll.”..." More

IL authorities say owner neglected sanctuary animals

by Kelsey Wheatcroft

TINLEY PARK, IL (AP) - The overwhelmed owner of an animal sanctuary has been charged with multiple counts of neglect and cruelty after authorities found dead, sick and malnourished animals at the facility in the Chicago suburb of Tinley Park.

The Cook County Sheriff's Office says on Saturday, 41-year-old Dawn Hamill was charged with eight counts of neglect of owner's duties and two counts of cruel treatment.

Officers visited Dazzle's Painted Pastures on Friday with a search warrant. They found a dead miniature horse and a dead Himalayan cat.

Officers seized 63 dogs, 31 cats and six rabbits. They also removed 30 horses, ponies, sheep, goats and llamas..." More

119 dogs taken from Medina County home

By: Bob Jones

CHIPPEWA LAKE, Ohio - A Medina County humane officer calls it a case of animal hoarding, cruelty, abuse and neglect.

One-hundred-nineteen dogs were taken from a home on Dawnshire Drive in Chippewa Lake on Friday and Saturday.

Four of the dogs were dead. The rest are being treated at the Medina County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Humane officer Mary Jo Johnson said that garbage and feces were piled as high as two feet around the dogs and their cages on the first floor.

"It's the worst thing I've ever seen and I was amazed at once we got inside how many animals were in there," Johnson said.

Some of the dogs have bite marks. Many of them have worms. Workers and volunteers have been cleaning the animals and contacting veterinarians so the dogs can get vaccinations.

Investigators have not identified the owner of the dogs, but Johnson said a woman and her daughter live in the house..." More & video

Friday, February 11, 2011

Curtis and Racine Moore

Feb 11, 2011: Custody Of Hundreds Of Seized Animals Awarded To State

Coryell County Justice of the Peace Coy Latham ruled Thursday that hundreds of animals seized from a ranch should remain in the custody of the state.

Curtis and Racine Moore, the animals’ former owners, face a laundry list of animal cruelty complaints including the original 10 counts of cruelty to livestock animals, two counts of illegal dumping and an additional 64 counts of cruelty to non-livestock animals..." More

Feb 1, 2011: UPDATE: More charges filed in Coryell County animal case

by John Cuoco

UPDATE Feb. 3: An additional 46 misdemeanor Cruelty to Animal charges and six state felony charges have been filed against two Coryell County residents allegedly found with hundreds of animals.

The total charges as of Thursday against Curtis and Racine Moore is now 57 misdemeanor and seven state jail felony each, and the sheriff's office says more charges may be pursued.

The Moores have not been arraigned on those additional charges at this time.

UPDATE Feb. 2: According to the Coryell County Sheriff's office, the homeowners of the property in Coryell County where hundreds of animals were found will face additional felony charges.

Curtis and Racine Moore are both already charged with Cruelty to livestock animals x10, illegal dumping x2.

They will also face felony charges for cruelty to animals evidence of torture, they were served with one warrant Wednesday. There will be more coming, it's unclear when.

So far, their bond has been set at $23,000. An initial court hearing is scheduled for Thursday.

We also have some new pictures to show of the animals that were rescued. Click here to go to News Channel 25's Facebook page to see those pictures.

Wednesday, all of the animals, except for 150 dogs were removed from the property and taken to Houston with the SPCA...

...The animals included:

• Over 200 adult dogs and 40 puppies
• 1 Tamarin (primate)
• 2 Bengal Tigers
• 2 Mountain Lions
• 18 domestic cats
• 5 birds (2 macaws, 1 cockatoo, 1 cockatiel, and 1 conure)
• 1 lizard
• Over 30 horses and donkeys
• 10 rodents

According to the SPCA, all of the animals on the property were found living in very poor environmental conditions deemed unhealthy for both humans and animals. The overwhelming stench "spiked" an ammonia meter two feet outside the residence on the property where some of the animals were discovered living in feces- and urine-filled cages..." More & video

Feb 1, 2011: Hundreds of animals found near home: lions, tigers, dogs, horses

by Nate Bishop

CORYELL COUNTY - Two people have been arrested and hundreds of animals seized in a massive raid in rural western Coryell County.

Chief Deputy Joe Blakely says they were serving a search warrant at the home off of C.R. 155 on the welfare of 30 to 40 horses when they found the other animals.

Curtis and Raycene Moore were arrested and charged for animal cruelty in regards to the horses, but could face more charges because of the all the dogs and a dump site behind their property..." More & video

Listen Live Over a Dozen Animals Removed From Roseville Home

Animal abuse. It's a problem that is seen in every part of our country. From hoarding to neglect and ultimately death. The same is held true in one Perry County home until today. WHIZ's Mark Bullion has the story. Click on the video link on the left to watch the full story.

Dogs barking inside and outside a Roseville home live a different kind of life. One that is a dismal reminder of what animal owners are capable of doing.

But dogs aren't the only problem at 10493 Township Road 57. Horses are also in danger as several of them are severely underweight. Humane Society Officer John Price said there have been many complaints about this particular residence.

"Every time I've been out here there's either been no water or dirty water. And when I initially came out here there was horse feces in the water tank," said Price..." More

Tragic dog hoarding in Doyline

By Erin Stevenson

DOYLINE, LA (KSLA) – Webster Parish Sheriff's Deputies and the Minden Animal Control captured 15 dogs in a Webster Parish trailer park Thursday afternoon. After many calls from the area, deputies check out the unbelievable scene they describe as "deplorable."

Almost 20 dogs were roaming around Michael Comb's property. Some were abandoned outside the fence, but most of the dogs were left inside a single-wide trailer with access to an outdoor pen. Food and feces was on the ground around the area.

Sheriff's deputies put all the dogs in a truck to bring to an area veterinarian. Sheriff Gary Sexton says the dogs will be examined and their fate will be determined from that point..." More

NBC4 Goes Along As Perry Co. Humane Officers Rescue Animals

By Steve Wainfor

Humane agents and sheriff's deputies raided a Perry County home Thursday, finding nine malnourished dogs and four horses living in filthy conditions.

The home is in a rural area near Somerset and has been under investigation for two years.

John Price, humane officer with the Perry County Humane Society, said neighbors were concerned about the dogs and horses living on the property.

Conditions inside where something rescuers said they've never seen before..." More & video

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

New Blog: A husband writes about the fallout from his wife's animal hoarding

Feb 3, 2011 - The First Day.

''Today is the first day of the rest of your life."

How often have you heard that tripe, usually from some bubbly optimist trying to randomly toss a little bit of positive energy into others lives. I heard it today and all it served to do was add to that that energy within me, the negative energy, which took even greater energy to contain within me, created an even greater negative affect.

Sure, today is the first day of the rest of your life, but the rest of your life might only be 5 minutes, or it might be 50 years of hell. Yahoo!

I am, without a doubt, in a foul mood. You see the first day of the rest of my life was a few days ago, and it came totally unexpected, and it sure as hell wasn't the start I would have chosen. As I come up on day 4 I sit in my car, in which I have been living for three days, freezing my ass off because I need to conserve every last bit of fuel, with a completely empty stomach (well two days empty anyways), and not a cent to my name at this moment.
Perhaps I should back up a little.

I have been living with the most incredible woman and her three children for almost 6 years now. I loved her deeply, more than any other from my past. I was confident that this was going to be the woman I was going to be with until my dying day. Sure we had our problems, but then what couple does not. These problems were more often than not complicated, if not triggered by financial stresses (which came first the empty bank account or the problem you are currently arguing about?) but I was sure we would make it through the tough times - unfortunately she was not. The result was the inevitable "I think I need to be alone for a while."

I was hurt, shattered really, and tried everything to convince her we could make it through, and offered to do whatever I needed to make things work (pretty pitiful, eh). As we talked it became evident that her biggest problem was that she could not talk talk to me about her horses and that she didn't have my full support with them. She was right. We (or she) has more than 30 horses. Perhaps not so bad if you have a place to keep them, the finances to support them, the equipment to care for them, and the time to enjoy them. WE DID NOT! Over the past six years we have run up bills for pasture and feed and vets as she desperately tries to find pastures to rent and move the horses to since our rented 3 acres will not support the herd. We have alienated virtually all our friends and family because of problems with the horses. All this why we are struggling to pay for the roof over our family's head, and keep food on the table and the lights on.

Doesn't make much sense, does it? Well it doesn't to me anyways. I can understanding keeping some of the horses, but all of them? Unfortunately bringing up this concept to my wife has resulted in blind raging violence in the past. The last time I saw the rage coming I stopped and said "fine, you won't discuss this than don't discuss the horses at all with me and do not ask for my help with the horses." (I had come to the personal conclusion that continueing to support her with the horses was like handing a drink to an alcholic).

Unfortunately that did not avert the violent rage. I almost left at that point but she agreed to get some anger management counselling. I think she did. But you can see now why she felt that there was a part of her life she could not share with me and did not have my support in.

While we were discussing an impending separation a few nights ago I made the mistake of saying that I was taking my half of the horses with me. NOT SMART! The result was me stumbling out the front door bloodied and bruised, shirtless and shoeless, trying to make it to the car so I could get away. I made it and headed for the police station (probably what I should have done the first time she was like this). When I got to the police station she had already called them to tell them she had beat me and I was probably on my way to the hospital. (A bit of a shock to the police that the person who did the beating in a domestic violence situation called to say so before they heard from the victim. She really is not a bad person.)

After being treated at the hospital for a broken nose and scratches and bruises, victim services put me up in hotel for the night (at least what was left of it) and we have now begun our separation, enforced by the police no contact order given to my wife.

I left the hotel with $20 in my pocket, a few clothes retrieved for me from the house, and my netbook (which I am using to put these thoughts online) nothing else. No cell phone. No money I can access anywhere. No place to go to. And no friends or family that I can look to for help. I put most of the money into fuel so I could get to work (which was in another town an hour away) and so began my new reality. That fuel in the car is still holding out (as I eek it out trying to warm up the car now and then during the night), I have not had any food in two days. And you really don't get much sleep in a car parked in Tim Horton's parking lot.

As I type this I am waiting for the date to change at the bank so I can access my paycheck. There probably won't be much left was the bank takes out their payments, but every little bit counts right now. It's not going to get a roof over my head but it will put some food in my belly and gas in the tank while I try and figure out the next step.

Before I end this for today let me be clear. My wife is not a monster and I am not without fault in this. I am afterall the cantankerous, crotchety old fart I claim to be.

There is something else. There is nothing in my mind that can be more demeaning than being a man having to go to the police saying "my wife beat the crap out of me." The professionals in the RCMP and victims services get nothing but kudos from me for the way they handled this. Thank you.

Read more from "Cantankerous Old Fart": here

It is not just about animal hoarding …

by Neo Chai Chin

SINGAPORE - The family shut the doors and windows of their HDB flat for five years when neighbours complained to the authorities about them rearing cats in 2005.

Then last June, the younger son of the family was spotted abandoning a cat.

The Cat Welfare Society (CWS) was tipped off and subsequently discovered more than 30 cats in the four-room flat in Tampines.

Some were underfed and in poor condition and it was apparent to CWS volunteers that the family could ill-afford to care for the cats properly.

Keeping animals without the ability to care for them adequately - this distinguishes animal hoarders from animal lovers with multiple pets, say animal welfare groups here.

Cats - which are not allowed to be kept in HDB flats - appear to be the most commonly hoarded creatures. The CWS encounters about one case each month - and the Tampines family's case is the most complicated one so far, said its president Fareena Omar.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) has encountered about 12 hoarding cases in the past two years, also of cats...." More

Animals Seized from Greene County Home

Feb 7, 2011: Animal hoarder sentenced to probation, counseling

by Kathryn Wall

Virginia Gambriel, the 63-year-old old woman who was convicted in January of 75 counts of animal abuse, was sentenced in Greene County court this morning.

Gambriel, who has a previous animal abuse conviction after 370 animals were removed from her Pleasant Hope home in August 2008, was given a one-year suspended jail sentence for the latest seizure in March.

Having the sentence suspended means she does not have to serve the time, unless she violates her probation. She was sentenced to two years of supervised probation.

Greene County authorities in the 2010 incident were serving a search warrant on what they thought was an abandoned home neighbors had reported was filled with animals when they found Gambriel and 75 animals—including 40 dogs, 13 cats, 10 rabbits, two doves, two turtles and a chinchilla.

Special conditions of Gambriel’s probation were that she can not be in control of any animals, she has to submit to random inspections, she has to get counseling for animal hoarding at her own expense and she has to pay $500 in restitution to the Humane Society of Missouri..." More

May 17, 2010: Woman suspected of hoarding animals in Polk County Jail for probation violation

The woman suspected of hoarding at least 75 animals in her Greene County home is behind bars after that incident lead to her probation in another case being revoked.

As a condition of a previous conviction, Virginia Gambriel was not allowed to own more than one dog, one cat or one bird.

According to online court documents, Gambriel admitted to violating her probation in that case.A judge revoked that probation. Now Gambriel will serve the 90 days of her original suspended sentence in Polk County jail for her previous conviction in another animal hoarding case.

She faced two separate court cases in that incident — one for animal abuse, which she pleaded guilty to in April, and another for child abuse.

Gambriel was found guilty by a jury back in November for the child abuse charge after another raid—this one on her farm in Pleasant Hope—where authorities found her grandchildren covered in insect bites and what appeared to be scabies and ringworm, according to court documents..." More

Apr 2, 2010: Report: Alleged animal hoarder had help


A woman who will soon go on trial for a 2008 animal abuse charge may have had help to allegedly hoard 75 animals seized Monday from a north Greene County home.

Search warrant documents obtained by the News-Leader list Virginia Gambriel -- charged in the August 2008 seizure of 370 malnourished animals from her Pleasant Hope farm -- as owner of the 75 animals taken this week.

Forty dogs, 13 cats, 10 rabbits, two doves, two turtles and a chinchilla were taken Monday from a house at 10081 N. Farm Road 165 -- less than 10 miles from the Pleasant Hope farm.

Three dead chinchillas were taken from the refrigerator Monday. A dead cat was also removed from a cage.


Records maintained by the Greene County Assessor's Office list the house as owned by Brady Gambriel of Bolivar.

According to the search warrant, a neighbor saw a man identified as Brady Gambriel and several women dropping animals off at the residence. The neighbor thought the house was abandoned and it has since been condemned..." More

Apr 2, 2010: Woman arrested in animal seizure jailed for violating probation in earlier case

A woman arrested during an animal seizure north of Springfield on Monday is in jail — but not in Greene County.

Polk County authorities arrested Virginia Gambriel, 63, on a warrant for probation violation this morning and were holding her without bond in the Polk County Jail.

Gambriel was on probation with a suspended jail sentence related to an October conviction on two counts of misdemeanor child endangerment.

The charges stemmed from an August 2008 raid on Gambriel’s farm near Pleasant Hope, where authorities seized about 370 malnourished animals and removed several of her grandchildren — described in court documents as covered in insect bites and what appeared to be scabies and ringworm.

Gambriel is due to stand trial May 5 on a dozen additional charges of animal abuse or neglect related to the 2008 raid.

Her probation in the child endangerment case included a provision barring her from keeping more than one dog, one cat and one bird.

Greene County Sheriff’s deputies serving a search warrant at what was thought to be an abandoned home at 10081 N. Farm Road 165 on Monday found Gambriel with a total of 75 living animals: 40 dogs, 13 cats, 10 rabbits, two doves, two turtles and a chinchilla.

Three dead chinchillas were found in a refrigerator and a dead cat removed, as well..." More

Mar 29, 2009: Animal Hoarder May Be Linked to Other Abuse Case

"People living near the home called authorities after seeing some suspicious activity over the last couple weeks. When sheriff's officials served the warrant and went inside, they found feces on the floor and carpet soaked in animal urine.

"We found horrible living conditions. This is clearly a case of hoarding. This individual is living in horrid conditions," explains Jeff McRoy, an animal cruelty investigator with the Missouri Humane Society.

Neighbors, who alerted authorities, say a couple would come to the house and drop off bins of food and water, even animals. But then they would leave...."
More & video

Mar 29, 2009: Animals Seized from Greene County Home

The Greene county sheriff's office says a 63 year old woman was arrested today (3-29) for suspicion of animal abuse may be connected to a similar case in Polk county.
Deputies joined the Humane Society of Missouri in a raid of a home on Farm Road 165 near Pleasant Hope.

They seized about 75 dogs, cats, rabbits and hamsters from the home.

One cat was found dead in a cage inside; a dozen dogs may have to be euthanized; and there was no food or water for the animals inside.

"We entered today we found horrible living conditions. This is clearly a case of hoarding. This individual is living in horrid conditions. There's feces all over the floor and urine soaked into the carpet, the whole place has got a lot of trash," said Jeff McRoy, of the Humane Society.

The woman has not been formally charged.

Greene county sheriff's captain Randy Gibson says they're investigating whether this case is related to a a seizure of dozens of animals in Pleasant Hope in Polk county in 2008..." More

Aug 2008: Parents are charged for kids' filthy conditions at homes in Polk County

by Linda Russell

A raid on July 24 on a property near Pleasant Hope has resulted in charges of child endangerment against three parents. On Aug. 12, a second raid at the same property rescued hundreds of animals that were malnourished, in poor health and kept in filthy conditions.

This week, the Polk County prosecuting attorney charged Julie Guthrie, 37, her husband, Kevin Guthrie, 32, and Janet Hall, 35, all of Pleasant Hope, with two counts each of endangering the welfare of a child. Last week, immediately after the second raid, Virginia Gambriel, the children's grandmother, also was charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child. Those charges were also based on the raid on July 24.

To read the charges and probable cause statements against the Guthries and Hall,
click here.
The raids were at the homes of Gambriel and the Guthries. Gambriel is the mother of Julie Guthrie and Janet Hall..."
More & videos

NY Bill Targets Hoarding - AB 191

A bill that is characterized as "anti-hoarding" has been introduced in theNew York legislature. AB 191 states, "Across the country, there is an increasing incidence of cases where large numbers of companion animals are seized from individuals who lack the ability to provide them with the basics of life - clean place to live, adequate food and water and
necessary veterinary care.

"The living conditions in many of these cases are not just marginal - frequently they fall well below accepted standards for either companion animals or human beings.

"Severe overcrowding, excessive feces, dirt, garbage, dangerous levels of ammonia from urine-saturated surfaces, animals that plainly suffer from parasite infestation, upper respiratory infections, and other ailments and owners or custodians that neither fully recognize nor are capable of remedying the situation."

"Sadly, these companion animal 'hoarding' cases are also frequently
accompanied by self neglect and neglect of other people living in the
household - particularly children and the elderly. When authorities do
intervene, the cost - in terms of both animal suffering and government
expenditure - is substantial. Animals removed from hoarding situations
are often too debilitated, sick or injured to be helped. When they are
able to be rehabilitated, the cost of housing, food and veterinary care
can be extremely high."

It is not clear that in all cases the hoarders "neither fully recognize nor are capable of remedying" the situation. Indeed, some appear to be malicious, narcissistic, and criminal in their attitude towards these animals. Either way, an anti-hoarding or strong animal cruelty law can prevent much suffering and prevent a reccurence.

What the bill would do

A 191 would create the crime of "companion animal hoarding". A person is guilty of "companion animal hoarding when he or she owns, possesses, or has custody of more companion animals than he or she can properly care for". This is defined as "more than twenty-five companion animals living in conditions that are likely to jeopardize the health and well being of the animals and/or human beings living in the house- hold as evidenced by:

(a) keeping the companion animals in a severely overcrowded living environment likely to endanger their health or safety;

(b) failure maintain his or her living environment in a sanitary condition such as to pose a serious risk to the health or safety of the companion animals and/or people living in that environment."

"Failure to provide a sufficiently sanitary living environment may be evidenced by conditions such as excessive feces, urine, dirt, garbage or a lack of basic services that make a home habitable such as heat, hot water, ventilation or electricity; and

"(c) the presence of companion animals that, without justification, have not received necessary veterinary treatment within a reasonable period of time."

A court must order a hoarder to undergo a mental health evaluation and, if appropriate, mental health treatment. The court may order the hoarder to stay away from animals for a period deemed reasonable.

Under current law the police or spca agents already have authority upon obtaining a search warrant, to seize animals "which for more than twelve successive hours has been confined or kept in a crowded or unhealthy condition or in unhealthful or unsanitary surroundings or not properly cared for or without necessary sustenance, food or drink". NY Ag & Mkts Sec. 373. There is no requirement to wait until the situation is as deteriorated or as abusive to animals as described in the bill. The animal cruelty laws including Sec. 373 would remain applicable.

It is important to keep abusers away from animals particularly in situations like this. For more on other states that permit or even require judges to order animal abusers to stay away from animals.... This bill also recognizes the importance of mental health evaluation and treatment in cases of hoarding. Go here for information about a WY anti-hoarding bill and anti-hoarding laws in Illinois and Hawaii. To prevent recividism, it would make sense to require the hoarder to submit to periodic inspections by animal control or the ocal health department.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

New Town Law Takes Aim at Controlling Cats

"...The law bans cats from causing a nuisance, which includes urinating in a neighbors yard or damaging property.

Owners of female cats must be extra cautious when their cat is in heat to ensure it doesn't run wild.

The law is being met with mixed reactions.

"I really like idea of cats being recognized as important enough to have laws about them," said Barbara Carr, Executive Director of the Erie County SPCA. "On the other hand, I'm not sure what this law is going to help with because cats are very hard to control."

The new regulations do not include licensing, and the number of cats a person is allowed to have will not be limited.

However, officials say they hope the law will help cut down on hoarding.

Repeat offenders will face a fine of about $150, and first-time offenders will pay a $75 fine.

It will go into effect next month...." More & video

Police arrest parents over death of OCD woman whose phobia of germs was so severe she showered for 20 HOURS a day

By Andy Dolan

An elderly couple have been arrested on suspicion of the manslaughter of their daughter who was so blighted by obsessive compulsive disorder she spent up to 20 hours a day in the shower.

Samantha Hancox, 40, was found dead in an armchair at the home she had hardly left in 18 years for fear of coming into contact with germs.

Her parents Ken and Marion Hancox dialled 999 but were later questioned for seven hours after being arrested and taken to a police station to be fingerprinted.

A post mortem examination revealed their daughter, their only child, died of dehydration and a skin infection.

Mr Hancox, 76, who has bone cancer, and his 77-year-old wife are on bail while further investigations take place into the death.

They told yesterday how their daughter, a former law student, suffered from acute obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) which left her a virtual recluse with a crippling phobia about germs.

As the condition took hold, Miss Hancox would wear socks on her hands which she scrubbed constantly. In her final years only her parents were allowed into the house to try to keep it germ-free..." More

Home found full of cat feces

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - A well-being check on a Fort Wayne home has triggered an investigation into the neglect and abuse of several cats.

Animal Care and Control and Code Enforcement were first called Thursday evening to check on a deceased woman’s pets. When they arrived, they found several cats inside and outside of the home located on Forest Ridge Drive off of Ardmore Avenue.

A neighbor told NewsChannel 15 that the woman who lived there had passed away last Saturday.

We spoke with Peggy Bender of Animal Care and Control about the conditions of the home, “The conditions inside the home were horrendous. There was a substantial amount of feces and urine. [They] were literally sinking into the floor as they were trying to enter.”...." More

Friday, February 4, 2011

New task force aims to fight hoarding

By Sarah Hollenbeck

From massive amounts of trash to abused animals, Lee County isn't immune to the compulsion known as hoarding. But now there's a new tool that is expected to help hoarders.

Officials with Lee County Animal Control say the inside of a Cape Coral home is enough to make your stomach turn.

They say the owner, who has a severe hoarding problem, was living with 10 dead cats and 70 more that are sick and skinny.

Had the owner not called 9-1-1 for medical help, she would still be living in filth.

Now, Animal Control and more than a dozen local agencies want to prevent hoarding cases from reaching a similar level..." More & video

Animal Hoarding Cases Reach Courtrooms Weekly

Cases involving large numbers of animals living in filthy homes reach central Ohio courtrooms every week, 10TV's Shayla Reaves reported Thursday.

Hoarding is an undercover addiction, with many animals found living in filthy homes, with limited space or food to eat.

Some cases date back to 2002, when 41 animals were removed from a Columbus home. In another case, 75 pets were removed.." More & photos

Carolyn McMullen - Washington

Bloggers note:

As my blog readers know I rarely offer any opinions or commentary on the stories linked within this blog. Recently however I was moved to respond after reading and watching the video regarding the McMullen family of Spokane, Washington...I encourage you to read and view all the links below before joining the discussion: here


Woman Defends Living Conditions Of Animals Seized By SCRAPS

Colleen O'Brien

SCRAPS and the Spokane County Sheriff Office seized 75 dead animals and 120 live animals ranging from chickens to cats and guinea pigs to rabbits from a Stateline home Saturday, but the owner and her neighbor are defending the conditions in which the animals lived.

SCRAPS received an anonymous tip that animals were living in deplorable conditions and weren't being fed at a home in the 6200 block of North Idaho Road; a home they were familiar with.Carol McMullen, 68, and her now 28-year-old son James McMullen have been accused of animal neglect before, charges that have resulted in jail time. cites a Spokesman Review article that lays out the multiple times officers have visited their home to take away severely neglected animals.

The cases date back to 2001, and in 2011 SCRAPS details the same type of neglect is going on at the house again with hundreds of animals. Goats, chickens, guinea pigs, rabbits, ducks, cats, and dogs were all taken from the home because they had not been given ample food or water..." More & video

Feb 1, 2011: Woman denies animal abuse allegations are true

NEWMAN LAKE, Wash. -- Animal control officers seized more than 100 animals from a farm off North Idaho Road in Newman Lake, Washington Saturday. SCRAPS said they were emaciated and living in poor conditions.

Records show SCRAPS took dozens of animals from Carolyn McMullen in 2004. Neighbors said they were not surprised to hear of the new allegations of animal abuse. Carolyn's son, James, said the family pleaded guilty to 13 misdemeanors as part of a plea deal. But the family denies any truth of recent allegations of animal abuse and neglect.

James said his mother did take care of each animal.

"There's nothing wrong. Everyone was healthy, proper pens, ducks were running free, enough food for them," said James.

SCRAPS agents tell KREM 2 News Carolyn was not providing proper food, water, or living conditions for all the animals. Among the 120 animals recovered, workers also found roughly 75 dead animals including rabbits and guinea pigs. Charges for the alleged neglect and abuse have yet to be filed. Agents are still poring over evidence.." More

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Codes officer wants South Knoxville house torn down after hoarding


KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Senior codes enforcement officers in Knoxville say they are tired of seeing garbage and dilapidated properties so they are taking a tough stance.

Codes Officer George Aubuchon is pretty laid back, but he's done playing Mr. Nice Guy to property owners who violate codes.

"We try to inform them. It's when they don't follow up after being informed of the violation that we have a problem," Aubuchon said.

Problems and repeated code violations are often solved by a summons to court.

Aubuchon researched a house in South Knoxville on Neubert Springs Road on Tuesday. The house was part of an animal control bust in April 2010.

More than 70 dogs were removed and the occupants, a brother and sister named Glenda Marie Cagle and James Edward Cagle were arrested. The Cagles later pleaded guilty to aggravated cruelty to animals..." More & video

Nearly 100 animals seized, activist want stricter laws.

MERIDIAN - Animal rights activists are asking for stricter animal cruelty laws after nearly a hundred animals were seized form a home in Payette County.

"These are two more over here," said Debbie Vance, Director of Shelter at the Idaho Humane Society.

Vance has since taken charge of some of the animals who are staying at the Rescue Ranch in Meridian.

"They need special feed. They need special care and the grace of God. There's no guarantee they'll survive, but we'll do our best," she said.

One horse didn't make it.

"There has to be something to protect the animals before they get this far down the road," said State Representative Vander Woude of Kuna..." More

Hoarding probed after 300 animals survive fire

FENELON FALLS, ONT. When firefighters crawled into the smoke pouring from a burning house in central Ontario, they were shocked to find dozens of frightened animals scampering underneath and overtop of them to escape.

It took less than 15 minutes to put out the fire in Fenelon Falls. What remained was an overwhelming stench and about 300 pets that had to be moved to safety, a task that took more than eight hours.

“It irritated a number of us that this condition was allowed to exist,” Patrick Twohey, deputy chief of the Kawartha Lakes fire department, said Monday.

“Obviously it had fallen through the cracks. Why, in a residential area, are these many animals housed in one home?”

Fire officials say they found 38 cats, four dogs, 100 birds and numerous rats, gerbils, hamsters and rabbits in the one-storey Queen Street home Saturday afternoon..." More