Saturday, April 30, 2011

50 cats removed from Oatman home


OATMAN — Mohave County Animal Control removed 50 cats, most of them juveniles, from an Oatman residence Wednesday morning following a rare example of an animal hoarder realizing she was in over her head.

According to Mohave County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Trish Carter, the cats were removed from a house in the 10 block of Beacon Hill Road following a neighbor’s complaint.

Unlike many suspected cases of animal hoarding, however, Carter said the owner of the house was conciliatory to animal control and admitted she had been having increasing difficulty taking care of the cats as they had litter after litter of kittens.

“On the initial call, the animal control officer thought it was just cats roaming freely, but as he gave it more thought, he contacted the owner and the owner admitted she had a problem and the cats had become overwhelming,” Carter said. “She’s not characterized as your normal type of hoarder. Hoarders generally think they’ve got everything under control and they’re doing a good job. This woman knew she had a problem and apparently she had been asking for help.”.."

Problem Solver: Experts to offer information on animal hoarding at Dallas conference


Katie Fairbank

Linda Ross, who is director of the Elder Support program at Senior Source, read a recent column I wrote about a woman who came to Problem Solver after trying - and failing - to help a large number of strays. The case -- involving 1 cat, 20 dogs and 24 puppies -- is currently awaiting a judge's decision on an appeal.

"The issues that the story brings to mind speak to many challenges in our city and world," she wrote the newspaper. "The topic of hoarding (animal or otherwise) is one of great concern to many of us."

Ross encounters hoarding in her job, but she also recently was personally involved as a volunteer during a rescue of a large number of Border Collies from a hoarding situation.

A continuing education class on the subject is scheduled on May 24. It is offfered to family members dealing with the problem, geriatric care specialists, law enforcement officers and social workers..." More

Signs and symptoms of hoarding

erhaps because of the popular A&E documentary series “Hoarders,” more and more people have grown aware of the problem of hoarding in recent years. Though nearly everyone can point to at least one person in their life who never seems to throw anything away, when such behavior becomes compulsive, chances are the person perpetrating the behavior is a hoarder.

While it can be difficult to determine if you or someone you know has crossed the line from pack rat to hoarder, there are certain indicators that can help make that determination.

• The love of acquisition. According to Randy Frost, Ph.D., Israel Professor of psychology at Smith College in Northampton, Mass., hoarders genuinely love to acquire things, regardless of how valuable, or invaluable, the acquisition may be. All objects are treasured, be it free items or items that had to be purchased. What’s more, the items kept often appear inconsequential to outside observers, such as old magazines or newspapers that mention nothing about the hoarder or anyone they know..." More

Santa Barbara expert panel talks about the dangers of compulsive hoarding


Compulsive hoarding is a national epidemic that affects more than $2 million people in the United States, according to mental health groups.

A panel of experts gathered on Thursday to raise awareness and educate local human service professionals about the social and political issues related to hoarding.

The workshop called “Collecting, Cluttering & Hoarding: When is hoarding a lease, sanity code, or fire violation?” was presented by ServiceMaster Anytime in Goleta.

ServiceMaster Anytime is a residential and commercial sanitation company that has worked extensively with the disposal and Disaster Restoration needs of the Santa Barbara area since 1965.

“Our company has done this kind of cleaning for hoarders for decades, but back then we never had the term for it,” said Justin Haagen, the workshop organizer for ServiceMaster.

Hoarding is an obsessive-compulsive mental health disorder in which a person acquires too many possessions and has persistent difficulty discarding them even when the items are no longer useful..." More

Animal lovers team up to fight animal hoarding in Arizona

CHANDLER, AZ - Animal lovers from across Arizona teamed up today to help fight animal hoarding in the state.

“I love animals,” said Melody Hodges who volunteers to help several animal organizations.

She was at a conference in Chandler on Saturday with several dozen other animal lovers to learn more about animal hoarding.

It’s considered a growing problem across the country, partly because of awareness and partly because of issues like addiction and obsessive-compulsive behavior.

There have been several cases across Arizona lately including one just a few weeks ago where 25 cats were found in one small apartment.

“We are realizing these people aren’t helping the animals, they are hurting the animals,” said Kari Neinstedt, the Arizona State Director of The Humane Society of the United States..." More

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Fort Worth Humane Society Burdened by 79 Seized Snakes

The Humane Society of North Texas (HSNT) is stuck with dozens of snakes that it says it can't afford to take care of. So, it's asking for the community's help.

The Wood County Sheriff's Office seized 79 snakes as part of an animal abuse case in east Texas. It says they were raised by David Beauchemin, a fugitive snake breeder from Louisiana. He is currently being held in the Wood County Jail.

Deputies found the snakes severly dehydrated and malnourished last week. Now, they're in Fort Worth, until the breeder has his day in court.

"It seems like problems with exotic animals are on the rise," said Tammy Hawley, the operations director at HSNT.
In a room built for housing exotic animals, HSNT is full of more snakes than it's ever had. Staff are still shaking their heads in disbelief..."

Taxpayers may have to foot the bill for some good intentioned animal lovers

Reporter: Amanda Perez

BELVEDERE, S.C.---Animal Control has seized dozens of cats and several dogs from one Aiken County woman's home. Officials say, may times, taxpayers end up absorbing the costs if homeowners can't pay the fees.

Earlier this week, animal control says more than 70 cats and five dogs were taken from a home on Audobon Circle. This is not the homeowners' first run-in with the law over animal issues. Sandy Larsen works with Animal Control and understands people's love for animals. "Their heart is in the right place because there's so many stray animal," she says. But with 16 years at the Aiken Animal Shelter, she says the biggest problem she's seen is many people who bring in stray cats don't get them neutered. Strays can quickly multiply, and the Shelter has limited space and a limited budget. "If one animal gets an upper respiratory then it's airborne and another animal will get it. If they are sick, we are unable to take them because of the contagiousness. We could have an epidemic here at the shelter.".." More

Suburban Lake Worth man found guilty of cruelty to animals

— A jury Wednesday found a suburban Lake Worth man guilty of cruelty to animals.

Scott Kipp, one time owner of Kipp's K9s on the 2100 block of Second Avenue North, was arrested in 2009 after Palm Beach County sheriff's deputies and members of Animal Care and Control found a puppy mill with animals in deplorable conditions.

Some dogs were laying in a puddle of what looked like urine and some puppies were unresponsive when officers touched them, according to a sheriff's office report. Many of the dogs did not seem used to human touch and would quiver and drop to the ground when officers touched them.

Animal Care and Control seized 23 of Kipp's dogs..." More

Mary Port - St. Johns, Arizona

Apr 28, 2011: Judge takes animals from hoarder

APACHE COUNTY - It took two months to organize the rescue of 230 animals on March 23 and it's taken another month to decide the fate of those animals.

After a day-long hearing, April 15, Judge Butch Gunnels issued his ruling on Monday, April 18. "...the State has met the burden of proof ... all animals seized that belong to Mary Port (will) be forfeited," said the order.

A delay in the hearing resulted from the defendant's search for an attorney to represent her.

Michael Penrod from the Wood Law Office represented Port and Allan Perkins was the prosecutor from the County Attorney's Office.

Sgt. Lance Spivey from the Sheriff's Office was the investigating officer and a witness for the State along with Adam Parascandola, Director of Animal Cruelty Issues for the Humane Society of the United States, and veterinarian Dr. Abby Reidhead.

The witnesses were all present at the rescue operation that took two days to remove the 201 dogs, 26 cats, two geese and one pig. They testified to the conditions found at the 40-acre property in Witch Well Ranches north of St. Johns..." More

Apr 22, 2011: 229 pets seized from Simla animal rescuer who moved to Arizona

Eighty-one pets that were rescued from an Arizona animal hoarder arrived in Denver early this morning.

On March 23, 200 dogs, 26 cats, two geese and one pig were removed from an 40-acre property in eastern Arizona, according to a news release from the Dumb Friends League.

The Humane Society of the United States helped the Apache County Sheriff's Department remove the animals from the property.

Most of the dogs removed from the property are hounds, shepherds, husky and retrievers. The dogs were living in dilapidated outdoor pens filled with feces. Several dogs had open wounds, mange, malnourishment and dirty matted coats.

All the animals were taken to an emergency shelter in St. Johns, Ariz., where they treated by veterinarians.

Investigators learned that the animals' owner, Mary Port, 86, previously lived in Simla and ran the Colorado Animal Refuge. She now faces animal cruelty charges.

Port left Colorado after she was issued a cease and desist order, demanding that she provide proper care and sanitary living conditions for the animals on her property..." More

Mar 24, 2011: Hundreds of pets rescued in St. Johns as owner faces animal hoarding

by Alicia E. BarrĂ³n

ST. JOHNS, Ariz. – Apache County sheriff's deputies arrested an elderly woman and two men for alleged animal cruelty and animal hoarding in eastern Ar

Approximately 200 dogs, 50 cats and several chickens, ducks and pigs were rescued from a 40-acre property in Witch Wells near St. Johns on Wednesday afternoon.

The woman arrested, identified as 86-year-old Mary Port, is reportedly a repeat offender. Investigators say she had similar problems with the law when she lived in Colorado before moving to Arizona.

The Humane Society of the United States and United Animal Nations have built a temporary shelter for the dozens of animals roaming the property.

Some animals were loose while others were in crowded and dirty pens. There was no food or water available to the animals.

Some animals were underweight and had skin problems, among other ailments.

Investigators say that as Port was being arrested she told them the animals were her life.

Port is being held in Apache County and faces charges of animal cruelty and neglect.

Two men who were on the property at the time the search warrant was served were also taken into custody. They have been identified as Joshua Davis, 49, and Wayne Miller, 53..."

Animals Seized In Hoarding Case Up For Adoption

Residents in Marion County have the chance to adopt dozens of different kinds of animals Thursday afternoon. Animal Services found nearly 50 animals, including goats and donkeys, in February living in horrid conditions in Dunnellon.

AT THE SCENE: Images Of Rescued Animals
DONATE: Marion County Animal Center

The animals were rescued from an RV and a van.

People were lining up for the animals Thursday. Some people had been at the Marion County Animal Center (see map) since 7:00am, adopting goats, donkeys, dogs and cats.

Police said their previous owners, 67-year-old Penelope Walker and her 44-year-old daughter, Gina Walker, were hoarding them; the animals were living in deplorable conditions and in their own filth. They were emaciated and had matted fur.

There were 12 dead animals in the RV. One dog was so sick that it had to be put down..." More

Pet shop owner charged with cruelty, diseased animals seized

WAPPINGERS FALLS – Armed with a search warrant, Dutchess County SPCA humane law officers Monday arrested the owner and an employee of Puppies and Kittens pet store in Wappingers Falls and seized 10 unhealthy puppies.

This arrest comes almost a month after SPCA officers seized an 11-week-old Yorkshire Terrier from the same store.

In February, officers executed a search warrant in Pet Fashions pet store in the Poughkeepsie Galleria and seized seven unhealthy puppies, charging the owner and employees of that store with 66 counts of similar charges, some felonies..."

34 animals, mostly dogs, seized in Lamont cruelty investigation

LAMONT, Calif. — Thirty-four animals were seized Wednesday morning as a woman was arrested for alleged cruelty.

Kern County Animal Control officers, with the assistance of sheriff's deputies, served a search warrant at a home on the 14000 block of Weedpatch Highway. There, they found one rooster, two hens, two cats and 29 dogs living in unsatisfactory conditions.

All of the animals are now under medical evaluation.

Yvonne Harris, aka Yvonne Dunlap, was arrested on suspicion of felony crimes against animals..."

45 cats found in Punta Gorda home

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - The National Humane Society in Tampa has taken in more than two dozen cats after helping the television show "Confessions: Animal Hoarding" shoot an episode in Florida.

Now the agency is looking for help from animal lovers. Officials are looking for homes for the cats and kittens, and for food.

Carol Childs of the Humane Society says the emergency response team went to Punta Gorda on Monday to help Animal Planet videotape a show that will air in the next two months. She says there are still about 15 adult cats left in the house that they hope to bring to Tampa later this week.." More

Everything Animals: Animal hoarding

Animal hoarding is a tragic practice and one that's very common.

"They don't see these animals as suffering. They see these animals as things to collect," says Dr. Peggy Larson.

Larson is the former Vermont State Veterinarian. She's also a lawyer who's seen many animal hoarding and cruelty cases cross her desk.

"The hoarder becomes consumed with the animals they're collecting. You can't make them stop. It's a repetitive behavior. They'll collect and collect," she says.

Hoarding of any kind is described as a compulsive need to collect and accumulate things, be it objects or animals, and the inability to throw anything away. While there are different theories as to what causes people to become hoarders, Larson likens it to obsessive/compulsive disorder as well as drug addiction.

"They'll say smaller numbers than what they have, and they'll tell you anything they think they can get by with because they have to protect their addiction."

In the case of Cynthia Erlandsson, the 58-year-old woman who allegedly abandoned 42 cats in her South Ryegate home, Vermont Volunteer Services for Animals director Sue Skaskiw says the state of the house shows Erlandsson is a classic hoarder..." More & video

Hoarding: When stacks of stuff are only a symptom


Most neighbors knew the house at 23 Lorelei Drive. It had belonged to Lori Madden, who worked for the post office in Providence.

North Kingstown officials knew her as a hoarder and for years had been after her to deal with the trash that piled up in her house and yard. Madden tried to clean up, but the trash and squalor got so overwhelming that Building Official Gary Tedeschi wanted to raze the house.

He decided against it after Madden was reported missing in June 2008. When she could not be found, a relative sold the house to a neighbor.

On March 16, 2009, Robert Fuller and Jared Smith were cleaning out the house, standing amid piles of trash five feet high, when Fuller grabbed a pile of clothes to throw into a garbage can — and saw, hanging from the sleeve of a black sweater, a bone with a hand attached.

Madden was dead, buried under the trash. The medical examiner was never able to figure out what had killed her..." More & video

Special Report: Hoarding In Iowa, Part I

Researchers said hoarding affects 2 million Americans, and Iowa is not immune to the problem.

The gatherings, the garbage and the guilt accumulates.

Tina, a Des Moines resident requesting anonymity, said her mother has for years battled an irresistible urge to collect.

"I can see it, I can smell it. There's an issue. But to her, there is no issue. That's the way she lives," said Tina. "It got so bad, she was spending her entire paycheck on stuff."

The city of Des Moines is now battling the problem full time.

Ben Bishop is the administrator of Des Moines' Neighborhood Inspection Division.

"They know they have an issue, but they're afraid to get help. They're comfortable with the way their life is, and they don't want it interrupted," said Bishop. "We've seen stuff virtually counter-high in the kitchen. And the whole house is full of garbage and feces and junk."..." More & video

Monday, April 25, 2011

Help at last for two-hundred neglected pets

PORT ST. LUCIE- State and local investigators are still working out what happened at the Sanctuary Animal Refuge in Port St. Lucie. Some animal rescuers from our area have seen deplorable conditions before, but they say this is as bad as it gets, describing the situation as, "one of the worst cases of animal cruelty and hoarding ever seen."

Some animals were found dead when authorities busted the Sanctuary Animal Refuge last week. Rescuers say even more were found with diseases such as mange, while others had eye infections and tumors.

Officers say only two workers were caring for all of the nearly two-hundred animals on this property in Western St. Lucie County off of Carlton Road. Even with more workers there were just too many animals on the property..." More

Animal cruelty investigators rescue 7 puppies

Laura Sharp

On April 21, Animal Cruelty Investigators from the Blount County Humane Society responded to a call from a small neighborhood in Walland, TN. Neighbors reported that there were several dogs running loose in the woods and on a nearby property. When investigators arrived along with law enforcement officers, they discovered 15-18 dogs, including three or four pregnant females plus seven puppies. Most of the dogs are black Labrador Retrievers. Some of the dogs are yellow Labs and others are mixed-perhaps from inbreeding.

Investigators believe that this is a case of animal hoarding/breeding. Investigators found that the owners abandoned the property and left the dogs. There are two mobile homes on the property. One home appears to have been used to keep the dogs inside and is filled with animal feces and filth. It has severe damage inside from what appears to be the animals' attempts to escape. The floors in the other home are also covered with animal feces and filth. The dogs had sought shelter underneath the trailers.." More

    Saturday, April 23, 2011


    nimal Advocates of Arizona is pleased to present the 2011 C.A.R.E. CONFERENCE: Inside the World of Animal Hoarding.

    Join Animal Advocates at
    Noah's of Chandler to hear their special panel of speakers discussing this growing crisis and learn how we can all help the defenseless victims of animal hoarding: the animals.

    • Gain a deeper knowledge base about this growing and tragic phenomenon.
    • Get answers directly from law enforcement and prosecution sectors.
    • Delve into the workings of investigations & subsequent rescue of animal victims reported as being severely neglected, malnourished & in desperate need of vet care.
    • Receive resources available to the community on what it takes to report an animal hoarding incident.

    The conference will be moderated by Roger Baker of Animal Advocacy. Its distinguished panel of speakers includes Kari Nienstedt, the Arizona State Director of The Humane Society of the United States, who played an integral part in the
    Witch Wells, Arizona, effort where 200+ animals were taken into rescue from one property.

    “Animals kept in hoarding situations typically live in deplorable conditions and suffer extreme neglect, including from lack of food and proper veterinary care,” Nienstedt said. “Animal hoarding is recognized as a mental health issue. Continued law enforcement oversight, and psychological intervention when possible, should be part of any plan to address a hoarding situation."..." More

    Police finds 49 cats, fatally injured man in Vancouver Island home

    The B.C. SPCA is seeking homes for 49 cats rescued in one of the "saddest and most disturbing cases of animal hoarding" officers say they've seen.

    The cats were found when police attended an elderly couple's home in Cowichan, B.C., on April 18 after a 911 call from a woman in her 80s.

    They found a man, also in his 80s, lying on the floor suffering injuries. It is believed he lay for several days before the woman called. He later died in hospital. Foul play is not suspected, and the woman is being treated for dementia at a care home.

    "How this poor couple and all of these cats survived in the extreme filth and stench of that home is incomprehensible," said Sandi Trent with the Cowichan SPCA.

    "There were massive piles of cat feces everywhere and the kitchen sink had backed up and flooded the rooms, adding to the unbearable odour."

    SPCA Const. Dale Bakken said the 49 cats are in remarkably good condition given their ordeal..." More

    Ex-renter sought in cat hoarding at N. Philly rowhouse


    Two upstairs windows in a rowhouse where a man was hoarding sick and dead cats were briefly open last night, venting the smell of cat feces and urine along 12th Street near Jefferson in North Philadelphia.

    The man, who had been renting a room in the house, will likely face animal-cruelty charges after 29 cats - 17 of which were dead - were removed from his quarters.

    Officials said the man, who was in his 30s and had not been located as of last night, had been renting the room for about six years before the landlord evicted him about a month ago.

    The landlord eventually noticed a smell wafting from the room after the renter was put out, and called the Pennsylvania SPCA.

    When investigators entered the room yesterday, they found cat feces and urine along with a few of his personal items, and a small refrigerator and freezer where he had stored the 17 carcasses, Wendy Marano, PSPCA spokeswoman, said.

    "The small room and conditions these cats were living in was unbelievable," said George Bengal, director of Humane Law Enforcement for the Pennsylvania SPCA. "This is definitely one of the more bizarre cases we've seen."..." More

    Thursday, April 21, 2011

    Animal 'Hoarding' Often Tied to Mental Illness

    A small army of animal welfare workers spent nearly 10 hours removing hundreds of sick and dying animals from a rural North Carolina property in one of the United States' larger animal-hoarding cases.

    More than 400 animals -- 17 species in all, ranging from ducks and rabbits to dogs and cats -- had been living in squalor with a middle-aged couple claiming to be animal rescuers. Yet these would-be saviors provided little, if any, food, water, or medical care.

    "Every section of the property inspected was just more deplorable and just more hideous than the last one," recalled Shelley Swaim, an animal welfare inspector for the state, who was on the scene that day three years ago.

    Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of cases of animal hoarding are believed to occur each year throughout the nation. While hoarders tend to be women, the compulsion to possess large numbers of animals beyond the ability to properly care for them crosses all age, gender, professional and financial boundaries.

    Some of these hoarders suffer from significant mental health issues, and the phenomenon is as much a people problem as a pet problem.

    The Animal Legal Defense Fund, a California-based animal rights law organization, believes hoarding is the number-one crisis facing companion animals today because of the sheer number of animals affected (an estimated 250,000 annually) and the degree and duration of their suffering..." More

    SPCA rescues animals from East Concord home

    By: Teresa Nagel

    On the morning of April 13, an anonymous phone call reporting animal cruelty led SPCA officers, joined by the local sheriff’s department, to an East Concord residence. Upon arrival, the officers found what they called “deplorable living conditions” for 101 animals living inside the home and attached garage. Among these were 75 chickens, 15 cats, six dogs, two ducks, two geese and one pigeon.

    One officer reported that the feces in the home was piled so high that the animals had to tunnel through to get from one place to the next. Although all of the animals were alive, every one of the cats showed visible signs of upper respiratory problems because of their living conditions.

    The animals were taken to the local SPCA, where they are currently being held. The owner, an elderly woman, has been given the opportunity to surrender the animals. Should she agree, she may be cleared of all charges..."

    Diane Cowling - Washington

    Apr 21, 2011: Diane Cowling, Convicted Animal "House of

    Horrors" Hoarder, Found Dead in Jail Cell

    Diane Cowling was only a few weeks away from being sentenced (likely to one year in jail) for hoarding dozens of cats and dogs inside her Granite Falls home, which turned into what police described as a "house of horrors" when 30 of the animals died of starvation. Cowling won't be sentenced anymore. She's dead.

    She was found dead in her Snohomish County Jail cell last night.

    No reason has yet been given for her death, and an autopsy is being performed.

    She was 66 years old and supposedly suffered from mental illness..." More & video from Jan 2011

    Jan 24, 2011: 2 arrested in animal cruelty case, 3 more animals found

    GRANITE FALLS, Wash. -- Three animals were found living with the mother and son accused of dozens of cases of animal cruelty.

    Police arrested Diane Cowling, 65, and her 36-year-old son, Michael Cowling, on Monday morning and got another surprise -- three more animals were living with the Cowlings at their new apartment. Among them was a puppy no more than 2 months old.

    The animals were taken to Pasado's Safe Haven for evaluation. All three appeared to have been well-fed.

    But such wasn't the case when investigators searched the Cowlings' foreclosed home over the weekend. Even seasoned investigators were hocked at what they found.

    Inside the home strewn with feces and garbage were 31 dead animals -- 28 cats, two dogs and an animal that had been dead so long that investigators could not tell what it was..." More

    Jan 22, 2011: 31 pets found dead in Granite Falls horror house

    A mother and son are under investigation for animal cruelty after 28 cats and three dogs were found dead Saturday in a foreclosed home strewn with feces and garbage, officials said.

    Granite Falls Police Chief Dennis Taylor called the horrific scene "one of the most deplorable situations" he has ever had to deal with in his law enforcement career.

    Three emaciated cats were found barely alive inside the squalid home and were taken to a local animal sanctuary.

    Police said the 65-year-old previous homeowner had lived in the home with her 36-year-old son, but they had moved out a few weeks or months ago after the home went into foreclosure.

    The son told police that they had ran out of money to care for the animals and did not know what to do..." More