Friday, July 29, 2011

60 animals seized from elderly Abbotsford pet hoarder

What gets buried: the impact of compulsive hoarding on children

Television programs like A&E’s "Hoarders" and Discovery Channel's "Hoarding: Buried Alive" have thrown the reality of hoarding into sharp relief.

The mental illness is thought to be related to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and makes it difficult for a person to determine what's valuable and what isn't. Hoarding affects entire families, forcing the children of hoarders to keep secrets about their parent's debilitating compulsion. Many children also fear becoming hoarders themselves.

Holly Sabiston grew up with a mother who compulsively shopped and hoarded so much that the family had to take out three mortgages on their 3000 sq. ft. home in Kansas City. Sabiston told Here & Now's Monica Brady-Myerov that her mother was terrified of others learning about her illness. On the rare occasion that friends or family were invited to Sabiston's childhood home, the family had to shift and hide the overwhelming piles of possesions behind closed doors--a process experts call "churning."

"It was definitely a secret," she said, "There were only a few friends who got to see the inside of the house."..." More

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What Drives People To Hoard Animals?

Hoarding is a very serious psychological issue. A lot of us can't understand how people can live that way.

But we've seen a number of cases of animal hoarding in the past few weeks in spots all over the area, from South Philadelphia to Upper Darby.

Cats, dogs, other pets all involved in these cases.

Sometimes, as in last night's case, more exotic, unusual creatures are involved, like as alligator and iguanas.

A search warrant for a home on the 900 block of Shunk Street was issued after the homeowner, a man believed to be about 60 years old, was picked up by police out in front of the house- naked.

Inside this makeshift zoo were two dozen animals, more than half of which were already dead or died overnight.

The roster included everything from cat and dog, to turtles and a tarantula...

The surviving critters included a pair of white rats, a couple of turtles and two roosters.

Clinical psychologist Dr. Marla Deibler says hoarding is a very real disorder and that animal hoarding often follows other addictive collecting. .."

Prince William County forms hoarding task force


Anywhere from 8,000 to 20,000 Prince William County residents could be hoarders, said Neighborhood Services Coordinator Patricia Reilly.

And because there are varying degrees of hoarding, public safety and other issues could arise if the problem goes unchecked.

With that in mind, the county has created a hoarding task force. The task force is made up of various county departments and agencies like Neighborhood Services, Fire & Rescue Department, the Community Services Board and the Health and Social Services Departments.

The taskforce has met twice this year and will likely continue to meet periodically to further define the issue of hoarding and how to combat it, said Reilly. Reilly said the ultimate goal is to educate the public about “what is acceptable and what is not acceptable” and provide them resources to help themselves or their loved ones..." More

Philly's Rash of Animal Hoarding Cases

By Joe Hyer

The animal hoarding cases in Philadelphia have been on the rise this summer and there is a reason for the uptick.

"What once used to be considered kind of an eccentric person who was a collector of animals, people are recognizing it's a real problem," according to Susan Cosby, CEO of the Pennsylvania SPCA.

The PSPCA has responded to four fairly large cases of hoarding since July 12 in Philadelphia, some with exotic animals like alligators, turtles and iguanas. Cosby says TV shows, like A & E's Hoarders, have alerted people to the problem, so more cases are being reported.

University of Pennsylvania Psychiatrist Dr. Mahendra Bhati is studying animal hoarders.

"The interesting thing about people who have hoarding disorders is that they more often than not have other psychiatric disorders," he said. "These are people who cannot tolerate, or are not capable of normal human interaction and as a result, they start to accumulate these animals, which are very reliable companions."..." More & video

Woman lived with thousands of rats in animal hoarding case

by Alicia E. BarrĂ³n

Animal hoarding is on the rise in Arizona and while it's usually dogs or cats that people collect in large numbers, one woman's love for rats led her to keeping thousands of them in her home.

It happened in Coconino County and while health officials won't name the woman involved, they say she had thousands of pet rats in her home, each one with its own special name.

"She knew that it had gotten out of control but she could not bring herself to deal with it,” Marlene Gaither says.

She is talking about thousands of rats a Coconino County woman called family. Gaither is with the Coconino County Public Health Services District and talked about the unusual case at a seminar at Arizona State University Wednesday. .." More & video

Trash Piled Almost To Ceiling In Animal-Hoarding Case, Agents Say


Humane agents say a brother and a sister are accused of hoarding sick animals in Washington Court House.

Animal-abuse investigators responded to a home in the 630 block of South Fayette Street in WashingtonCourt House Wednesday.

Agents told NBC4 they discovered dozens of animals living in their own filth as well as piles of trash stacked almost up to the ceiling.

"The smell about knocked you out. Your eyes immediately started to burn. Your lungs burned. It smelled very much like ammonia," said Humane Agent Danyel Bageant.

Inside the home, rescuers found a dog and 21 cats.

The cats were stuffed into tiny carriers, forced to live in their own urine and feces..." More & video

Monday, July 25, 2011

In Behalf of Animals

By Patrick J. Battuello

An Albany Hoarder

In Animal Hoarding, Cats on July 17, 2011 at 7:13 pm

The Times Union reports (8/18/10) that scores of cats (and two dogs) have been rescued from an Arbor Hill home by a group of activists. The mission was executed in direct violation of Albany law, as the building had been condemned on July 21st. In addition to the 20 cats first retrieved by animal control officers, the band of volunteers were able to trap another 70 or so. Less than 10 are considered feral (wild cats with domesticated roots). The former tenant, described as helpful by a rescuer, knew the cats’ names and origins. The animals are being treated and readied for adoption.

But what exactly is the larger point of the TU article? To fete an act of civil disobedience? To remind us of urban blight’s ugliness? A decaying 820-square-foot den with over 90 animals living in squalor and not one reference to hoarding and the criminal/moral implications thereof? Collecting Animals is a grave psychological/sociological problem that is only recently receiving attention from scientists, government agencies, and mainstream media.

How does one accumulate a giant mass of suffering animals under the collective nose of neighbors, the landlord, and the city? I briefly owned an apartment in Albany, and my building was meticulously inspected by three firefighters (with the smallest of infractions duly noted). The TU describes a “filthy interior, which included large cages stacked about the living area and thickly matted with cat hair and other debris.” A volunteer remarked: (CBS 6) “I personally walked through the house… there were cats in rafters trying to seek safety from the inches of feces on the floor. Thousands of flies swirled around and the stench was suffocating, even with a mask. [There were] discarded containers of empty cat litter, litter boxes overflowing with excrement. No water bowls, no food bowls, just scared and sick animals trying to survive.”..." More

Is ‘no-kill' movement leading to more cat hoarding?

By Cindy Swirko

The photos on the Haven Acres Cat Sanctuary website are idyllic — cats in large open-air enclosures with plenty of room, close-ups of adorable kittens.

And the words also tugged at the heart — "Haven Acres Cat Sanctuary is a private, no kill animal shelter ..."

But the website also pulled a cover over reality: Haven Acres kept hundreds of cat in deplorable conditions that left some dead and many more sick.

Experts say the "no-kill" movement is increasingly being exploited by hoarders who take in far more animals than they can handle, including many from people who think the animals they're handing over will live out their lives in heaven but actually end up in a living hell.

"If I was going to design a prison for bad cats, it would look like a lot of these sanctuaries, with poor housing, no protection for them to express their normal behavior or to be healthy," said Julie Levy, a University of Florida veterinary professor who specializes in cats. "I think this is an emergency situation in animal welfare because it appears to be growing. In some ways, the use of terminology like ‘no kill' is contributing to this. In a way, I feel like these groups are stealing the no-kill movement. They are exploiting the terminology."..." More

DA files two more cruelty charges against horse owner

By Sharon Dunn

A rural Evans man charged with cruelty to animals after authorities seized 12 horses from his property in late June is now facing nine total charges.

Jose Louis Meza-Franco, 33, was facing seven misdemeanor charges, each punishable by six to 18 months in the Weld County Jail upon a conviction.

The Weld District Attorney this week filed an additional two charges of misdemeanor animal cruelty. He is set to return to court with his attorney at 10:30 a.m. Aug. 18.

Weld County Court Judge Dana Nichols on Monday ordered Meza-Franco, through a court interpreter, to pay $1,220 in the next 10 days to cover the cost of care and hauling the animals since they were seized on June 28. That, however, will only be good until Thursday, after which he will have 10 days to pay $1,050 for the cost of the horses’ daily care for the next 30 days.

He has yet to post that initial bond, according to court records, but his time is not yet up.

Authorities said the animals had some ribs showing and some had other ailments because of injuries or disease, when they were seized. Authorities said some horses were standing in their own feces and urine in small, enclosed corrals with no light. .."

Norfolk SPCA takes 90 animals seized in N.C. raid

By Jennifer Jiggetts

The Norfolk Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is taking care of 90 animals that were rescued from a rural North Carolina property mill Thursday.

The animals, including 80 dogs, five cats and four rabbits, were rescued from the property near Hertford, N.C., according to a news release from The Humane Society..." More

200 Rabbits Seized In Animal Abuse Investigation

Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputies seized 200 rabbits after they received a tip on a new animal abuse hotline. Investigators found the animals at Six Bells Farm, located at 75th and Alkire in Jefferson County, on Thursday afternoon.

Deputies said the animals didn’t have food or water, had matted hair and were kept in cages that appeared to have not been cleaned in weeks.

A neighbor said the owner, Debbie Bell, is a breeder, not a hoarder. Investigators said she isn’t a licensed breeder.

“I don’t think she would do anything to compromise the health of her animals. She’s put a lot of money and investment into them,” said Bell’s neighbor Jenny Ridgley.

“Anybody thinking logically would understand that keeping animals that are cramped together in conditions that have been described as deplorable, is unacceptable and needs to be addressed,” said Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Mark Techmeyer..." More & video

Thursday, July 21, 2011

HSMO announces seizure of 73 dogs from negligent Monett breeder


ST. LOUIS • Humane Society of Missouri officials said today that 73 dogs were taken from a breeding facility in Monett in the first large-scale animal seizure since the new Canine Cruelty Prevention Act took effect.

A temporary restraining order was received on June 28 for violations including failure to treat animals needing medical care, failure to maintain a clean facility and using a gun for euthanasia, among other things.

The animals, 73 dogs and puppies, were taken into custody Thursday. Included were cocker spaniels, labrador retrievers, American eskimos, poodles, beagles, papillions and Brussels griffons.

The breeder agreed to surrender the animals and her breeding license to the Humane Society of Missouri and agreed not to operate a dog-breeding facility for at least six years..." More

Area task forces target dangerous hoarding

By: Leah Fabel

Tucked amid the tidy neighborhoods throughout the Washington area, homes of hoarders are hiding carpets soggy from the urine of dozens of animals. Hundreds -- perhaps thousands -- have boxes crawling with maggots and kitchens reeking of rotting food. Some have stacks of papers so high and pathways so narrow that firefighters barely stand a chance once a blaze starts.

"We'd typically call the Department of Social Services, but that's if the house isn't already burned down," said Mark Brady, spokesman for the Prince George's County fire department.

Brady, like many area officials, has learned that hoarding is not general messiness, or the dozen extra boxes of knickknacks that some pack rats can't part with. It's an expensive and a dangerous problem that may worsen as the region's population ages..." More

Dozens of cats abandoned in foreclosed-on Houston home

Dozens of dirty, starving cats were left behind by the residents of a trash-filled Houston-area home that was being foreclosed on, and city officials are trying to find volunteers to help them get the animals cleaned, fed and housed. Houston Fire Chief Tom Hood, who has been supervising the animal shelter since the city's police department was disbanded, was scratched so badly during the rescue he had to seek medical attention.." More

Monday, July 18, 2011

22 dogs, cat, bird seized from trailer park in city


Toledo Area Humane Society officials seized 22 dogs, a cat, and a bird Tuesday from a west Toledo trailer park after neighbors discovered the animals crowded inside a single-wide mobile home in what were described as deplorable conditions. One of the dogs was dead.

Cruelty investigators descended on the home in Twinwall Village Mobile Home Park on Tremainsville Road, between Laskey and Alexis roads, about 9 a.m. Tuesday, Humane Society Executive Director John Dinon said.

The dogs, mainly small breeds such as Chihuahuas but also a handful of larger dogs, had been let out of the home earlier in the morning by neighbors intent on rescuing them and were in the yard, trailer park manager Vickie Wisniewski said...

...any of the animals were in bad physical shape, including one dog that had a serious eye injury and others with filthy and severely matted fur, Mr. Dinon said. One of the dogs, a poodle, had no fur except for balls of hair and feces covering its feet, Ms. Wisniewski said...

...The inside of the trailer was covered in feces 4 inches deep, and some of the dogs had burrowed into the walls and fallen through the floor, she added....


Ms. Wisniewski said the trailer belonged to Sheila Ortmann, a 50-something former dog groomer.

She said Ms. Ortmann did not live in the trailer and was rarely seen there....


t is not the first time officials have been called to investigate Ms. Ortmann, Mr. Dinon said. Humane Society officers first visited Ms. Ortmann last year after receiving complaints that she was keeping too many dogs.

They did not find anything worthy of criminal prosecution at the time, but advised her to clean up the premises, he said. Ms. Wisniewski accused Ms. Ortmann of hiding some of her dogs so that investigators wouldn't see how many she had.

The Lucas County dog warden had also investigated Ms. Ortmann and in January charged her on 21 counts of failing to give her dogs rabies vaccines, Warden Julie Lyle said. The warden's office also has been called a number of times to Ms. Ortmann's trailer in the past year on complaints about the animals inside, Ms. Lyle added.

Mr. Dinon said Tuesday that Humane Society investigators had made contact with Ms. Ortmann and planned to meet with her Wednesday. He said the organization probably will file animal cruelty charges against her..." More

Dozens Of Animals Seized At Lake Stevens Home Where Man Was Found Dead

Investigators started seizing animals Monday from a Lake Stevens home where a man was found dead Friday.

The man hadn't been heard from for some time when police went to check on him Friday. Investigators also found 40 dogs and puppies and six cats living in crates in the home.

Snohomish County Animal Control told KIRO 7 Reporter Gary Horcher that the owner of the property was running an illegal puppy mill and didn't have a proper license..." More

Animals Evaluated After Pitt County Seizure

Reporter: April Davis

Authorities say eight dogs, part of the 76 animals seized Monday afternoon in Pitt County, have tested positive for heart worms.

A veterinarian evaluated the animals Tuesday, a day after they were taken from a home on Highway 903 North.

The Pitt County Animal Shelter continues to try to find homes for the animals. Animal Control Director Michele Whaley says the SPCA of Wake County, picked up six of the dogs Wednesday afternoon and that the local Humane Society will take three dogs on Thursdays.

There are still 24 more dogs that will need to be placed.

Officials say the animals were living in poor conditions, some were emaciated and others had minor injuries or sores that require medical attention. While some of the animals may be adopted out, others had to be put down due to temperament and their physical condition.

The Humane Society of the United States is paying agencies to board the pets until they can be placed elsewhere.

No far no charges have been filed in the case.

Previous Story

Nearly 80 animals in one county were seized by three different agencies Monday during an animal cruelty investigation.

Pitt County Animal Control Director Michele Whaley says this is the worst case she has seen in her career with the county and this is not their first time to this location.

Pitt County Animal Control along with the Humane Society of the United States tells WITN they seized more than 50 dogs, several ducks and chickens, as well as 2 hybrid wolves at a unidentified woman's home off Highway 903 in Pitt County. Beaufort County Animal Control also assisted.

Kimberly Alboum the director of the Humane Society for North Carolina says the woman who had the animals tried to rescue them and it got too much for her to handle..." More & video