Monday, January 30, 2012

Bemidji woman with 50 dogs may keep seven; rest headed for shelter

By Anne Williams

Most of the dogs will go, seven will stay and a few could be returned home once they've been neutered or spayed and her house is cleaned.
That is what 63-year-old Carol Schmidt agreed to Wednesday.
"That's what I want," the rural Bemidji woman said after signing a custodial agreement with the Animal Humane Society to have more than 40 of her dogs taken to an animal shelter in Golden Valley.
Beltrami County Environmental Services Director Bill Patnaude, officials with the Beltrami County sheriff's office and Wade Hanson, an investigator with the Animal Humane Society in Golden Valley, met with Schmidt at her mobile home two days after authorities conducted a welfare check and found more than 50 dogs and some cats living inside two mobile homes on her property.
"I want them in the Cities," Schmidt said, referring to the dogs that will be taken to the animal shelter in Golden Valley. "It's good for people down there that need guard dogs for their places."
While Schmidt is not breaking any laws by having so many pets at her residence on Grant Valley Road Northwest in Grant Valley Township, the dogs are being removed because of what Hanson called "unsanitary conditions."
"She has agreed she has way too many animals," said Hanson, who according to the Animal Humane Society is an expert on animal hoarding and humane investigations. "We're going to do what we can for now. We'll be back up here once in a while to see whether or not the situation has gotten better..."  More

ASPCA Intervenes in Potential Hoarding Situation in Brooklyn

A Brooklyn woman has agreed to give up five of the 18 pit bulls she has been keeping in her home, part of an arrangement with the ASPCA after agents looked into a possible case of animal hoarding at her home last week.
The 57-year-old woman had 13 adult pit bulls living in her backyard and basement, and five one-month-old puppies inside the house, according to the ASPCA.
"She was well-intentioned in her actions but she was on the path to becoming quickly overwhelmed,"  said ASPCA spokesman Bret Hopman.
Hopman said the woman, originally from Tobago, grew up on 72 acres of land and with 27 dogs that were used primarily to hunt wild game.
After moving into Brooklyn, "the first dog she brought in was back in 2003," said Hopman. "She found him near her neighborhood and it appeared he had been a victim of dogfighting. Soon after, she encountered another pit bull stray and brought her in, too.
"Neither dog was spayed or neutered, so they ended up mating," he said. "Eventually the owner ended up with 18 dogs."
The ASPCA found the woman's living conditions and the conditions of the dogs were acceptable, but "there was a very high likelihood that her situation could have escalated into a larger-scale crisis," said Hopman.
Workers from the ASPCA's two-year-old program Cruelty Intervention Advocacy (CIA) stepped in to help the woman get proper care for the dogs. The ASPCA's mobile unit arrived at the woman's home Jan. 26 to spay and neuter a number of the adult dogs.
The five puppies will also be spayed and neutered, and put up for adoption when they are of the appropriate age, said Hopman..."  More

Gladewater to write animal ordinance - Texas

Frederick Williams owns one dog and doesn't like the idea of the city telling him or anyone else what to do.
"If a person can care for 40 animals, I think he should be able to possess those animals," he said. "I don't think the city should intervene on how many pets a person can afford."
But Gladewater officials say they have no choice.
"There's really not any ordinance about how many animals per size of lot or anything like that," Police Chief Farrell Alexander said.
He said the city gets complaints about noise and smell because there's no cap on animal ownership.  
Currently, the city council is using Longview as a guide.
Animal Advocate Belinda Wiggins advised Longview's mayor on new ordinances in 2010.
"We want to strengthen those ordinances to protect the safety and welfare of the animal and to protect the public," she said. "Six dogs and six cats per house. Combination cats and dogs. Not six cats and six dogs a combination."
She said the people of Gladewater could benefit greatly from something like a six animal limit..."  More

Friday, January 27, 2012

Dozens of Animals Found Dead at Alabama Shelter

Ariel Wulff

Summerdale Alabama Police received a tip Thursday about abandoned animals that led them to the Purple Hearted Puppies rescue organization and boarding facility  on County Road 36 in Summerdale. Police forced down the front door, where they found puppies inside that hadn’t had food or water for over a week.
A news video on shows the three puppies scrambling to drink water that police and rescuers gave them. They are the same three puppies that Purple Hearted Puppies owner, Sharon Dueitt, posted on her Facebook wall and wrote that somebody had dropped off at the shelter on January 17th.
Initial reports are that dozens of animals have been found dead at the facility, which housed close to 200 animals, including cats, dogs, goats, horses and chickens. Police and rescue workers said the animals they found hadn’t been fed or watered in nearly two weeks, although in some instances, cases of food were set outside of kennels where animals could see them and not reach them.
Purple Hearted Puppies is also a boarding facility, and Baldwin County Humane Society and Summerdale police were calling pet owners Thursday night to pick up their pets. Not all of them were alive.  Some dogs that had been housed together had resorted to eating kennel mates that had died of dehydration or starvation.
Sonja Presley with the Baldwin County Humane Society told reporters that the owners of the shelter were out of town, and the people left in charge of the facility never showed up.
Despite this, the owner of  PurpleHearted Puppies, Sharon Dueitt, had been posting to her personal facebook page all week from the Robertsdale, Loxley and Summerdale areas, a ten mile radius. She makes no mention of being out of town.  Dueitt posted on the 21st that she was taking care of family business and would be posting animals for adoption on Monday the 23rd, yet on that day she indicated that she was sick with the stomach flu..."  More & video

Camper full of cats seized by Auburn PD

AUBURN, Wash. — 
The Auburn Police Department seized 74 cats and one dog Thursday afternoon from a camper next to the Auburn Regional Medical Center.
According to police, they responded to calls of the camper moving, hearing meows from inside and seeing numerous cats from the windows.
King County Animal Control went to the scene and said the camper was unsafe for the animals. They took custody of the dog and cats, and the animals were examined, logged and inoculated..."  More & video

Osceola County Animal Control seizes dozens of animals

KISSIMMEE, Fla. - Osceola County Animal Control Officers seized dozens of animals earlier today from a home located at 2650 Ham Brown Road in Kissimmee. The animals were in various states of malnutrition and illness, and include 29 hogs, 25 dogs, 5 horses, 2 llamas, a donkey and several species of birds (chickens, ducks, geese and doves). 

"We are going to make every effort to do what's in the best interest of these animals," said Lee Radebaugh, Osceola County Animal Control Manager. 

The owner, Michelle Jones, surrendered the animals to officials after they were called to the property by the Osceola County Sheriff's Office. Animal Control previously removed a large number of animals from the owner's care approximately two years ago due to animal malnutrition and illness, including distemper..."  More & video

Pet Helpers responds to Orangeburg animal hoarding case

By Nikki Gaskins

CHARLESTON, S.C -- On Wednesday, January 25th nine cats taken from a couple's mobile home in Orangeburg County arrived at Pet Helpers on Folly Road.
Initially, when animal control responded to Amy and Richard Thomas' home on December 17th they discovered approximately 150 abandoned cats. The married couple has been charged with animal cruelty.
"Some of the cats were dead. There was no food or water," said Kristin Kiefer, operations manager with Pet Helpers. "By the time animal control responded, the cats were forced to have to eat the dead cats that were there."
Several of the cats have treatable illnesses and will be nursed back to health. That's where Pet Helpers steps in -- to get them ready for adoption.
"We're dealing with some of the cats that have eye infections," Kiefer said. "They're on antibiotics for upper respiratory problems. You can hear it when they breathe, and they have severe ear mites."
None of the cats are vetted, and all will need to be vaccinated, microchipped, spayed or neutered before they are ready for adoption..."  More

Animal hoarding: loving them to death

By Sarah Maxwell

           A stereotypical animal hoarder is usually a single, middle-aged woman who lives alone with her cats. In reality, there are no specific characteristics that classify hoarders – except that they sometimes house more animals than they can possibly sustain.
           The Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium (HARC) has defined the term "animal hoarding"; It describes any individual who has acquired more than the typical number of companion animals, fails to provide adequate living conditions, and consistently denies his or her own failure to do so.
            Two cases of animal hoarding were discovered in Wake County in June; One involved a man who had acquired 34 dogs, while the other situation contained a woman who shared her home with 29 cats. Animal Planet made arrangements to feature the two cases in its series, Confessions: Animal Hoarders. The dog-hoarding episode airs tonight at 10 p.m. and the cat-hoarding episode airs February 10 at 10p.m.
Animal Planet representatives contacted the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) of Wake County to remove the animals from the properties.
"This is our first time participating in a rescue with Animal Planet," Darci VanderSlikSPCA's community outreach coordinator, said. She explained that the premise of the series is to have the hoarders turn the animals over on their own free will in exchange for psychological intervention and help regaining control of their lives..."  More

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Local Kennel Failed State Inspection

By Jake Palmateer

A Worcester dog kennel under scrutiny by state police and a local SPCA chapter failed a state Department of Agriculture and Markets inspection Jan. 6.

South Side Dogs was found to be non-compliant in several areas related to shelter, sanitation, feeding and veterinary care, according to a copy of a pet-dealer inspection report obtained by The Daily Star from Ag and Markets.

The kennel is owned by Frank Popolizio Sr. of Schenectady. The state inspection was part of Popolizio's annual renewal process and was not related to the actions of troopers and the SPCA, according to department spokeswoman Jessica Ziehm.

"It was an unannounced, routine inspection," Ziehm said. "(South Side Dogs) was found to be unsatisfactory in compliance with both animal care and sanitation."...

...The local investigation began when state police in Oneonta were tipped off by a former employee in late December regarding possible malnourished canines at the kennel, which raises Weimaraners, German short-haired pointers, vizslas and Rhodesian ridgebacks for sale.

Troopers, working with the Susquehanna SPCA, seized 26 dogs last week after giving the kennel a chance to improve its conditions. The seized dogs are in the care of the local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and veterinarian Joan Puritz of Oneonta.

Troopers and Popolizio said about 50 dogs remain at the facility.

No one has been charged in connection with the case and troopers said Tuesday it remains under investigation..."  More

Workers at the Animal Rescue League spent Thursday morning shaving off the feces-crusted fur of 18 neglected dogs

Eighteen of the 88 dogs rescued from a suspected puppy mill in Sac County are being cared for by the staff at the Animal Rescue League in Des Moines.

Workers began to process and care for the neglected animals Wednesday and Thursday morning they began grooming them, shaving off the coats matted with feces.

"You immediately want to see them healthy, you want to see them groomed, and comfortable and bathed and all of those types of things, but no you don't get use to this, this tugs at the heart every time," says Tom Colvin with the ARL.

After a tip from a concerned citizen, the Sac County Sheriff's Office seized the animals from 3975 Dean Avenue in rural Kiron. The animals' owner and breeder, Mary Brodersen, was not present at the time of the seizure. She did not have a current license with the USDA, meaning she could not sell the dogs legally. It appears she continued to breed the dogs and they received very little care. When authorities arrived they found 93 dogs but five of them were deceased.

The animals were split up between several rescue organizations for care. The dogs in the worst health were sent to the ARL to be taken care of. Shelter staff says some dogs had such bad fleas you could see them crawling all over..."  More

Alaska man seeks to reclaim his 22 cats Read more: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

by Casey Grove

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - It was still summer when Jim Hershberger packed up his 22 cats at his homestead in the Mentasta Mountains, hauled them down a mountain on a sled and loaded them into a raft. After a short river trip, he drove 250 miles to Anchorage, where he moved into a friend's shipping container.

Hershberger's plan: get supplies, visit the veterans' clinic here and find a woman. He is no ordinary man, his cats are not ordinary cats, and so far, he hasn't found that extraordinary woman who wants the whole package.

Instead, the city broke his heart.

Hershberger is fighting for his felines - talking to reporters, seeking legal help, painting "Free my cats now" on his vehicle - after they were seized Jan. 14 in what the city says is an ongoing animal cruelty investigation. A police officer found the cats in crates inside Hershberger's gray Toyota hatchback, parked outside the shipping container where Hershberger and his dog Sheba were staying. It ranged between 5 degrees below zero and 5 above in the vehicle, police said..."  More

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Josephine County Budget Axe Falls

By Ron Brown

MERLIN, Ore. -- Now that the last federal timber payment has been received by Josephine County, the budget axe is beginning to fall.

This week, staff at the Josephine County Animal Shelter learned that Animal Control Manager Brad Tally is being laid-off. He says he knew cuts were coming, but he and his staff did not expect the cuts would start at the top.

"As far as prosecuting large case, hoarding cases, that's all going to be gone. There's just not enough staff to do it and not enough knowledge to be able to handle those cases," said Tally.

Tally and his staff say they hope the shelter will be able to remain open in Merlin, but they are not sure. County Health Administrator Diane Hoover, whose agency oversees Animal Control and who ordered the cuts, says they should be able to run on reduced hours. Tally's last day is February 6th..."  Link

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

2012 Orange County Task Force on Hoarding Hoarding Disorder Symposium

February 10, 2012
Heritage Hall, Walter D. Ehlers Recreation Center
8150 Knott Ave., Buena Park, Calif., 90620
The Hoarding Disorder Symposium is a full day training opportunity for
human service professionals. The symposium presents harm reduction as an alternative to treatment for hoarding disorder. Harm reduction assumes that it is not necessary to stop all compulsive acquiring or to clear homes completely
in order to reduce the risk of harm and improve the health, safety, and
comfort of persons who hoard. The workshop presents the essential features of the harm reduction process applied to the problem of severe hoarding. The workshop will describe strategies for engaging the client in the harm reduction process, building and facilitating the harm reduction team,
assessing harm potential, and developing and managing a harm reduction plan.

More info:  click here

Savannah man accused of hoarding 71 dogs charged


A Savannah man accused of hoarding 71 dogs in a home that is now condemned has been charged with more than 100 city ordinance violations by Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police.
Among the charges brought against Daniel Golden, 43, are 71 counts of animal neglect and 50 counts of failing to properly vaccinate the dogs, according to a news release.
The dogs were kept in a home in the 300 block of East 33rd Street. Officers were called to the home Sunday for a noise complaint of barking, the release said. Police and animal-control officers spent more than four hours removing the small dogs, ranging from newborns to adults.
Animal-rescue groups from Bluffton and Ridgeland are helping place the dogs in new homes.
Brooke Fisher, owner of Brooke's Haven Animal Rescue and Brooke's Bed & Biscuit kennel in Bluffton, said interest has been shown in the 16 dogs she took in, with two adoptions so far.
Most people will need to wait about two weeks until the animals are spayed and neutered before they can start an adoption, she said..."  More

Read more here:

Monday, January 23, 2012

Documentary in the works on: Marie Castaldo

Kickstarter fundraising for documentary on: The Mystery of Marie Jocelyne



Since 2007, we have been chasing the enigmatic Marie Castaldo, convicted criminal, alleged con-artist, and proprietor of scandal-plagued film festivals. Directed by Martha Shane (Producer and co-director of Bi The Way) and Dan Nuxoll (Program Director of Rooftop Films, co-producer of Kiss My Snake), The Mystery of Marie Castaldo and the Queens International Film Festival will take the audience on a voyage of discovery from Africa to Paris to L.A. to Queens to Riker’s Island, and finally to the small apartment in London where we finally met Marie face to face. In the end, we hope to come to a better understanding of what truly drives Marie. But we can’t do all this without your help. Please, check out our video and pledge today.
My name is Dan Nuxoll, and I am the Program Director for Rooftop Films, an outdoor film festival in New York. It’s a great job and I really enjoy it, but right now I would like to tell you about a different sort of project that I am working on.
In 2007, a festival director named Marie Castaldo called me up at Rooftop Films. She was looking to rent some equipment for her Queens International Film Festival. We rented her some gear, but we never got a deposit, and after the festival was over, Marie disappeared without paying a dime.  A year later, when I discovered that Marie was presenting the festival again, I decided to take action. I called the festival, left a message, and was subsequently contacted by Marie, who threatened that if I showed up at the festival, there would be “men there who would make me regret it.” (For the record, Marie denies this.) As I soon learned, however, Rooftop Films wasn’t the only company that Marie hadn’t paid over the years.
 Around this time, I met a filmmaker named Martha Shane. Martha and I started to do a little research, and bit by bit, we began to uncover a trail of unpaid bills and allegations of fraud that covered Marie’s twenty-plus years of working in the New York and Los Angeles film industries. Finally, Rooftop Films, along with a number of other people who claimed they had been defrauded by the Queens International Film Festival, brought Marie’s actions to the attention of the Queens DA. But for many months, the case rested there, as Martha and I continued to learn of increasingly bizarre allegations against Marie.
 Finally, just as we were beginning to think that no action would ever be taken by the Queens DA’s office, there was a shocking turn of events. Marie was arrested on multiple counts of animal abuse in upstate New York. While she waited in jail there, the Queens DA was informed of her arrest, and Marie was transferred to Riker’s Island. It was nearing the end of 2010 when Marie plead guilty to multiple counts of fraud and animal abuse and was deported back to France.
Now, it’s 2012, and we’re raising money for a feature documentary that will tell this unbelievable story..."  More on Kickstarter & video

Nov 18, 2011 - Upstate NY woman busted for hoarding 48 emaciated dogs

Howard Portnoy

If there is an object lesson to be learned from the case of Marie Castaldo, it might be that people who abuse other people will abuse animals with an equally untroubled conscious.
Castaldo, who was accused last November of swindling a group of Queens, New York, filmmakers out thousands of dollars, has ran afoul of the law again. This time her crime was hoarding dozens of dogs fraudulently obtained from animal shelters in upstate New York.
A year-long investigation by the Ulster County SPCA revealed that Castaldo had gone from one local shelter to the next, seemingly to rescue dogs that would otherwise be euthanized. In point of fact, her goal was nothing like the mission of mercy it might have appeared to be. Instead, it was to turn a profit by selling the rescued pups to unsuspecting owners at pet store prices. At least, that was the case when she wasn’t neglecting the four dozen dogs she had amassed, many of which were reported to be emaciated..."  More

Aug 12, 2010:  Woman charged with hoarding dogs in Ulster arrested on unrelated charges in NYC

The founder and executive director of the Queens International Film Festival has been arraigned on charges that she bilked four vendors out of nearly $14,000 in goods and services during the 2007 and 2008 festivals.

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown Wednesday said Marie Castaldo, 52, was accused of duping advertising and film industry vendors into providing their services for free to her film festival by “in most cases” making a small upfront payment and then refusing to make any further payments.

Castaldo, who founded the festival in 2002, was charged with first-degree scheme to defraud, third- and fourth-degree grand larceny, petit larceny, third- and fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property and second-degree harassment..." More

More than 30 dogs rescued from southern Mich. home

LEE TOWNSHIP, Mich. - More than 30 dogs, including many covered in feces and urine, have been rescued from a southern Michigan home.
The Kalamazoo Gazette reports that the 33 dogs were mostly kept in cramped carriers or kennels in a home in Calhoun County's Lee Township. The animals were seized Friday and taken to a local animal shelter.
Sheriff's officials say a 42-year-old woman who lives in the home was not arrested but a warrant is being sought for animal cruelty and child endangerment. Police say state Child Protective Services workers will investigate living conditions in the home, where a 13-year-old girl also lives..."  Link & video

Breeder defends condition of dogs

Underweight dogs were seized from a well-known Schenectady property owner at a breeding kennel he owns in Otsego County.

State Trooper Walter Schliermann of Oneonta said police received a complaint about South Side Dogs, owned by Frank Popolizio Sr., and found animals that appeared thin on a visit Dec. 22. The Susquehanna SPCA and a veterinarian made a separate visit. Police and the SPCA visited again Jan. 13 to inspect the dogs and found their condition unchanged, Schliermann said.

Over the course of a few days, 26 dogs were removed from the kennel, which breeds German Shorthaired Pointers, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Weimaraners and Vizslas.

No charges have been filed in the case, but police are working with the Otsego County District Attorney's Office, Schliermann said. The kennel remains open with approximately 50 dogs..."  More

66 cats removed from West Delray home

By Jorge L. Valens

Sheriff's deputies and officers from Palm Beach County Animal Care & Control had their hands full Friday night, evicting a woman and collecting the 66 cats she had accumulated in her home west of Delray Beach.
Animal Care & Control officers removed the cats from a small home on Lake Boulevard, said Capt. David Walesky, operations manager with Animal Care & Control.
It wasn't the first encounter between the woman and authorities. They had been working with her to reduce the number of cats.

She was cited in December for having animals without rabies shots and tags, according to an Animal Care & Control case report. She also was cited for having too many cats, owning unsterilized animals and breeding animals without a permit.
At the same time, however, living conditions in the home time were "fairly clean," according to the report.
She was required to reduce her number of cats to 10 by Saturday. But rather than reduce the number of cats, their population grew, Walesky said.
By Friday night, conditions in her home had deteriorated and were "worse than they'd ever seen," Walesky said.
Still, that's not unusual, Walesky said. Animal Care & Control often sees hoarding cases, and it usually involves cats, he said.