Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Animal hoarding leads authorities to S. Valley home

By: Marissa Torre

It is a severe case of animal hoarding. Bernalillo County authorities rescued nearly 50 animals from one man's home. Most were underweight, living in their own filth, and in desperate need of medical attention.
Neighbors said they knew owner, Glynn Farmer, had pets, but not nearly as many as authorities found.
The only reason deputies were tipped off was because neighbors called in worried they had not seen the owner in days. When deputies got to the house, there was an immediate red flag.
Matt Pepper, Director of Bernalillo County Animal Welfare Services was there. "It took me five minutes on scene to realize we had some serious issues and these animals needed help." 
In all, authorities rescued 21 dogs, 13 horses, 12 cats, birds, a goat, even a turtle.
"There were a large number of animals that needed attention in one way or the other, whether it was a sanitary environment or medical attention," Pepper said..."  More & video

Monday, February 27, 2012

Hoarding becomes crime under new Orange village home-safety law

By Faith Boone

ORANGE VILLAGE, Cleveland, Ohio -- Village Council has approved legislation making it possible for those inhabiting unsafe dwellings and structures to be charged criminally.
The ordinance, approved, 5-2, alters village regulations relating to prohibiting conditions, authorizing an appeal of determination and amending the penalties for unsafe dwellings and structures.
Though Mayor Kathy Mulcahy said this is not a “hoarding” ordinance, it can still pertain to hoarders. The issue of hoarding was brought up in a safety committee meeting, chaired by Councilwoman Frances Kluter.
“The recommendations were that hoarders should get help from adult protective services and social workers. Then it turned into a crime,” Kluter said. “Norbert Rahl, from the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging, gave a presentation. They said that you should grade hoarders to whatever degree and said it is a serious mental illness.”..."  More  (suggestion: read comments posted at the end of the linked article)

Hoarder habit may be enabled by families

A Toronto researcher has launched the first study of its kind to explore a key but little understood aspect of hoarding: the link between hoarders and their loved ones.
“It’s referred to as accommodation — the tendency for family members to do things that ultimately make it easier for hoarders to continue hoarding,” says Martin Antony, chair of the psychology department at Ryerson University.
Accommodation in hoarding is not unlike the enabling or co-dependent behaviour often seen in the loved ones of alcoholics and drug addicts, he added.
Fifty-five families in Canada and the U.S. are being recruited to participate in the study. It aims to pinpoint how changing the behaviour of loved ones, who may be unwittingly supporting hoarding, can form part of the therapeutic process...."  More

Hoarding cases surface in Southern Arizona

Homes full of junk, residents with hundreds of cats or dogs - it sounds unbelieveable, but it happens a lot more than you think.
Hoarding is a mental illness that's been thrust into the spotlight with new cable shows and recent news stories, including cases right here in Southern Arizona....Video

Eastland woman releases ownership of about 100 dogs

By Denise Blaz

An Eastland woman whose animals were seized Feb. 19 said she agreed to release ownership of her animals Friday after the city threatened to press criminal charges against her family members.
On Monday, Mary Clark said she signed off on an agreement to give up about 100 dogs of various breeds, mainly cocker spaniels and schnauzers — as well as eight pet rats and two tortoises. In exchange, she said, the city will not charge her, or her family, with any criminal offenses.
"There's been a great deal of uproar in the city, and it's been one-sided," Clark said Monday. "We walked the dogs, two to three times a day. We've were always taking good care of the animals. All there is left is for me to defend myself."
Clark said she was not given a chance to clean up after the animals. Eight officers showed up at her doorstep without warning to take the animals on Feb. 19, Clark said..."   More

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Olalla couple may seek restitution for seized animals


n Olalla couple who had more than 150 animals seized from their property by the Kitsap Humane Society in November may seek monetary restitution from the nonprofit organization.

“We are hoping the other side comes out and does the right thing in this,” said the couple’s attorney, Paul Richmond, about the Humane Society possibly stepping forward with options for restitution. “The judge said (in a pretrial hearing) that you have civil options. We’ll talk and see what our options are.”

Simon Bailey and Rosalind Yorba-Bailey were accused of failing to provide proper care for the animals that were seized from their 5-acre “small scale” farm in November. On Friday, the Kitsap County prosecutor’s office dropped charges of second-degree animal cruelty against the couple..."  More

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

More than 100 dogs seized; Eastland authorities investigating puppy mill

By Denise Blaz

Several Eastland residents who allegedly were running an unsanitary puppy mill likely will have criminal charges filed against them soon, a city official said Wednesday.
On Monday, about 100 dogs of various breeds, eight pet rats and two tortoises were seized by Eastland city and county authorities, said Ron Holliday, Eastland city manager.
“We’re confident charges will be filed,” he said. “The case is still under investigation.”
Holliday said the department took the animals from two homes after the city received complaints about bad conditions.
“They raised dogs for sale, and there were unfortunately a lot of problems, to say the least,” Holliday said. “The conditions were extremely unsanitary. The dogs’ physical health seems to be related to neglect. There seems to be no signs of abuse.”
According to Abilene-based Rescue the Animals, a tip led to the animals’ seizure. Paul Washburn, president of the nonprofit group, said the group received detailed information and pictures of “terrible conditions.”..."  More

Nearly 40 Animals Seized in Animal Cruelty Case

Reporter: Matt Galka 

On Monday the folks at Dancing Cloud Farm Horse Rescue were called upon to assist with a large scale seizure of animals.

"We got a call from the Thomas County Sheriff's Office and an animal control officer asking for our assistance in trying to carry out this rescue of...it originally started out at about 100," said Anne Campbell, Vice President of the rescue organization.

They were able to rescue 37 of the 100 animals seized from Rebecca Bannister. She is charged with animal cruelty and is currently out on $500 bond. The animals include donkeys, llamas and cows, but were primarily horses, some which appeared extremely neglected.

"This is an older horse with a body score of a one. Veterinarians score horses physical conditions on a scale of one to nine. A healthy horse has a score of four or five. There's no fat. There's no muscle...Very pronounced starvation. This horse would not have lasted much longer," said the rescue's founder Anita Meisen..."  More & video

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

4 Onondaga County towns lack SPCA contracts

Syracuse  - A number of towns in Onondaga County are putting dollars before cats and dogs.

Negotiations are ongoing between the SPCA and four local towns over a contract to provide services that could end up costing taxpayers in the long run.

Currently, towns that have a contract a contract with the SPCA can call them to respond to incidents involving animal cruelty or “animal hoarding.” The rescued animals are then housed at the Molloy Road Shelter.

Without a contract, dealing with animal incidents is the responsibility of the individual municipality.

SPCA Director Paul Morgan said the main problem a municipality will encounter is sheltering rescued animals.

“If they’ve got something going on, it’s going to be their responsibility, if they don’t sign with us, to call the Sheriff’s Department to handle it, or the local dog control officers to handle,” Morgan said. “And like I say, it’s not that they can’t handle it, because the police departments out there are very educated now and they know how to handle it. They can make the arrests. The problem is, where are you going to house the animals?”..."  More

More than 1m Aussies are hoarders - forum

Compulsive hoarders often live in squalor and risk disease, injury, fires and homelessness, and their over-attachment to things can compromise their relationships, clinical psychologist Dr Christopher Mogan says.

To throw something away is to throw away part of themselves ... its a very pervasive disease that's hard for the non-hoarder to grasp," he told a conference in Sydney.

The two-day forum, dubbed Pathways Through the Maze National Hoarding and Squalor conference, attracted 135 experts from Australia, the UK and the US..."  More

Sunday, February 19, 2012

PetSmart aids county after hoarding cases

Days after the Pinal County Animal Care and Control department was literally flooded with animals due to a pair of animal hoarding discoveries, PetSmart Charities stepped up, providing $15,500 in emergency relief funding to the county in addition to a variety of supplies, including food, beds and toys.

Between two cases – one occurring just south of Maricopa – the county took in 94 dogs and 59 cats, with 10 of the dogs believed to be pregnant.

PCACC director Kaye Dickson said a local veterinarian has agreed to provide the spay and neuter surgeries for the animals – once they have recovered from any illnesses they may have had when taken into the county’s care – allowing the county to spend more of the money received from PetSmart on the initial treatment of those

While the county will adopt out the dogs taken from the house near Maricopa once they have been spayed or neutered and have been issued a clean bill of health, the PCACC will have to go to court to do the same with the cats, as the owners of those cats are not yet relinquishing their ownership rights..."  More

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Firefighters train for hoarder homes

by Laurie Merrill

Hoarding has become such a hazard for firefighters that some fire departments in Maricopa County are offering training on battling blazes at homes filled with animals and debris.
The Gilbert and Tempe fire departments, prompted in part by the recent destruction of another hoarder-occupied home that firefighters could not save, recently began holding training to handle such emergencies.

"There is an increase in hoarding," said Tempe Fire Inspector Mike Reichling. "You don't want to throw things away during an economic crisis."

Tempe firefighters, who earlier this month fought in vain to save a trash- and cat-filled house, know first-hand that hoarding is becoming an issue. It was the second debris-filled home in just over two weeks that became a total fire loss..."  More

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

NYS Police Investigating Wyoming County SPCA

ATTICA, NY -- New York State Police are now investigating the Wyoming County SPCA.
Captain Steve Nigrelli of the New York State Police told Eyewitness News that animals were living in deplorable conditions. He said there were so many animals inside the facility, it borders on animal hoarding..."  More

Update: Volunteer cries "We're overwhelmed!" as police raid SPCA animal shelter

"We're overwhelmed. We're just overwhelmed you know?"
That's what a frustrated volunteer at the SPCA animal shelter said in Wyoming County today after state police raided the shelter. Police say the shelter and it's operator  hoarded hundreds of cats.
The volunteer, Carol Gebel, said their hands are tied, saying people drop off boxes of cats and kittens every week.
The State Police say the conditions inside the shelter are "deplorable."
Police say they started getting complaints two weeks ago. Today they raided the the SPCA shelter just outside Attica and another one in Clarence -- closer to Buffalo.
"Cruel is abuse. I don't think you're seeing that type of investigation here," Capt. Steven Nigrelli of the State Police said. "It's just that the conditions because of the volume of animals has become deplorable."
Gebel showed up at the scene on her phone and didn't know what to do.
"The news people are here. I don't know where (the manager) Sue is. I don't know what's going on!" she said.
Gebel volunteers at the shelter. To hear the interview with the volunteer at the SPCA, click here...." More

Experts: Hoarding compulsion hard to break

People who hoard things have a compulsion not unlike those addicted to alcohol or drugs, experts said Wednesday, one day after a 72-year-old woman was found dead in her trash-filled home in Worth.
“There seems to be a strong behavioral connection between hoarding and other addiction disorders,” said Phil Scherer, director of the Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery at Ingalls Memorial Hospital in Harvey.
He said a traumatic incident, like the loss of a spouse, can trigger such behavior.
“Often times, hoarders seem to be trying to fill a sense of emptiness in themselves that can be brought on by a traumatic incident where they felt out of control. They need to control their stuff. They can manage that,” Scherer said. “In their minds, they have relationships with things. They have an intention for it. They think they may need it. Even junk mail becomes important to them..."  More

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

52 dogs taken from 2 homes


The owners "love the animals, but they just aren't able to care for them. … It's sad."
And that sometimes leads to what Humane League of Lancaster County officials said was happening at a Gordonville home, where nearly three dozen dogs were seized Friday.
The 32 dogs were removed from the property by state dog law enforcement officers because of neglect and unsanitary conditions inside the home, officials said.
At the same time, another 20 dogs — 10 adult animals and 10 puppies — hoarded in similar unhealthy conditions in a condemned Lancaster city home, were removed from the home Friday, the Humane League's director of humane law enforcement Danielle Ball said.
That gives the League a total of 52 new dogs.
The Lancaster home is on Howard Avenue, officials said, and the owner's name was not released.
Officials from the Organization for Responsible Care of Animals went to the condemned house and brought the animals to the Humane League shelter, League officials said.
Meanwhile, the dogs were removed from the Gordonville property on Friday after their owner, Barbara E. Dienner, 49, of the 200 block of Queen Road, admitted earlier this month in Lancaster County Court to hoarding the dogs, including many that weren't licensed or vaccinated..."  More

'Hoarders': Kathleen Reveals Hoard of Dead Animals And Insects

Both featured stories on this week's "Hoarders" (Mon., 9 p.m. EST on A&E) were unlike any we'd seen before. Kathleen's hoarding was driven by the death of her husband 25 years ago, but it lead to her keeping some truly odd treasures, like two dead owls that she kept in her freezer since 2000.
The key, though, was that her freezer still worked. In fact, considering how long she'd been hoarding, Kathleen's house was in fantastic shape. She did manage to clean up her four-bedroom house, and it proved to be actually quite beautiful underneath the clutter. Dorothy Breininger said it was the fastest clean-up she'd ever been a part of. And they allowed Kathleen to keep some of her odds and ends, only rather than seeing them scattered around the house, they set up a room like a miniature museum to reflect her love of the natural world.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Scott had accumulated enough things to fill several museums. Across fifty properties, he had countless buildings and trailers filled with things he'd bought at auction. Scott would go to these auctions and just buy everything. His original intention was to turn around and sell for a profit, but he found he couldn't let go. And he couldn't stop buying..."  More

Rock Hill non-profit shelter accused of hoarding cats

By Dianne Gallagher

 A non-profit animal shelter is being forced to shut down amidst concerns the director is hoarding cats. But she says she already has plans to open a new shelter in the near future.

A York County judge gave Saint Francis Animal Rescue until March 18 to get rid of the more than 150 cats currently living there, reports NewsChannel 36, the Observer's news partner.
St. Francis is a no-kill facility that allows cats to roam freely around the building. No cages or crates are used.

The tiny shelter had been flagged by Animal Control in 2011 after it received complaints about conditions and the number of cats being housed there.

Animal Control agents said they inspected the shelter several times over the past year, giving organizers specific instructions on how to meet set standards. On Monday, officials determined those standards were not met..."  More

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/02/14/3011681/rock-hill-non-profit-shelter-accused.html#storylink=cpy

Friday, February 10, 2012

Report: The mind of an animal hoarder

By Jordan Burgess

The sickening snapshots of the conditions inside the homes of animal hoarders are pictures of a problem, but seeing them is only half the story. 

"Five minutes in one of these houses and I guarantee you most folks will tell you I know what cruelty smells like," says Mark Kumpf with Montgomery County's Animal Resource Center. 

For this story, you'll have to use your imagination when it comes to the stench of animal hoarding, but its impact can be realized by reading about the heartbreaking tale of animals like Ozzy, a dog thrown in with 80 others and given little chance to survive.
This story is a glimpse inside the world of animal hoarding as seen by four people whose lives have been impacted by it. 

"Sometimes it's scary, sometimes it's dangerous, and sometimes for animals and people it can be fatal," Kumpf .."  More

Behind the Scenes: The Victims of Animal Cruelty

by Colleen O'Brien

Going into animal cruelty or hoarding stories require a great amount of strength, patience and sometimes a few tears. I'm a bleeding-heart animal lover that would (figuratively speaking) stop a car to prevent an animal from being hurt or killed.
It's my job to report the facts though, so I try to set aside all judgment and emotions when I'm faced with an animal who has clearly never felt a loving human hand. Or a human being who doesn't quite understand why his or her animals are being taken away.
It was my intent to find a psychologist who could shed light on animal hoarding as a mental illness. Those who suffer believe that nobody else can love their animals like they can. They believe that they are helping these animals by keeping them off the streets – even if that means keeping them in crowded kennels.
I can't say if today's case is that of animal hoarding, that is up to psychologist and judges to decide. I do know that 50 animals were taken from the home on East Crown and that this isn't the first, second or third time Spokanimal has been there to seize animals.
Also, according to Spokanimal officers, the woman relinquished all but four of the 50 animals and admitted they needed better care. This is not typical animal hoarding behavior, but again... I'm not a psychologist..."  More

The Blurry Line Between No-Kill and Hoarders

by Lindsay Pollard-Post

Feces littered the floor and black mold covered the walls of a house that held 34 cats—many of them hungry, thirsty, and sick. Some animals were hunched over in tiny cages, covered with their own excrement. Even the beds of the humans who lived there had feces on them. Dogs and chickens were found outdoors without any food.
Sounds like something you might see on Confessions: Animal Hoarding, right? Surprisingly (or perhaps not so surprisingly) this hellhole—raided a few days before Christmas by Harrison County, Indiana, animal control—billed itself as a no-kill animal shelter called "Frisky Felines Foundation."
Multiple similar cases have made headlines in just the past few months. In September, the SPCA of Upstate New York seized 68 animals from Peaceable Kingdom Animal Rescue, a no-kill facility. The animals were emaciated, dehydrated, and suffering from mange, eye infections, dental problems, diarrhea, and other health issues that appeared to have gone untreated.
PETA's investigation of Angel's Gate, Inc., a self-proclaimed animal "hospice and rehabilitation center" in Delhi, New York, revealed that paralyzed animals dragged themselves until they developed bleeding sores, animals were denied veterinary care (one dog suffered with an infected, rotten, broken jaw), crowded conditions were so stressful that fights erupted daily, and animals were kept in urine-soaked diapers for days at a time, resulting in urine scald. Angel's Gate promised unsuspecting people that "special needs animals" would "live out their days in peace, dignity and love." Although its founder and operator, Susan Marino, now faces charges of cruelty to animals and criminal possession of a controlled substance, hundreds of animals remain in her hands—a situation that you can help change..."  More

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Duain Preitz - Bakersfield, CA

Feb 9, 2012:  Accused Animal Hoarder Officially Charged With Animal Cruelty

by  Kimberly Foley

An arrest warrant has been issued for Duain Preitz, the Rosamond man found with 215 dogs on his property in January. Preitz was arrested on Jan. 6 after Animal Control seized the animals from his property.

While he was taken into custody, Preitz was never charged with anything until Wednesday.
After all the animals were taken from Preitz's home, a makeshift shelter was set up at the fairgrounds while Kern County Animal Control assesed each and every animal and then submitted their case to the District Attorney...

..."We've seen this case before," said Yraceburn. "We've had several other hoarding cases that we've prosecuted here. This office has been very diligent about it. So this is just another one of those we're taking very seriously. Kern County is not a haven for hoarders to be in."

As of Wednesday night, the arrest warrant remains outstanding. If convicted of all seven charges, Preitz could face a maximum of five years, eight months in jail..."  More & video

Kern County Animal Control officials and private rescue groups struggled Monday to care for scores of animals brought in over the weekend from a self-styled rescue center in the Mojave west of Rosamond.
The caretaker -- Duain Preitz -- was arrested on suspicion of felony animal cruelty after officials found more than 200 animals, most of them dogs, suffering from neglect, dehydration, malnutrition, illness and injury.
Most of the dogs were taken to the Kern County Fairgrounds in Bakersfield where a frantic effort was underway to treat them.
Officials said Preitz, 61, had been facing an eviction order and called authorities last week for help with what he described as 125 animals.
What animal control officers and staff of the Bakersfield Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals found when they got to Preitz's remote rescue property west of Rosamond was a haphazard compound full of 215 animals as well as an undisclosed number of deceased animals
Interim Kern County Animal Control Division Manager Ron Brewster said the mission to evaluate the animals immediately turned into a criminal investigation when officers saw their conditions.
He said a total of 15 animals needed immediate medical attention and were taken Friday to a veterinary office for critical care.
"We could not wait to get the animals off the premises," said Julie Johnson of the Bakersfield SPCA.
But officials struggled with what to do with the rest of Preitz's collection, including horses, cats, ducks, chickens and a pig.
"We thought we could contain them on site," Brewster said.
By noon Saturday, after several animals were injured in fights and some escaped the property, Brewster said it was clear that another solution was needed.
So a massive relocation effort was organized and around 165 dogs were captured, loaded into cages and trucked from Rosamond to a hastily-erected shelter at the Kern County Fairgrounds in Bakersfield.
"We had about four hours to prepare a temporary shelter for 165 dogs," said Kern County Animal Control officer Nick Cullen.
Over the weekend Kern County Animal Control workers put in overtime hours, after their regular jobs at the county shelter on South Mount Vernon Avenue, caring for the animals at the fairgrounds. The fowl, horses and cats are being kept at the shelter.
Johnson said the ASPCA and Humane Society of the United States were contacted and are mobilizing assistance to deal with the situation and find solutions for caring for the animals.
Superior Court records show that an eviction order had been issued against Preitz because he owed $22,250 in back rent at his Best of Buddies animal rescue operation near Rosamond..."  More
More:  http://www.turnto23.com/news/30172373/detail.html

Police: Woman arrested for hoarding 2 dozen dogs

A Delaware woman is facing animal cruelty charges for allegedly hoarding more than two dozen dogs on her property.

Neighbors contacted officials about a home in Milford last month.

Officers found 25 dogs being housed outside in cages covered by a blue tarp.They say all the animals were malnourished, cold and covered in their own filth.

They were taken to the Kent County SPCA for treatment.

"This type of hoarding issue is getting bigger and bigger, especially with the downturn in the economy. The right thing to do if you are overwhelmed with your animals is call a local shelter or the human society," Major Brian Whipple of the Kent County SPCA said..."  More

Marsha Erskine- Spokane, Washington

Feb 9, 2012:  Woman Wants Charges Pressed In Animal Hoarding Case

How was a Hillyard woman able to hoard hundreds of animals over nearly three decades without anybody stopping her?
That's the question on many minds after Spokanimal officers again seized dozens of animals Wednesday from Marsha Erskine's home on East Crown.
That small home she lived in was a private hell for 50 animals.

"He is wanting something to drink but he couldn't drink because the trough that was filled for him with water was frozen and you can see where he'd been licking it," Marilyn Mayer with Spokanimal said.
One of the cats that was rescued has its skin peeling off because Spokanimal says it was forced to live in a kennel lined with inches of feces and urine.
The nightmare for dozens of animals ended Wednesday because someone finally said something.
"When I got there the house reeked of urine you could smell it a house away," Erin Wakefield said.
Back in October, Wakefield's 15-year-old Chihuahua disappeared. She assumed he was dead until in mid-January, when a friend spotted the dog at a Hillyard gas station; a special marking on her tail gave her away.
That led Wakefield back to Marsha Erskine's home where, she says, the animals there were begging to be freed.
"They just wanted to go; I know that sounds funny but they just wanted out and I haven't been able to get it out of my head," Wakefield said.
Erskine's husband answered the door and Wakefield told him she wasn't leaving without her dog. The man handed it over.
"She was horribly dirty, she was covered in feces, her ears were all rotted out," Wakefield said.
Wakefield is now working on pressing charges against Erskine..."  More & video

Feb 8, 2012:  Animal Hoarding Discovered In Spokane

by Alex Rozie

Authorities recovered more than 40 animals on the 3600 hundred block of East Crown Wednesday in Hillyard. Spokanimal says the homeowner is not only a repeat offender, but a "constant offender." Spokanimal Representative Marilyn Meyer described the animals as "bone thin" and said that they had been "sleeping in their own feces."
KHQ Local News asked neighbors on Wednesday if they had any contact with the homeowner. They said she always seems pleasant, but they knew her to have a problem with animal hoarding and that is why they continually report her. They say that she also used to have sheep and goats, but only got rid of both of them when they began to eat her siding.
Spokanimal representatives on scene said that they do not plan to fine her for each malnourished animal as she is of low income, but it seems likely that she will not be able to own any animals for at least a year..."  More