Thursday, May 31, 2012

Animal Hoarding: How Many Pets Are Too Many?

By Catie Keeler
Recently there have been several news articles on the number of pets that should be allowed in a home or physical area. Pet lovers want to be able to have as many pets as they can, while the people who are concerned about the number of pets worry about the care that the pets are getting. In the end it should come down to how well the pets are being cared for, and their needs before the needs of others. If you love animals you may already have one or two dogs or cats, and you may be considering adding other animals to the mix. There is no set number at how many pets are "too many", but you should take several factors into consideration before you get another pet.

Proper Care

One of the biggest considerations if you want to add another animal to your family is whether or not you can continue to provide proper care for the animal. Each animal takes time and money for proper care. Some of the saddest pet stories on the news are when the owners simply had too many pets, became overwhelmed, and were not able to properly care for their pets. It is best to slowly add to your pets one at a time, so that you do not end up having to give away animals that you have grown to love. Always consider the cost of food, veterinary care, and other variable expenses when adding a new pet to the family. Also, part of good pet care is having a plan in place in the event you have to evacuate. The more pets you have, the harder it will be to find a shelter or a hotel that will let you bring your pets.

Space Considerations

Another important aspect of taking on new pets is whether or not you have enough space available for your pet to run and play, as well as to sleep. This may be easier if you have a fenced in yard where your dogs can run around outside. However, you also need enough room inside of the house to accommodate your animals. If you have a large yard or live out in the country, you may be able to take on more pets and animals because you have the additional space. However if you live in an apartment in the city, one pet may be all that is best for you at this time. You must also consider the laws and ordinances for the area you live. Some cities, counties, states, and even countries have strict rules for the type and number of pets that can be kept within their borders.

Humane Treatment

Finally you need to be sure that you are treating your pets humanely. It is important that if you do have an extra litter or if you are breeding dogs that you have a space that allows the animals to stay healthy while they are in your care. If you are someone who wants multiple pets, you will need to make sure you have enough room and time to properly care for the animals. All pet owners (with the exception of commercial breeders) should spay and neuter their pets to avoid unwanted litters, and to help prevent health problems associated with intact animals. Before adding another pet to the family, you should always ask yourself "Why do I want this pet? Am I doing what is in the best interest of this pet and my other pets?" As tempting as it is to take in every cute kitten or puppy you come across, you must always remember to do what is right for the  animal and for your pets at home. Though it's sometimes hard to realize, the right home for that animal may not always be with you..."  Link

Forum will bring hoarding experts to Ontario landlords

The Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association (ONPHA) is excited to host landlords and community-based support providers at its Hoarding Forum, June 7 and 8, 2012 at the Crowne Plaza Toronto Airport Hotel. The event will provide vital training on working with, and housing, tenants who are hoarding to landlords from across the province.
The keynote speaker will be hoarding expert Dr. Randy FrostDr. Frost is a researcher and author of Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things. In addition, the Forum will feature Mary Boushel, Manager, Successful Tenancies, from Toronto Community Housing (TCHC), Doug Levitt, Partner at Horlick Levitt, Di Lella LLP, and a fire safety and community mental health experts. Our presenters will outline the impacts that hoarding has on community services and affordable housing landlords and what can done about it..."  More
For more event information visit:

Jeffersontown resident accused of hoarding cats

By Ann Bowdan

Feces, stench and half eaten rodents left on walkways led residents in one local community to call WLKY

They said one resident's hoarding of about two dozen cats has turned their neighborhood upside down.
There are plenty of children at play on Dolphin Court in Jeffersontown, but also plenty of cats. Neighbors said it's a hoarding situation that has them concerned.
"I'm tired of them coming in our yard, using the bathroom and stepping in it. And plus you got kids in the neighborhood who like to play with my daughter, I don't need all that crap back here," said resident Chris Gritton.
Residents said after years of stray cats in their yard, kittens killed on the roadway and a debilitating odor, they've had enough.
"I believe there are about 25 over there," said resident Paul Gaddie.
"I mean, that's pretty much out of control," said Gritton.
Residents said their neighbor allows dozens of cats to come and go as they please by leaving a window open. But they don't stay in the home.
Residents said they breed, grow and roam. Killing small animals and leaving them where children play, and even killing other pets like backyard chickens..."  More

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Mom is at center of abandoned dogs case, son says


A man accused of leaving 30 dogs at a Laguna Hills park a week ago told investigators he was taking them from his mother, who appeared to be hoarding them, officials said.
The man, who witnesses said left two kennels stuffed with the dogs – one with 14, the other with 16 – under trees at San Remo Park on May 20, was tracked by Orange County Sheriff's Department investigators after he abandoned a Toyota truck nearby. The dogs were left under two trees. One kennel held 14 dogs; the other held 16. Dogs were stacked upon atop each other. There was no food or water in the kennels.
Investigators first tracked the truck to a Huntington Beach address but learned the man was no longer living there. They continued their efforts and on Friday located the man who was connected to the truck, said Lt. Tom Behrens, chief of police in Laguna Hills.
The man told investigators he had taken the dogs from his mother's Rancho Santa Margarita home with plans to take them to an animal shelter, but his car broke down in Laguna Hills and he unloaded the dogs there, Behrens said. He told investigators that his mother had had them for a long time and there were many dogs. According to OSCD Sheriff's Department records, there had been no calls for service to the home in question. The home is in the northern part of the city in a residential neighborhood near the 241 toll road. The man told police his car broke down in Laguna Hills and he unloaded the dogs there. It's unclear whether the man had planned to return and pick up the dogs, he added.
According to Sheriff's Department records, there had been no calls for service to the home in question. The department is submitting a report to the county District Attorney's Office to see if charges involving animal abandonment and animal cruelty can stand..."  More

Is animal hoarding a local issue?


Everyone knows what a “cat lady” is, right?

For those of you not aware, it's usually an elderly woman who has an affinity for feline companions. That companionship could be in the double-digits. While it is many times made to look like a joke, it is no laughing matter.

What may begin as someone with good intentions trying to help homeless cats or dogs can become a health issue for both humans and pets. In the Cadillac area, there are multiple shelters that are overloaded and underfunded.

Is animal hoarding a problem locally? Find out what local shelters and animal control think about the issue as well as the position of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. 

Two years ago, Michelle Kuz said one Osceola County home had in excess of 60 dogs. 

What originally had been a breeding operation quickly spun out of control and became a hoarding situation. Kuz is the director of the Osceola County Animal Shelter, and she said when situations like that one present themselves, the goal is to work with the person. The end result is an attempt to help the person as well as find homes for the animals rather than bringing them to the shelter, which is usually short on room and funding. .."  More

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Retired New Jersey school teacher faces 36 counts of animal cruelty

Cheryl Hanna

Bradley Beach resident Lorraine R. Smith faces 36 counts of animal cruelty after local firemen were called to her vacant house on 511 La Reine Avenue early Sunday morning and found dead cats on all three floors of the home. Even though there was no fire, Bradley Beach Police Chief Leonard A. Guida stated the alarm could have been set off because of the odor of decaying animals.
Accompanying the fire department was Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Chief Victor "Buddy" Amato, who stated the house will likely be condemned as a result of the filth and health dangers.
"When I went into the house it was just a nightmare,” Amato said. “It looked like a lot of the animals were cannibalizing one another.”
According to the Asbury Park Press, Smith, 65 moved to nearby Neptune to care for an elderly relative and was likely overwhelmed with the expense and commitment of so many cats as well as other demands on her time.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals  (PETA) state that hoarders are now recognized as having a mental illness or compulsion. Once viewed as "collectors," the consequences of animal hoarding are devastating to the animals, hoarders, families, and communities. These people fail to provide the most basic physical and social needs for animals - among them water, food, shelter, veterinarian care, and sanitary living conditions..."  More

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Our Website: Animal Hoarding - Alone in a Crowded Room

We are back up!

Please visit our website 
where we supply:  

Awareness, Education and Action

Awareness - you cannot solve the problem by yourself; without professional help hoarders often revert to hoarding.  Like any other addicts they require assistance by trained professionals to overcome their addictions.

Education - there are support groups, conferences, internet resources and books; by educating yourself you will come to realize that the problems your loved one is facing are not unique, and are unfortunately not easily solved.

Action - there are many resources available through public and private agencies.  If one agency is unable to assist, or the situation is beyond their scope, you may need to access others.  Remember hoarding is not easily solved; be prepared to walk a long and winding road.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Hoarding Task Force: Issue Crosses Economic, Geographic Boundaries

By William Callahan

Boxes, old clothes, newspapers, empty cans, food scraps and animal waste. Blocked doorways and windows. So much clutter a human being can barely move around.
These are just a few of the things found in residences tackled by the Fairfax County Interagency Hoarding Committee.
The committee, more commonly known as the Hoarding Task Force, responds to and works to resolve hoarding cases in the county, and there are more than most residents might think.
From 2008 to 2010, there were 413 cases of hoarding in Fairfax County. Officials responded to 128 cases in 2010, down from 146 in 2009 and 139 in 2008.
According to a Johns Hopkins University Study, up to 4 percent of a community’s general population may have a tendency for hoarding..."  More

Animal hoarding cases burden shelters, taxpayers


A group of 20 dogs living for nearly a year at the Ramona Humane Society in San Jacinto has plenty of admirers and potential adopters, but no chance of being placed in a home.
The dogs — a collection that includes wide-eyed Chihuahua and terrier mixes, a friendly black Lab, a boxer and five newborn puppies — were seized from the Menifee home of a woman accused of child endangerment and animal cruelty. Traci Kathleen Murray has declined to give up her pets while her court case has dragged on for 11 months.
The humane society must take care of the dogs until her case is resolved, at the expense of taxpayers. By the end of May, the case will have cost the city of Menifee about $75,000, more than half of the city’s annual shelter budget.
The case is not unique. Every year, Inland animal shelters spend thousands caring for dogs, cats and even horses seized from the homes of people accused of animal abuse. Some, such as a suspected pit bull fighting case in San Bernardino, can last years and drive animal care costs into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
In the Menifee case, Ramona shelter volunteer Denise Glass has started an online petition to urge Riverside County court officials to bring the issue to a fast conclusion. She said she started it to raise exposure for the plight of the dogs..."  More

Dinwiddie Animal Control seizes 60 equines from horse advocate


Citing malnourishment and a lack of medical care, authorities seized 60 equines Wednesday from a woman who once belonged to a regional nonprofit dedicated to rehabilitating needy horses.

Veterinarians brought in to assess the animals belonging to former Central Virginia Horse Rescue board member Sara Johnson were still combing through the herd on the Johnson's sprawling, 124-acre property on Thursday afternoon.

Law enforcement officers are keeping a 24-hour watch on the horses and donkeys as the investigation into mistreatment continues, said Dinwiddie's Chief Warden, Debbie Broughton. Dinwiddie does not have the resources to house this many seized animals, she said. For now, they will remain penned up at the Johnson's $866,000 estate in the 11000 block of White Oak Road, less than five miles from Animal Control.

Broughton said that some of the Johnsons' animals are extremely emaciated and score the worst possible mark on a nine-point scale used to gauge horse body condition and well-being. The entire herd is being treated for malnutrition and assessed for illnesses.

A woman who answered the Johnsons' home phone on Thursday declined to comment. The Johnsons will appear in Dinwiddie General District Court on Monday for a hearing related to the search and seizure, Broughton said. 

Commonwealth's Attorney Lisa Caruso said that she could not discuss an ongoing investigation.

Cindy Smith, a founding member of the horse rescue group that Sara Johnson belonged to in 2010, said that she was shocked to learn of her friend's situation. She also said that she felt partly responsible for failing to intervene after Johnson sent her an e-mail in January seeking support.

"She said she had too many horses and needed some help," Smith said..."  More

Friday, May 25, 2012

Henderson County man accused of abandoning dogs

A Hendersonville man has been accused of abandoning several dogs instead of turning them over to authorities who were investigating pet hoarding.

Henderson County sheriff's Capt. Frank Stout says officers took 40 poodle and poodle-mix dogs from a home last weekend.

Stout says the son of the dogs' owners is being charged with abandoning seven dogs after authorities thought they had all the animals. His name has not been released.

Brad Rayfield with the Henderson County Animal Shelter says 18 of the 40 dogs have been adopted. One of the dogs was be put down but Rayfield says the other animals don't appear to be in danger.

Stout says authorities do not plan to pursue charges against the woman who owned the dogs because she suffers from several health problems..."  More

Woman forfeits 94 malnourished horses, other animals in Dinwiddie

A woman has given up 94 malnourished horses and other animals that authorities seized from her farm in Dinwiddie County.
Sara Johnson agreed to forfeit her animals during a seizure hearing Monday in Dinwiddie County General District Court. Johnson also agreed to pay restitution to the county for the cost of caring for the animals.
Dinwiddie County Animal Control seized the animals last week Investigators say the animals were malnourished and in poor condition.
Most of the animals remain on Johnson's property under the agency's supervision because the county doesn't have a facility to house them..."  More

Socorro Woman Cited for Cat Hoarding

SOCORRO — The Socorro County Sheriff’s Department served a warrant on Tuesday at 806 Fitch in Socorro after complaints that there were a potentially unhealthy number of cats living at the residence.
Law enforcement officials enter a home on Fitch Street in Socorro to remove dozens of cats from a woman’s home. Dozens more were found buried in the backyard.
Authorities had recovered at least 60 live cats from the house, many of them inbred and in poor condition. The corpses of three cats were also removed, one so decomposed that only skeletal remains were found.
In addition, more than 100 dead cats were discovered in shallow graves in the back yard and side yard that had to be removed. A crew will continue to work until all biological waste has been cleared from the premises.
The owner of the property, 52-year-old Mary Baca, was ordered to vacate the property and locks on the house were changed. No criminal charges have yet been filed..."  More

Dogs seized from hoarder swamp shelter

By: Gabrielle Burkhart

RUIDOSO, N.M. - Dogs seized from a home labeled a hoarding case in Ruidoso Downs have flooded a shelter that's already bursting at the seams.
The Lincoln County Humane Society's Animal Shelter has 100 spaces for dogs and cats, and they're all full.
"As of Monday we were 110 percent full, so when we had 13 more dogs we were in real trouble," explained shelter Eexecutive Director Margaret Lahey told KRQE News 13.
On Monday Animal Control in Ruidoso Downs seized 11 Chihuahuas and two young Rottweilers from the home of a person believed to be a hoarder in Ruidoso Downs. 

All of the dogs ended up at the shelter in Ruidoso.
"They're a little bit scared due to the situation, but they're really friendly, they're really sweet," Katherine Vallo, a member of the kennel staff, said.  "They like to be around people.  They like to be close."
The animal control officer would not reveal specifics of the case due to the ongoing investigation but did say a neighbor brought the situation to their attention. All 13 dogs were living with a person in one mobile home..."  More & video

Lucienne Touboul - Arizona

May 24, 2012:  Wittmann woman in 2010 animal hoarding case arrested; more cats found
by Jane Lednovich 
An 81-year-old Wittmann woman again faces trouble for animal hoarding.

Lucienne Touboul was arrested Wednesday morning on suspicion of 26 counts of animal neglect and cruelty after it was discovered she was hoarding 64 cats, a Maricopa Country Sheriff's Office spokesman said.

The arrest comes nearly two years after authorities found Touboul with more than 104 cats in her home. Most of those cats had to be euthanized as authorities said they carried a feline virus.

Three years before that, a judge had ordered Touboul to give up all but a handful of cats.
This go-around, deputies searched Touboul's home on the 21800 block of Griffin Avenue and found 64 cats, Sgt. Brandon Jones said.

The cats were evaluated by a veterinarian and are being transferred to the Sheriff's Office Animal Safe House in the old First Avenue Jail, police said.

Deputies went to the home about 6 a.m. because Touboul had an outstanding warrant related to the incident two years ago.

In the 2010 case, the cats showed signs of severe respiratory disease, were severely underweight, and had ruptured eyes due to ulcers, Jones said. Nine dead cats were found in freezers. There was evidence that some of the cats were used for human consumption, he said.

Jones said Touboul admitted to police at the time that she would use the dead cats to make soup.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio issued a statement Wednesday saying that during his 50 years in law enforcement, he has never seen or heard anything so bizarre or disgraceful as eating cats.

Touboul in 2010 had told The Republic that she froze the deceased cats until a friend visited to help her properly bury them.

After the 2010 case, the Sheriff's Office notified Code Enforcement, Maricopa County Environmental Services, and Adult Protective Services, but Touboul refused help.
Jones said Touboul fits the profile of an animal hoarder.

Gary Patronek, who founded a research consortium in Boston to study animal hoarders, previously told The Republic that hoarding can be a coping mechanism..."  More & video

July 14, 2010:  Animal Hoarding: Ariz. Woman Found Living With 104 Cat
An 80-year-old Arizona woman has been found living with 104 mostly dead or dying cats.
Maricopa County sheriff's officials say the bodies of 10 cats were found in the freezer and other cats were found diseased or dying inside Lucienne Touboul's home in Wittman, about 30 miles northwest of Phoenix.
Sheriff's spokesman Jeff Sprong says Touboul was taken to a hospital for a medical evaluation because the cats had a disease that can be passed to humans.
He says Touboul also will undergo a mental evaluation and could face charges for felony animal cruelty and threatening to kill deputies if they touched the cats..." More

Deputies Investigate Animal Hoarding Case (video)

Monday, May 21, 2012

FOX Focus: Animal hoarding, out of control

by: Meagan Farley

At the Mohawk and Hudson River Humane Society, many of the cats that are victims of hoarding are kept in the “sick room."

“We have definitely seen a sharp increase in hoarding cases,” said Executive Director Brad Shear. Last year alone, the shelter saw eight cases. 

“It may not sound like much, but every other month these cases can involve 100 or 150 animals at a time. When we get that number of animals in a day it is just overwhelming,” he said.

With animal hoarding only now getting the type of attention it is, it is only now that more of the mental health community is starting to deeply study what causes the hoarders to do what they do.

Dr. Rudy Nydegger says the problem is the fact that the hoarder never looks for help because they don’t think what they’re doing is wrong.

“They think they are doing a good thing. To see it as something they should be punished for just doesn’t make sense to them,” he said.

Albany County District Attorney David Soares says his office has a Special Victims Unit. Animal abuse cases are part of it. Instead of throwing the book at hoarders, most are ordered to three years of probation to make sure they are no longer collecting the animals..."  More

From Hoarded to Hope: Kadin

Dog rescued from Bastrop hoarding case thrives in new home

One year ago this week, one of the worst cases of animal hoarding in Central Texas was discovered. More than 170 dogs were living in a filthy Bastrop home. Saving them became a monumental task.
One of those dogs is named Kadin. He only stands about a foot tall but is filled with personality. Today he races around a Northwest Austin yard with a squeaky toy and loving family looking on. What more could a dog ask for?
"He has turned out to be very loving and seems to appreciate what we have," said Shirley Bouvier who adopted Kadin.
The chihuahua-dachshund mix probably does appreciate what he has, because one year ago his life was radically different. He was one of  more than 170 dogs that had been living in squalor inside a Bastrop County home. Feces was piled two feet high in places. Food was scarce. It was so bad, the owners moved into a shed behind the home.

We did everything we could to get ready. What we weren't ready for was really the condition they were in," said Jonon.
They had fleas, ticks and matted fur, as much as 10 pounds-worth on a single dog.  The Humane Society got them cleaned up and healthy but needed foster families and people to adopt. Central Texans stepped-up fostering dozens and eventually adopting all. In fact, KVUE anchor Tyler Sieswerda fostered Kadin.
What a difference a year can make.
"He was just quiet, didn't bark, like I said, for about a month. Then slowly he came around, and we were able to get him to walk on a leash after a few weeks, maybe a month or so," said Bouvier..."  More & video

170 dogs rescued from Bastrop County home


Animal control officers found 22 more dogs Wednesday inside a Bastrop County home. Wednesday's rescue now puts the total count at 170 dogs rescued from what officials call "deplorable conditions."

They arrived at the Bastrop Animal Control Center hurting, wounded, and afraid. They are the last to be rescued in a record animal seizure in Bastrop County.

"We're all relieved," said Troy Walters with Bastrop County Animal Control. "All the dogs were removed from the house and are off into rescue."

Tuesday night, animal control brought 148 of the rescued dogs to Austin Humane Society; 25 have already been adopted.

It has been a week since animal control officer Troy Walters visited the house of Vivian Clawson after hearing it was overrun with dogs.

"The first thing that came to our mind was, 'We need to get these animals out of here,'" said Walters.
For Animal Control, the decision came after a look inside.
"Walls were chewed up, furniture destroyed; there's fecal matter two feet high in the entire house," Walters added..."  More & video

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