October 20th, 2013
I’m on the Board of the Humane Society of Goodhue County, have been for a while now, and GOOD NEWS!! Thursday, in Goodhue County, we were able for the first time to see an animal hoarder sentenced and required to undergo a psychological evaluation for harding. Representing the animals, through our Victim Impact Statement, we made this the top priority, with restitution of our costs (a very conservative estimate), secondary.
Over the years, we’ve had more than a few hoarding cases here in Goodhue County, and the Humane Society of Goodhue County is on call to address these problems, working with law enforcement and social services to inspect the home, assess the situation, and if necessary, confiscate animals.
Hoarding is a serious problem, and hoarding animals is even worse because animals are involved, living in squalor in a situation where the person responsible for them has no insight into the problem, no awareness that it is a problem, and typically the people involved feel that they are caring for the animals and no one else could do as good a job.
Small rescues often turn into animal hoarding situations, because there are so many animals needing help, needing homes, that people take animals in but don’t have sufficient resources to care for them, be it space at a rescue with a facility, through boarding, or available fosters. I know about this from personal experience — the rescue that took in our Kady and found her a foster out on Long Island until we got her, 6th Angel Shepherd Rescue, was recently shut down for animal neglect and abuse. Terry Silva was charged with 43 counts of animal cruelty and Samantha Kenney 28 counts. Terry Silva convicted of 43 counts of animal cruelty.
The woman running it had 29 dogs in her law office! Another article: Some ask “what justice?” in Delco animal abuser verdict.
So back home to Goodhue County. This Thursday, perhaps a little justice for abused animals. We had a win in Goodhue County District Court, a win because the court ordered a psychological evaluation for hoarding and compliance with the recommendation.
This is HUGE because hoarding is not something that just stops, hoarders start up all over again, recidivism is essentially 100%. Hoarding is now listed as a psychological disorder in DSM-V, and treatment is available, there are several practitioners in the area who work on hoarding issues. In this case, there were 26 animals, 7 dogs and 19 cats, who were neglected, inadequate food and water, lacking veterinary care, physical problems including rotting, loose and missing teeth, egregiously long toenails, filthy and matted coats, ear mites, and one with tumors. The animals were not spayed and neutered, and often in front of the house there was a large sign posted to sell puppies. The condition of the house was horrific, dog and cat shit everywhere, even on the kitchen counter, piled on furniture, and while they were confiscating the animals, a cat pissed on a bed! The smell was overpowering to the people on the scene.
The defendant settled for two counts related to the animals, and five other counts were dismissed, and as sentencing, one year of probation, the psych eval and follow up, restitution of $3,367.40 to the Humane Society (converted to a civil judgment as the defendant has no money) with specific direction to work through the probation officer to pay when possible, no new animals, and no contact with the new adoptive owners of the animals. Our goal was that the defendant be required to be evaluated for hoarding, and it’s ordered!!!
This is something that I want to see in every jurisdiction, because intervention is the only way a hoarder is going to, hopefully address hoarding. There’s no guarantee of progress or effectiveness, of course, but it’s a start.