Attorney calls animal hoarding sentence a victory

by Ken Haggerty

Red Wing attorney Carol Overland (also a board member of the Goodhue County Humane Society) calls a recent Goodhue County Court decision in a Red Wing animal hoarding case a victory for animals, the Humane Society and hopefully the hoarder.

In a decision released by Judge Kevin Mark on October 17, the sentence agreement for the woman charged in the case included a first in Goodhue County: an order for a psychological evaluation and compliance with the recommendation after the evaluation.

Overland said the Humane Society had requested that the top priority in sentencing be psychological evaluation and not reimbursement of the $3,367 in costs the Humane Society incurred in helping evaluate and resolve the animal hoarding situation at a residence on West Avenue in Red Wing.

Overland said that hoarders start up all over again after animals are removed from their homes. She said hoarding is now listed as an official psychological disorder and that treatment is available.

In this case, there were seven dogs and 19 cats who were neglected, lacking enough food and water and lacking veterinary care. Many animals were in acute need of veterinary care due to loose teeth, abscesses, bloated bellies, and broken tails. The home was often selling puppies.

Three teenage children and three adults were living in the home that was in foreclosure and had holes in the floor, exposed wires in the ceiling and reeked of urine and animal feces. A garage, a carport and the basement were also filled with junk. Social services was involved in the case and child endangerment charges were filed.

The woman said people dropped off animals for her to take care of and she couldn’t let them go. She said they could not afford the Humane Society’s $75 surrender fee.

In the plea agreement, the woman was given one year probation for animal waste and license violations. In addition to the order for psychological evaluation/treatment on the hoarding issues, she must not acquire new animals or have contact with current owners of seized pets. Child endangerment and animal cruelty charges were dismissed.

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