April 20, 2014

Hazy sunshine

SPCA: 85 animals rescued from Hinckley Township farm

HINCKLEY TWP. — Eighty-five animals were rescued from a farm Tuesday in what appears to be another case of animal hoarding.

More than 40 dogs, two horses, four sheep, three rabbits, two potbellied pigs, cats, waterfowl, chickens and roosters were rescued by the Medina County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Executive Director Stephanie Moore said.

The Medina County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals on Tuesday rescued 85 animals from a farm in Hinckley Township. On Wednesday, volunteers helped clean up some of the animals at the nonprofit’s animal care facility in Medina. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY LISA HLAVINKA)

The Medina County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals on Tuesday rescued 85 animals from a farm in Hinckley Township. On Wednesday, volunteers helped clean up some of the animals at the nonprofit’s animal care facility in Medina. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY LISA HLAVINKA)

“Last week we received an anonymous email about a possible case of animal hoarding in Hinckley,” Moore said. “That was forwarded to our humane officer, and she went out on Monday and this is what she found.”

On Wednesday, many of the animals were awaiting medical treatment at the SPCA’S animal care facility, 245 S. Medina St., Medina. The livestock were at foster homes, but two dogs needed to be euthanized, Moore said.

All the dogs have serious dental diseases, and some have missing eyes, ear infections and lameness. Three dogs with severe injuries were hospitalized. A veterinarian treated the other animals at the SPCA office, she said.

Depending on their medical needs,some will be ready for adoption by June 4, Moore said.

The animals were rescued from people who considered themselves to be animal rescuers, SPCA Humane Officer Mary Jo Johnson said.

“They believe they are doing the right thing and provide good food and accommodations, but the animals lack individual attention and also lack medical attention, and that’s the issue here,” Johnson said.

Charges are expected in the case, Moore said. She declined to say the location of the farm until charges are filed.

It was the third animal hoarding case the SPCA has taken action on since November 2010, when it rescued 77 animals from a Lafayette Township home. In February, 124 dogs were taken from a Gloria Glens home.

Awareness about animal hoarding has increased as news media and television shows highlight the problem, she said.

“After what happened in the last six months, more and more people have come forward, so maybe they are more comfortable knowing there is an organization that can help,” she said. “Animal hoarding is a condition that has been swept under the rug for years and years.”

In March, an animal hoarding task force was formed to find out what resources, particularly in the mental health field, are available to address underlying issues.

“We don’t want to see stuff repeated with the same property owners, so we try to get a mental health professional involved so it doesn’t happen again,” Moore said. “There’s more at stake than animals. Families need help, too.”

Often, people who are animal hoarders feel that “no one is good enough to adopt their animals,” Johnson said.

She said those who hoard animals often are isolated, sometimes because of job loss and depression.

“I think hoarding is something we’re seeing in the community because people are losing their jobs, they start to get depressed and stay inside … their animals become their friends, family and companions,” Johnson said.

More research is being done on animal hoarding and hoarding in general, she said.

“I don’t think they’re bad people,” she said. “I think they had the animals’ best interests at heart and don’t understand when medical attention is needed.”

Contact Lisa Hlavinka at (330) 721-4048 or lhlavinka@medina-gazette.com.

(View more photos at: http://medinagazette.smugmug.com/Other/Rescued-animals/17240568_kN8HXj#1308655314_xSM9xZv)

  • harper

    Although there is no question that animal hoarding is a serious mental health issue (likely OCD / Major Depression) , I think that we STILL need to hold hoarders financially responsible for their actions via sentences that ALSO include charging them for the burden that they inflict upon animal shelters. Their actions seriously overtax an already overburdened animal care system with rescue, medical, food, space , and adoption demands — let alone the pain and suffering that they inflict uopn these defenseless creatures . We keep hearing that “hoarders are not bad people” and that ” they have no malicious intent towards animals” — with which I agree — HOWEVER — I don’t believe that a mental health issue, regardless of any absence of intention of inflicting suffering upon animals, should absolve any individual of avoiding the financial impact that their behaviors have had.

  • hoardresearch

    Thank you so much for bring this issue to our attention.

    I’m a researcher for the series Confessions: Animal Hoarding, currently airing on Animal Planet that tells the stories of people overwhelmed by the number of pets they own. The problem is on the rise and affect communities across America.

    If you are concerned about the health of animals in someone’s care and suspect they may be hoarding them, we might be able to help.

    Most animal hoarders don’t see themselves as hoarders, and sometimes don’t intentionally collect animals. Their relationship with their animals has threatened their relationships with friends and family.

    Most of these situations aren’t dealt with until they become criminal. This results in animals being euthanized by over-stressed shelters, and doesn’t address the underlying psychological issues – meaning nearly 100% of people end up in the same situation again.

    We are dedicated to finding comprehensive long-term solutions and believe therapy to be key to this. We can bring in experts to help people and their pets.

    If you or someone you know needs help because animals have overrun their life, visit http://www.animalhoardingproject.com to learn more and submit their story. Alternatively, contact me directly at help@animalhoardingproject.com or toll-free at
    1 -877-698-7387.

    We will treat all submissions with confidentiality and respect.