Written by Michelle Kretzer
to barren, muddy pens with no protection from the elements, no food, and no
water, the nearly 70 dogs owned by Cajun Country "Ranch and Animal Rescue" in Wilburton, Oklahoma,
were struggling to survive. Their skin was stretched tightly over their rib
cages, and fleas and ticks had ravaged their bodies. The horses on the property
fared no better, their bones clearly visible. The bones of dead dogs lay piled
up like leaves, and more bones were scattered throughout the property.
PETA received a tip-off, we alerted local officials, who told us that they
shared our concerns. One of our contacts in the area was an expert on hoarding situations, and after
he surveyed the property for us, he confirmed our fears about the "rescue."
next day, armed with a warrant, police raided the property and arrested the
owners, Anne Marie and Shane Duhon. According to news reports when police entered the
couple's home, they found three children living in squalor. Animal feces
covered the house, including the children's beds, and cockroaches crawled
across the littered floor. Reportedly, the children were covered with bites
from fleas, ticks, and other insects. While the Department of Human Services
took the children to a safe location, a multitude of volunteers, mobilized by
PETA supporters in the area, came in with horse trailers and kennels and moved
all the animals to awaiting reputable rescues and animal
of the animals were so far gone that they needed to be euthanized. At
trial, the Duhons pleaded
guilty to child neglect and
cruelty-to-animals charges. They were put on probation for five years, banned
from having any animals during that time, and told that if they violated the
terms of their probation, they could face prison time.
While animal hoarding
behavior stems from a desire to "save" animals, hoarders' mental
illness causes them to keep amassing animals, and well-meaning people encourage
hoarders by giving them animals and/or money. They end up with far more animals
than they are capable of caring for—with disastrous, deadly consequences for
their victims. If you suspect that a local "rescue" is actually a
hoarder, alert animal control or PETA immediately.
Written by Paula Moore
attended an estate sale at a house that had belonged to a hoarder.
I've been going
to estate sales for years and have seen all manner of houses, but nothing could
have prepared me for the chaos within this one. Boxes stuffed with papers,
photographs, magazines, and old clothes were precariously stacked throughout
the home, covering almost every single surface.
There were boxes
on the beds, in the bathtubs, in the hallways, and on every piece of furniture.
Many rooms had a small pathway amid the clutter, barely wide enough for one
person to navigate. Frequently, someone would inadvertently send something
crashing down. Some rooms were completely impassable.
Now imagine that
those boxes were cages and crates stacked one on top of another, each
containing a miserable, sick animal, and that the surfaces were covered not
with clutter but with feces and urine. This is the reality when people hoard
animals, often under the delusion that they're "saving" them—and the
consequences are devastating.
PETA has investigated numerous
animal-hoarding cases over the years and, time and again, has found animals warehoused in deplorable
conditions. The investigators have seen cats kept in impossible-to-sanitize
wooden sheds and dilapidated, moldy trailers that reeked of ammonia, their living areas strewn with vomit,
trash, and waste. They've seen paralyzed animals forced to drag themselves around until they
developed bloody ulcers. They've seen suffering animals deprived of veterinary care—including
some plagued with seizures, diabetes, and wounds infected down to the bone.
is bad enough. But when animals are involved, intervention is vital. A majority
of animal-hoarding cases—at least 57 percent, according to one study—are
brought to authorities' attention by concerned neighbors.
If you suspect that animals are being neglected or
abused by their caretakers, even those who appear well intentioned, please be a
"nosy neighbor" and alert authorities immediately.
Written by Jeff Mackey
On August 20, Carole Van Wie, the operator of Bunny Magic Wildlife
& Rabbit Rescue, Inc., was charged with 13 counts of cruelty to animals. The
charges follow an August 8 raid on the facility—prompted by a PETA complaint—in
which law-enforcement officers seized 222 rabbits. Officials reportedly had to
don masks to rescue the flea-infested and sick rabbits from up to 4 inches of
feces and urine. Investigators apparently found one rabbit dead in a cage and
others denied food or water. According to news sources, seven of the rabbits
rescued that day could not be saved.
Originally posted August 8:
Welcome news! Today,
many, many rabbits are being removed
by Calvert County, Maryland, officials from what could be called a sham "sanctuary,"
Bunny Magic Wildlife & Rabbit Rescue, Inc., in Lusby. The seizure was
prompted by evidence gathered by PETA of systemic—and sometimes fatal—neglect
of animals at the "rescue," following a whistleblower's tip-off.
neglected rabbits’ nails were overgrown. Some caught on wire cage bottoms while
others curled dangerously toward the animals’ sensitive feet.
evidence and a detailed complaint to Calvert County Animal Control and State's
Attorney Laura Martin's Office, which has opened a criminal investigation into Bunny
Magic, run by President Carole Van Wie. We thank law enforcement for acting
promptly and PETA Investigations
& Rescue Fund donors for providing us with the resources needed to follow up
on the whistleblower's tip.
PETA found that
Bunny Magic consisted of little more than Van Wie's garage, which reeked of ammonia,
and a dark shed that was overrun with rodents. It had no paid help to care for its more than 200 rabbits and other animals. Van
Wie deprived rabbits of needed veterinary care and left contagious animals in contact
with others, risking the spread of disease. Photographs show that Bunny Magic was
little more than a hoarding
facility, amassing far more animals than it could properly care for.
Dead rabbits crammed
into a freezer
Scores of rabbits kept in cramped, stacked cages
are fastidiously clean animals) were unable to avoid stepping in their own feces, which was allowed
to accumulate for days
One neglected rabbit,
Rockette, suffered with a severely twisted neck, struggling to stand up on her
own; she was denied nursing and veterinary care and left to languish and
defecate on herself until she finally died. Another rabbit, named George, who
had a months-long respiratory infection that filled his throat with pus, was
rescued from Bunny Magic before PETA met with officials but could not be saved.
A veterinarian recommended that George be put out of his misery.
The rabbits are being rescued only because a courageous
whistleblower reported how horrified he or she was by Bunny Magic, reminding us
that we should never be
silent when animals are in trouble.
Please be sure, before adopting any animals, that you're ready to make a lifetime commitment to caring for them. Beware of hoarders
pretending to operate so-called "no-kill" rescues or sanctuaries who
promise to care for unwanted animals but instead will only subject them to
prolonged suffering and a prolonged, miserable death. If you take an animal to
a shelter, make sure it's
Victories like this one are made possible in part through
the generosity of PETA Investigations & Rescue Fund supporters. To learn more about this vital fund and how
you can support the rescue of more animals, click here!
Written by PETA
a huge victory for animals, Judge Greg Parker of Florida's 3rd Judicial Circuit
has ordered that Caboodle Ranch not get back any of the animals who were seized
following a PETA
undercover investigation. Just as importantly, Judge Parker
ruled that Caboodle cannot possess or
have custody of any live animals!
ruling comes after three days of evidence presented by both the Madison County attorney
and Caboodle's attorney. Judge Parker noted that Caboodle never adequately
explained why it informed county officials that it had 400 animals when more
than 600 were seized—fewer than 200 of whom had veterinary records. The judge observed
that numerous lethargic animals, laboring to breathe, were found in desperate
need of veterinary care in a deteriorated building among blood- and
mucus-smeared windows; that there was a "noxious" odor; and that similarly
sick animals were found across the property. In other words, the court
described a reality at Caboodle starkly similar to that documented by PETA's investigator.
Parker ruled that the evidence indicated "clearly and convincingly"
that the animals were not receiving proper care and concluded that Caboodle "is
not able and fit to have custody of the animals."
have been cared for in a temporary shelter and finally given the veterinary
care that they so desperately needed and the compassion that they always
deserved, have been turned over to the custody of the Madison County Sheriff's
We want to thank the Madison County Animal Control Department, the
MCSO, and the 3rd Judicial District of Florida State Attorney's Office for
pursuing this case with the seriousness that it deserves. We're also grateful
to the many humane agencies and responders who have labored tirelessly for
months to care for these animals and give them a clean, safe place to stay. Let's
hope that once they recover, they will find happiness with responsible families
who will give them all the love and attention that they need and deserve.
charges based on PETA's evidence—including a felony count for the neglect of one
cat, Lilly—are still pending against Caboodle founder and operator Craig Grant. Grant and
Caboodle continue to ask the public for donations, including money to defend
Grant against a felony charge of scheming to defraud those who already gave him money!
urge the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to end this by
canceling Caboodle's registration to solicit contributions.
Written by Lindsay Pollard-Post
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.
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."
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.
investigation of Angel's
Gate, Inc., a self-proclaimed animal "hospice and rehabilitation
center" in Delhi, New York, revealed that paralyzed
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.
This elderly, weak Chihuahua—given to Marino by an animal
shelter—suffered terribly without veterinary treatment for about two weeks
line between hoarders and no-kill facilities has always been a blurry one. After all, many no-kill
animal shelters' modus operandi is to avoid euthanasia at all costs,
even if it means caging animals for the rest of their miserable lives. But
thankfully, awareness is growing about the many ways in which the no-kill
philosophy promoted by Nathan
Winograd and others fails animals. Writer Phyllis
M. Daugherty explained the situation brilliantly in her recent Opposing Views column:
We all would
love to see an end of the need to euthanize behaviorally and physically sound
discarded pets, but there are just not enough homes to adopt them. Humane
euthanasia to relieve shelter overcrowding cannot be stopped just because it is
uncomfortable or unpopular without subjecting thousands of innocent animals to
suffering in packed kennels plagued with disease and injury or death from
attacks and fighting.
We must not allow them to be "rescued"
by those who are unprepared for or unable to provide for all their needs. We
also cannot, in the name of "No Kill" and in our rush to feel good
about having them "leave the shelter," release them into the hands of
someone who can sadistically watch them suffer and/or starve to death, often
with food available on the premises.
abundance of homeless animals in nearly every community makes it easy for hoarders
masquerading as rescue
facilities and sanctuaries
to acquire their victims. Spaying
or neutering even one dog or cat can prevent thousands of additional animals from
being born only to end up homeless, hoarded, or worse. It's also crucial to
support open-door animal shelters, which accept every animal in need and never
keep animals stored away like surplus merchandise.
Written by Heather Faraid Drennan
We may never know how
more than a dozen pigeons, crows, seagulls, and other wild birds ended up
crammed into filthy cages in a hoarder's home, but when PETA heard about
the birds—who were spotted piled on the sidewalk after the hoarder was evicted—our
Cruelty Investigations Department
contacted animal control and alerted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)
to potential violations of the state cruelty statute and federal Migratory Bird
Treaty Act, all the birds—some of whom appeared to be sick and suffering from
heat exhaustion—were seized, and officers launched an investigation.
Not only is it
illegal to possess most wild birds without a permit issued by the USFWS, these animals were also victims
a mental illness in which the hoarder compulsively acquires more animals than
he or she can properly care for. Animals are often "warehoused" in
filthy cages and carriers and denied clean water, adequate food, and veterinary
care. Accumulated waste and filth often lead to infections and the spread of parasites
and contagious diseases.
If you ever suspect
someone may be an animal hoarder, immediately contact law-enforcement
officials—following up if necessary to make sure that action is taken. PETA's report on hoarding
contains more information about how to protect animals.
horrific hoarding case
in Chicago is a reminder of why, despite any ill-founded "good"
intentions, hoarding never results in a happy home—for
anyone. It's absolutely vital to report all
known or suspected cases of animal neglect or hoarding to authorities
reportedly found a mentally disabled 14-year-old boy dead in a backyard,
wearing only a T-shirt. Inside the house, they allegedly found more than 200
animals—and three more sick children—living in filth and feces. Reportedly, all
109 cats in the house were suffering from feline AIDS and leukemia and had to
be euthanized, and many other animals were starving and diseased, including a
cockatiel whose spine was visible on his nearly featherless back. The children
reportedly had never been to school or a doctor and slept on the floor, and
their bare feet were caked with feces and dirt. The children's mother has been charged with child
abuse and cruelty to animals, among other crimes.
Hoarders exist in virtually every community, so it's crucial to be
alert to the signs of hoarding:
If you notice red flags of animal hoarding, please don't hesitate—call the police. Hundreds of lives—both animals' and
humans'—may be at stake.
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
police department. If the police are unresponsive, please call PETA
immediately at 757-622-7382 and press 2.
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.