Mar 19, 2014|
Animal hoarding. When does LOVE for animals become abuse? When does animal care become a sickness and a danger not only to our 4-legged friends, but to neighbors and the person doing the “caring?” Don’t miss our conversation about “animal hoarding” with Lynn Chiche (Sheesh) President of Spaymart and Jeff Dorson, Executive Director of the Louisiana Humane Society.
We're discussing the hot topics of the day with co-host of First Take, Todd Menesses.
Angela discusses the shooting in Lafayette and says farewell to WWL as she hands her timeslot off to Scoot.
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Angela talks with WWL-TV investigative reporter Katie Moore and Tulane law professor Tania Tetlow about the city's backlog of uninvestigated rape cases.
Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)
-- has been a very interesting today we have done that beautiful hour on local fashion designers and and a great Fashion Week it's being held this week in New Orleans. And onto our two new City Council people and wishing them locked. They have quite quite a bit facing them but their enthusiasm is there are clearly their hearts there so what they promised to come back and we're gonna keep them to that promise. And now moving on to a subject it is and is really a heartbreak. We've seen it all too often in our area people who make start out well meaning taking and stray dogs or cats. Or some -- just continues to add to their animal menagerie. But in so many cases it gets out of control. The animals are not taken care of often live in deplorable conditions. And the owner is either overwhelmed. Or in denial or both. Of the crisis. It is animal hoarding and it is very real and very tragic issue that we're gonna discuss for the next hour with jumped Orson. Who is president and founder of the humane society of Louisiana. And -- -- to his founder of Spain -- I'm so appreciative of both of you coming in and you war. Selected and are asked to comment specifically. Because you have both faced. Some really terrific reporting situations and I I think this is a subject we need to talk more about because. Every once in awhile they'll be the news story. You know 45 animals 150 animals are found and sat in -- we forget. And and we we shouldn't forget is this is a horrible way for these animals to live and frankly a very bad way for the people to. So Jeff you had the most recent case trying to take this back. What was going on well first. Thanks to you and for for you know promoting getting this the word out an inviting and night here again we -- way back yet. So we get the typical called it summary suspicious to -- he's having too many animals as certain smells. The owner looks funny it's not going well so. You know we immediately think the worst that -- This person is probably stacking up animals in the -- killer or her in her house so we knocked on the -- you know it's hard to get access that's number one. They don't have to listen. So we have to without a court order well -- she have to get evidence for that toppled Collison. So it's a multi agency multiple multiple agencies have to get the ball pretty quickly if you suspect according. Elderly protection -- have to get involved child protection of the kids in the house sheriff's animal control and -- on communication but first the knock on the door. Hello we let us in -- -- so can we take a look around you wanted to downplay what's going on don't want to let them know that we're very suspicious. So maybe the lettuce and we take a look in his obvious right out the gate the something's wrong why. -- dogs in the living room. Is filthy could not cleaning up. Another torn dog in the India caged in the bedroom it goes on and on -- and I simple seamless. It can be different types of species dogs cats ferrets rabbits. But -- until spot the profile of the person who answers the door. You know I I think it was a on an excellent. The definition that that I got from the Animal Planet. Website and they said that there they're actually. Some very key indicators that define someone as an animal border. And first and foremost it is a person. That has more than the typical number of animals in the home of Tom and and the second thing is that this person is completely and I unable. To provide even met a minimum standard of care. -- offer these animals there's there's no betting there's no the sanitation conditions are horrific. They're often presenting with respiratory and a sores and cancers and every. Disease she can think up that animals can -- can harbor. Let me chime in yes -- single females in the fifties and sixties don't know why but that's the typical profile. And they're kind of disconnected from their families and society slowly become kind of a hermit in their own health they don't realize was going on there you see on a fixed low income on top of that which is. You can imagine what's gonna happen who goes without. Who goes without is correct and you know if you just literally break it down and say what would it take to feed. Fifty cats or dogs. A day how much does it cost for kitty litter and for 25 cats and that isn't considered as bad as some of them have been. In numbers. That cost alone -- And all of a -- don't you think though that at some point it is that's interest in 56 year old woman. And I actually did a story on a man in that age but alone very much what you're saying. And they. A nationally are or what you think they're getting because they're looking for a -- so I'll take care of this cat I'll take care of the captains I'll take care of the dog and then all of a it's out of control. But in their minds they're doing a good thing. Yeah I think for the most part you know they did say that there are up for instance on a psychological as well as neurological issues involved here. That and there's a lot of things that people don't think about besides the person its warning to give love. They set a lot of these are can be someone suffering from dementia or maybe someone with posttraumatic stress syndrome. Are maybe you know somebody that's obsessive compulsive so. You know you concede that the breath that intervention would would take in order to deal with all these different types of issues. That can be that can result in an -- case but aren't there laws. Against -- -- Absolutely now enforced and it's tricky who's gonna be responsible for the hundreds sick cats and dogs that you find in the living room. So we have to have a team meeting usually in figure all this out who has thirty of 40000 off the topic -- -- sink into these hundred music. Is hundred so sick animals as complicated talk about your latest case because this one thank heaven for the kindness of veterinarians. But what happened. We get the call we get that we would do the knock on the -- we do get access. And lo and behold over hundred animals in the in the confined situation. It meets the profile. Animals are extremely sick that woman is out of control can't clean after the animals so we take -- pictures and we let her know you have a choice. -- be prosecuted or surrender she chose to surrender. That's not typical using the fight tooth and nail him using -- don't mean they -- can't see what we see. That the -- that that they're loving their animals that we're that we are taking away their low. Their loved ones. So in this case it wasn't so weak and we had to mobilize a 130 animals all in need of immediate cleaning care and sanitation. So we had to get our small team to -- Starks and cans. They weren't around the clock for two weeks it's like a mash unit yet to set up. You're triage -- to do every animal individually -- -- an assessment and evaluation and then the costs are dramatic. T dental issues. Hey you know everybody has upper respiratory -- infections. We're gonna pick it up right there please stay with us were were talking about animal hoarding the real world animal hoarding. I'll be right back over talking about the real tragedy of animal hoarding. Something that's very real in our area across the United States. With just dorsett who was head of the humane society of Louisiana and lynch each who's the founder of Spain march. Jeff you were saying that. You go into this person's house that gave permission to go land which is a big deal because they don't have to. And you instantly song this is a severe problem. And you when you sent here the options. You can be prosecuted or you can surrender -- This person decided to surrender the animals which he says that's unusual. Yeah again they're in denial they don't see a criminal activity -- seeing the wrong. So sometimes we're asked to leave. And then that becomes so problematic with the -- search warrant with to work with the local police and sheriff and let them know that no they're not after. Any money. That's a concentration for everybody but they have to get us back into the house. So we have to confer with Health Department the sheriff's may be local police maybe state police and get -- to get. And go back in. And in your bid to be ready. You gotta have your veterinarians on board and they're clinic and their technicians and you gotta have your supplies and medicines ready for a hundred animals so it's. It's almost like like I -- a mash unit you've got to get set up for this is not easy so this person says I won't. I'll surrender okay so you end up with a 130 dogs and cats and and you don't put what do you do for them in a moving van and will. Do we do have -- to be accommodated them we make great we make space week put the word out on the Internet we ask for help people do come forward we moved quickly. We get them in different locations safe houses other other humane societies patience host a big team effort. And it's still ongoing we just got a new transport and we and we sent out eighty some animals on the road to other states. Yes and Allen talk about that -- that's a very. Important uplifting thing that's happening but back to our hoarding so. There were no charges against this person what is to stop them from doing it again. Well we have that over them it's like a pending case that if you go back to this -- well people will go back to -- -- 130 council cruelty. So it's like an open case for several maybe two years and we'll keep monitoring it and do they go back. Who then we'll tell you the percentage that actually go back this practice. Almost a 100% yet she's had almost a 100% so there we have the social psychological. Problem and these people it always seek counseling do you see object to it the uncle willingly some of fifty get a court order for counseling. It's -- is complicated Angela as you can tell he's moving parts and pieces have to come together quickly. -- when I first went out to your sanctuary out of necessity to cat sanctuary. That -- had several hundred cats but the majority of them had come from. One hoarding situation yes and and these -- really aren't going to be adopted -- No but for the most part for the most part they're not gonna be adaptable so talk to me about did you knock on the -- mean how did you fund -- Well actually you know I think every case is different because we've been involved in several hoarding cases a fairly recently that the one you're referring to it was in 2007. Quite awhile ago we still we took a 110 cats. Opt out of this house and mom she -- actually wanted to help at this juncture because she realized she was completely overwhelmed. On she had lost her husband. And he was basically that the caretaker of the cats and she was in a dilemma and she was warning help she did not want -- to go to animal control because she -- it. That because of space and and financial issues and that probably would not be able to accommodate these cats. So we wind. And on I was gonna I was gonna try to do it in in in -- I was gonna take wage like maybe to benefit it was a 110 cats that when one run. There was no running water there was no electricity. All the windows were boarded up to try and and diminished the stanch the cows and neighbors were complaining and complaining. A strong at this at this juncture. And up and it was one of the most deplorable situation I have ever seen in my life on and there were dead carcasses. -- all about the -- or that that the woman was actually preparing dinner and there was and it kept under her kitchen saint. And it's like at this point their almost oblivious I guess is that they just don't know what to do and and somebody test it to an event like -- -- and and completely take this over. So somebody might say you might take the -- militants and put them in a box or bag or something and move those out I mean. I can see someone being overwhelmed but not completely functioning. As these cats had no water they had no food. I'll just swimming in feces on horrible skin irritation respiratory. That you know you've got where you gonna put a 110 cats. And and where you gonna find the finances to. Rehabilitate that many animals. And then you know year we still as I said we still have 38 of these cats left. -- -- yes -- adopted two of them last week which is amazing because there'll there'll older cats now through that senior senior program but. But it's not it's a real challenge to animal control and to to not rescue groups to try and and and do something of this magnitude. We had volunteers that showed up that they like jets say do you advertise on FaceBook QU -- with a dilemma out there of these animals and the suffering that their enduring on a daily basis. God knows how long these animals that suffered in these conditions like this it was just terrible at the neighbor and complained. Could've gone on for years I suppose you've just been more carcasses more carcasses -- but there. I guess the point is they're not seeing what you're saying. They're literally not seeing that and animals wasting away and not seeing the -- are not seeing how do they cope with odors. You know this woman had a bedroom upstairs that -- and two of her prized cats lived in and it's like the downstairs didn't exist. She did go down there to cook and that was it and it was like she lived upstairs. And what was going on downstairs on the invent it they that they literally had no food no water no nothing. And down and I do think it had deteriorated terribly in that in the months following her husband's death but. You know and just to thank how long this had gone home before we got some -- -- there. Was she the one you -- the husband was the caretaker part it was death but was she the one that was and you have to get the animals. She would find cat bring home I'm gonna make this has happened you know I think it started out Angelo where they had no resources. And they started out with these cats in the liberated and they -- bridge and the bridge and that bridge that continue to breed and they wouldn't let him out. For whatever reason. But I think it was a lot of inbreeding. With -- -- his district could did not accessed by notre. Options and and just didn't know what else to do and -- -- just let him -- so what has happened to dual monitor her. Yes we actually prosecute we took her to court and and she. They actually allowed her to keep the two cats. On that she had in the bedroom and down. And and and the animal control monitor her on a regular basis and I don't think she ever accumulated more animals we had to we did have a call. About oh probably ten months ago another similar case -- to convert thrift shop in -- -- the end somebody's gotta help me. And we went over to her house and I do want to save it's it's an interest in fact that was brought -- some of the literature. Is it. It is that 40% of the people that -- items. Are gone now or are gonna hoard animals as well that is a very interesting statement because yes and thinking about this is at the same as we've seen the pictures of people. Who floor to ceiling. My newspapers magazines junk. Beyond and that was exactly what we saw in the -- she had every baby toy baby clothes newspapers. They were stacked up from that 1950. And the cats were in carriers they were stacked six on top of each other they'd been in their two years they had never been out of that carrier except for her to change. And the the newspaper every two or three days we and euthanized to heaven because the muscles that atrophy so so terribly over two year. In the care they could even turnaround to go to the bathroom for two years and I'm like gosh. All right stay with this were gonna talk about happier things but again this is an important subject -- animal hoarding. With -- Dorset England changed now let's go to the newsroom for the latest there again our subject today is animal hoarding and and we're with. Two experts in the field just Orson with the humane society of Louisiana and lynch H who was one of the founders of Spain mark. They've both done for decades -- at work. Helping all kinds of animal issues but the hoarding is is just a heartbreaker because it's a very sad person. And you look at that and feel badly for them how did they get to this place and than it is very sad for animals who are really captive at that point. On something very interest in from month it was the ASPCA senior director of counseling a doctor Stephanie Lafarge said I've worked with many. An animal porters in their homes their mental illness allows them to -- maintain an absolute denial. Of the filth and the suffering of the animals they simply cannot see or smell or react to the situation as a normal person -- So you know if you are a neighbor and you know something is wrong next door or down the street. A motorist there the behavior is there. What should you do. What should you do it. You guys start the process of reporting it documenting it convincing the authorities that there's a problem here does not gonna go away and its increasing. And they have to take it's seriously the authorities who have gets the call gonna have some team meetings -- wind to an assessment. Come back out and start the process. And it's difficult and challenging we've all talked about it already how many. How many things you have to -- to prepare to remove hundreds sick animals who's gonna take that responsibility. Who's in charge for their lifetime care. You know let me ask that you just had a case it was a 130 dogs and cats. Of those how many lived. And how much did it cost in vet care those -- great questions that the public is always aware that that's behind the scenes some reason have to write the check. And it's ongoing remember that we can't. Automatically adopt these animals -- -- has some left over from a year several years ago some -- long term care some aren't adaptable why. Ongoing health concerns people don't want elderly animals all the time especially if they have health issues emotional issues. So. To answer your question we took -- 130 I think they all survived which was a miracle if I'm not mistaken. And they expenses on going I'm sure we put into 2000 already the vets themselves. Chipped in 25 PH two vets. It is a it could cost dramatically. Escalate the minute you take possession of them. Why you have to have that team to do. A valuations -- a 130 and that's hard remember you take your dog and it takes half an hour for an exam and measure the sick dog kind 230. And the cost of one vet care of one -- this that you and I both know that under 200 dollars with no problems. Now -- and all sorts of problems to that. And you're looking at tens of thousands right out of the gate. Now who has that lying around and then the calls keep coming and you know we have daily operations that we have to do that and in more -- he calls more complaints. -- and so is -- it's a challenge to juggle all these balls when you're small humane society remember the night don't get state or federal funding. What -- public entities asking for help from the public and we use what we -- what resources were given. And you know I would like and to. About what you can do cause that's important you know it's it's a huge -- you know we were speaking earlier about the fact that 250000. Animals are reported as victims reporting annually and that a with the last four years that has doubled that that's just the ones that are reported. It's probably triple that amount Angela so it's a huge problem. And everybody's gonna have to get involved and besides as Jeff was mentioning earlier if you suspect somebody distorting you can contact. On a local -- minds is as police department animal control you have to do something you can't just turn your head the other way. And the other thing you might wanna consider doing. Is to educate the public about animal hoarding a lot of people they just turn their heads of I don't wanna face the fact that it's a problem of this magnitude. And you could write a letter to a local newspaper to help alert fellow citizens about the problem animal hoarding and how we can stop. I put you in charge. I don't maybe in his I have so little did -- -- it's. I would just like I don't know both the -- do incredible things and we're gonna continue our top talent on animal hoarding actually let's quickly get a call Jack engine telling. Right now we're doing okay. Accused several years. Before Katrina Katrina when you opened with five kittens this government will -- You help me get this spaying and neutering and this is when you were almost no matter. Yeah spirited and I wanted to thank you up sitting out and look at you with one of the you know. I this this is you know this this type of -- conversation is really what makes it all worthwhile you'd. Gives you the courage to go on I I appreciate so much taken the time to call him. And Jeff -- I'm not -- neighbor who was running you know out of this. And we were able to discourage him from doing. Really. At least to me how they all kind of blend together and -- some. Was what we have all coming out name. That there had been shot -- you -- Now that men and now some nights now I'm glad -- but the for all the due to -- these animals. If you. The amount of. Yes we absolutely did things are looking up tremendously we battle a wonderful response from the public to help us outside. Nobody nobody suffered were doing wonderful but the. Literally -- truly blessed people like view. And -- and Angela in the community. Thank you very much for that Colin means a lot and and -- The -- that an an I like this she likes to listen to the radio. Its own efforts. -- I want everyone to stay with -- we're not finished talking about problems with animals run activists will we -- back talking with them Lynn she's with Spain Martin joked -- with humane society of Louisiana. We got a call from somebody who wanted to know. Give me numbers of you know if if you suspect. -- and these two very generous people are giving their numbers. For just -- Orson and the humane side of Louisiana it's 1888. Six humane. 18886. Humane. And for Spain march it's 601. 749. Zero to six -- eight at 6017490268. And they will help direct and may not be them. But you'll get the process going. I hope you are not totally inundated but you're good human beings let's talk about something happening. Jeff was talking about you discover new van. Right so and this is to -- such a positive that's happened in the animal. World and that is there are states and areas that don't have enough animals. So my golly aren't we generous and a little drive and a few I got a tell -- believe or not most of the northeastern part of the US haven't got got going on a space in news their animals and the deficit they had. They will take our our dogs cats not so much it difficult to place -- but to leave or not we load up our band go to Maine New Jersey. New York and they'll leave and we tweeting in the parking lot for they're gone. So we have to learn from them we can't keep doing this is not very cost effective now but will do it for awhile until our population gets the same message she got a picture animals guys. He can't just happened in the backyard breeding. That's why we're in this shape Letterman yes that we had to keep transporting our animals to other states that the make any cents. But so here's so that the positive aspect. Businesses are coming forward because nonprofits have to have help outside help we can't do it alone remember we don't sell anything which is to charities though. Some like we have a city income first bank and trust has stepped up thanks to them. They have really a pass their customers and the public to chip in so we had a beautiful new band. First one last eight years after Katrina. This whole program of delivering animals to other states happened after Katrina yes it opened their doors and continue to do so it's interesting historical. Part of our Amare and sheltering now. So to get back to what we're trying to accomplish as were asking businesses take a look how can they form a partnership with us how can they get their customers involved and help us raise money. How can we. Bringing together it's a fun opportunities to win nine month of may we're doing all sorts of things it's. That is be kind animals month's holy month will kick off and I'm looking your inbox. -- we asked you to be one of our judges for the net yeah I know. It's called -- a -- Steve for animals week. And we're asking the public to take a look what can beat duke in this whole week that would be a nice gesture trying to sort of multi speed and we at five Texas. And people are gonna send in their photos of what they did and a little summary two -- -- -- FaceBook and the five judges and I hope you'll be one will review. The wonderful things they did and pick three winners and wouldn't talk about who those winners on and get the month on TV and give him a little certificate and a. An an appreciation England which I think there are the majority of people out there care -- care -- -- and to be oriented to do something like that is fabulous. But take another break we'll be right back we have been talking about the the sad topic of animal hoarding. And it is it's deplorable it's sad for the humans it's a real tragedy for the animals to live and deplorable conditions. With -- each of Spain march and down. And look in writing gentler Jeff doors and with the humane society of Louisiana who just told us a great thing that's going to be happening and make. I'm happy things and having that be kind to animals and some projects they have and that is uplifting -- has something happening in June. I have something extraordinary. Fun and exciting it's gonna happen in -- we are starting our first annual cat video festival. It is going to be awesome and we're gonna have and its in New Orleans museum of art it will be held on June 28 -- tickets can be. Purchased from the spike -- I drifting gift shop as well as our web site. And die is just going to be able wanna make this a fan with Islamic at a festival let me manly thing they're lots of happy good things to thank you both some tests and we'll be back later.