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VeganMegan
04-09-2003, 03:40 PM
Here is one from my neck of the woods.


Wife, husband known for taking strays charged after animals found in sealed, feces-filled room (http://www.ohio.com/mld/ohio/news/breaking_news/5582036.htm)

More than 20 canines found locked in Springfield basement
Starving dogs shut in home

By Andale Gross
Beacon Journal staff writer

Inside a Springfield Township house where a woman known for picking up stray animals sometimes lived, humane officers say they found more than 20 starving dogs shut in a sealed basement.

The shepherd-mix dogs were locked inside a stuffy utility room with no food, water or adequate ventilation when their barks were answered March 13, said Tim Harland, senior humane officer with the Humane Society of Greater Akron. The floor where the dogs were found was covered with animal and human feces, he said.

Anita and Thomas Lee Kraft each face 54 counts of cruelty to animals.

``It's a typical case of animal hoarding -- that's where you go out and get a bunch of animals and keep them, but it's really neglect,'' Harland said. ``Like some people collect coins, some people collect animals.''

He said animal collectors like the Krafts mean well but often get into a situation where they have more creatures than they can support.

``They think they are doing right by the animals, but they collect so many that they can't care for them,'' he said. ``I'm not saying you can't have a lot of animals. You can if you care for them properly. Obviously, there's a lot of expense to that, a lot of work.''

Anita Kraft, 45, and her 43-year-old husband are due in Akron Municipal Court next Tuesday for a hearing before Judge John Holcomb.

Thomas Kraft said he and his wife care about animals.

``For years we've picked up strays and people have dropped them off in our yards, and we've taken them in,'' he said Monday in a brief phone interview. ``We were taking care of them, but things happen. It started out as us trying to do a good thing.''

He declined further comment. Anita Kraft could not be reached.

Harland said the Krafts were charged twice individually for each of the 27 animals taken from the house on Ellet Avenue in Springfield Township. In addition to the 23 dogs in the basement, there were two other dogs in the yard and two cats roaming around upstairs.

The charges stem from not providing adequate food and water, keeping the animals in a confined space that lacked proper ventilation and not taking them out for exercise, Harland said.

Anita Kraft has faced animal neglect allegations before. In December, the Humane Society of Greater Akron took her to court, claiming she abandoned two shepherd-mix dogs at the same house. The dogs' pen had not been cleaned of feces, and there was no food -- just frozen water, Harland said.

After Anita Kraft improved the living conditions, the animals were returned, he said.

Those same dogs were among the ones recently removed from the worn, white frame house. Harland said the Krafts allegedly drove stray animals they collected in Medina County to Springfield Township by the truckload.

He said the Krafts don't regularly stay at the Springfield house themselves, and are believed to be residing at a motel in Medina County. Thomas Kraft's business address is listed on court records.

According to Harland, there was human feces in the basement with the dogs because the house had sewage-backup problems.

The yard at the Springfield home is filled with reminders of the dogs, although the animals are now in a shelter. ``Beware of Dog'' signs are attached to the front gate. Doghouses are scattered around the yard.

Neighbors on Monday were hesitant to talk about the Krafts and their many dogs.

But residents tipped off humane officers.

Harland said the complaints included one from a woman who believed her dog was locked inside the house with the other barking dogs. Her pet was not among the recovered animals, though.

The dogs and cats were taken to the Humane Society shelter in Boston Township, where they are being kept in a space separate from the other animals.

``Healthwise, the animals appear OK,'' Harland said.

He said the dogs in particular are having to learn to adjust to living at the shelter. The animals seemed easily frightened at first.

``A lot of them didn't appear socialized. They probably had never been on a leash,'' Harland said.

Space is an issue because the Humane Society is having to hold all 27 animals while the matter goes through court. Adding to the problem is a recent rash of similar animal hoarding incidents.

Harland said he knows of at least two more pending cases.

herbi
04-09-2003, 03:58 PM
Uggghhhhhhhhh!

I really don't understand why this is such a common occurence!!! If you truly "love animals" then why is it so hard to see that they should not be crammed into a filthy basement with no food or human contact?!?!?! Bleah. The only "good" thing about dogs seized from so-called Animal Collectors is that they are usually very friendly towards humans (b/c at least the people don't actively abuse them) and other dogs (b/c they have little choice in those conditions!). So at least they are generally awesome adoption candidates once they've been cleaned up & had a few good meals. Sigh.

Lacykitten
04-09-2003, 05:15 PM
Animal Hoarding is a compulsive pathological "need" to take in animals. The people actually don't do it to be cruel. It's like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder - they're compelled to take in animals, usually because they think they can handle it, and conditions just deteriorate. It can be a sign of mental illness and many consider it akin to OCD and other such 'problems'..

Most of them do mean well, and believe that they are doing a good thing. That's no excuse for it and I'm not trying to defend it - but intentions do count for something. Having this "disease" is obviously really bad for the animals and something needs to be done.. but the reasons people do it are - mental instability, compulsive desire to give the animals homes, etc.

Here in Calgary a few years ago we had a woman with over 50 cats I believe.. it was horrible. I don't remember most of the details but they 'had to' euthanize almost all the cats. The dogs are lucky as they are more pack animals than cats are and seem easy to socialize among their own kind. The cats were diseased and so violent toward people that most, if not all, were killed. Aside from having no facility to take care of that many cats at once, quarantine, treat diseases, etc.. I don't think there was either much of a hope for rehabilitating the animals and getting them accustomed to human contact..

I really don't know enough about this sort of thing to know if something COULD have been done but I know it was very upsetting to hear about. This story will hopefully have a much happier ending.

herbi
04-09-2003, 08:46 PM
Originally posted by Lacykitten
It can be a sign of mental illness and many consider it akin to OCD and other such 'problems'..
Most of them do mean well, and believe that they are doing a good thing.

Yeah, I know, you're right... (sigh!) (And I suppose I prefer this sort of thing to cases where people deliberately torture an animal, but...) It just sucks is all. :( Sorry about how "your" local case turned out. Sounds like it was a tough one.

Lacykitten
04-09-2003, 10:00 PM
It DEFINATELY sucks, there's no if's and's or but's about it. It makes me really sad - but for me at least it's hard to get /mad/ about it because it's not like they meant for it to happen, and usually it's because of (in some way or another) a mental illness, and they can't stop themselves even if they realize what they're doing is wrong.

It's really sad for everyone involved I think. I can't imagine believing that I'm doing something good and then suddenly - wow, I've actually been causing lots of pain and suffering. That has to be really hard for the people to deal with as well. Not as bad as for the animals of course, but.. it's hard to imagine what it's like for the human animals to deal with that sudden realization.

shade
04-11-2003, 11:58 AM
I remember hearing about that woman with a stackload of cats here in Calgary.

It really is sad when people take in all of these animals and don't care for them properly.

When I was in Florida a month and a half ago the next door neighbor had 50+ cats. She actually took care of them (fed them and such) but it was insane as during hte day all of these cats just wandered around the neighborhood. Some of the cats would come to sleep in her house at night while others would keep wandering. Every morning (around 7am) and every night (around 9pm) she would ring the "meal bell" and call for the cats. They would come back into her yard from all parts of the neighborhood for their feast. It was almost kind of cute how they all did this. They neighbors weren't too fond of it though and called the police on her about a thousand times. Apparnetly the police refused to do anythign about it though because all of the cats were healthy and properly cared for.
It drove my cousin's dogs absolutely nuts with all of these cats running around though. (Then again they also went nuts over the geckos scurring across the backyard)

Lacykitten
04-11-2003, 01:54 PM
shade, thanks for the happy story about happy kitties in a non-abusive non-neglectful home. :)

I guess if you can't HOUSE them all, at least making sure they're healthy and fed is the next best thing - sorta like the "feral" cat colonies at the parliament buildings that are fed, and houses were built, etc?

San
04-12-2003, 10:09 AM
Originally posted by shade
I remember hearing about that woman with a stackload of cats here in Calgary.

It really is sad when people take in all of these animals and don't care for them properly.

When I was in Florida a month and a half ago the next door neighbor had 50+ cats. She actually took care of them (fed them and such) but it was insane as during hte day all of these cats just wandered around the neighborhood. Some of the cats would come to sleep in her house at night while others would keep wandering. Every morning (around 7am) and every night (around 9pm) she would ring the "meal bell" and call for the cats. They would come back into her yard from all parts of the neighborhood for their feast. It was almost kind of cute how they all did this. They neighbors weren't too fond of it though and called the police on her about a thousand times. Apparnetly the police refused to do anythign about it though because all of the cats were healthy and properly cared for.
It drove my cousin's dogs absolutely nuts with all of these cats running around though. (Then again they also went nuts over the geckos scurring across the backyard)

Did she take them to be fixed? If not, maybe that is how she came to have so many.

VeganMegan
05-05-2003, 07:42 AM
Abused animals costing agency
Humane Society spends $12,000 on case, hopes to find pets homes soon
By Andale Gross
Beacon Journal staff writer (http://www.ohio.com/mld/ohio/news/local/5741118.htm)

It has cost the Humane Society of Greater Akron more than $12,000 to house dogs and cats that were taken from an area couple accused of animal cruelty.

At a hearing Monday in Akron Municipal Court, Assistant City Prosecutor Gertrude Wilms asked a judge to move up the trial of Anita and Thomas Kraft so a decision can be made sooner on where to permanently place the animals.

Thomas Kraft's attorney argued for the schedule to remain in place. Municipal Judge John Holcomb kept the trial schedule on target for June 4.

Anita Kraft, 45, and her 43-year-old husband each face 54 counts of cruelty to animals. The couple allegedly housed 25 shepherd-mix dogs and two cats in a Springfield Township house without adequate food, water or ventilation.

Humane officers discovered the animals March 13 after neighbors tipped them off.

Most of the dogs were found in a stuffy, basement utility room. Animal and human feces covered the floor, humane officers said. The house had sewage-backup problems.

The dogs and cats now are being kept in the Humane Society shelter in Boston Township. It costs $8 a day to house each animal, said senior humane officer Tim Harland.

``It doesn't seem like much, but when you have that many animals, it's quite a bit,'' Harland said. ``And they're evidence. We can't adopt them out until the court case is done.''

In addition to the original 27 animals, Harland said the Humane Society is housing about 14 puppies that dogs in the group gave birth to while at the shelter.

Defense attorney Timothy McKinzie, who represents Thomas Kraft, suggested having the Krafts find a less expensive shelter for the animals.

Judge Holcomb said any shelter that he would consider would have to be suitable and licensed. He told McKinzie and Michael Walsh, the attorney for Anita Kraft, that they can file a motion on the matter.

Anita Kraft, who has faced animal neglect allegations before, stayed at the house on Ellet Avenue in Springfield off and on and was known for picking up stray animals.

Before the hearing Monday, the Krafts, who live in the Medina area, held plastic bags in front of their faces to avoid being photographed. They mostly sat with their heads down as their case was discussed.

The couple's next hearing is May 30.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Andale Gross can be reached at 330-996-3743 or agross@thebeaconjournal.com

herbi
05-05-2003, 12:32 PM
Argh! I hope the Akron District Attorney is better than ours. We just had to give 2 severely neglected dogs back to their original owners after fostering them for nearly 6 months while awaiting court, and because the prosecutor really didn't care and didn't bother showing up to the preliminary thingie (like my vast knowledge of legal terminology? ;)) and didn't introduce the motion at that time, we weren't even able to recover the costs of feeding, housing, & medical care! :mad: And this is with a sympathetic judge, which is usually not the case. Bleah.

jenzie
05-12-2003, 03:00 PM
This week on http://www.bestfriends.org/ there's an article about animal hoarding.

Though some of you might want to check it out if you haven't seen it already! :)

muppetcow
05-14-2003, 12:22 PM
A professor of psychology from the U of Nebraska Med Center came to the shelter where I volunteer a couple of months ago. Animal hoarding is a mental illness, which is what makes it so sad. The people hoarding almost always believe they are doing good by the animals.

The prof said one of the hardest parts about animal hoarders is treatment. When people hoard stuff, they go about getting rid of the stuff very slowly and it's part of the healing process, but with animal hoarders, the animals are taken away very abruptly which further adds to the hoarders' belief that animal control and the shelters are out to get them.

A couple years ago, we had a case where a woman had over 200 cats in her house. Her house was eventually condemned. It was very hard to adopt out the cats b/c several of them tested positive for feline leukemia, which means they'd all been exposed so we couldn't ethically adopt them to people who already had resident cats.