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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
<a href="http://www.cantonrep.com/index.php?ID=102786&r=1&Category=11" target="_blank">http://www.cantonrep.com/index.php?I...=1&Category=11</a><br><br><br><br>
Why do people hoard pets?<br><br>
Friday, May 30, 2003<br><br>
By TIM BOTOS Repository staff writer<br><br><br><br>
Protected by an electronic burglar alarm, Rosalene Cosgraves two-story, white colonial house on Ninth Street NW was her sanctuary.<br><br><br><br>
From the outside, it was pristine. Manicured shrubs. Trimmed rose bushes and rhododendron. American flag on the porch.<br><br><br><br>
Inside, the 68-year-old retiree made her bed every day. She folded tight creases in all the right places, the way she learned when she was a little girl. Her mom taught her that practice makes perfect.<br><br><br><br>
Cosgrave, a grandmother, rarely allowed anyone inside her house. When she did, she kept her purse close by her side. Five times in less than two years she filed police reports, claiming she was being harassed, or that people were messing with her yard.<br><br><br><br>
Although doors to her home were closed to humans, they were wide open to cats of all shapes and sizes.<br><br><br><br>
Kitties, she calls them.<br><br><br><br>
Living alone, she figured she had room to take in strays. She wanted to save them from freezing, or even worse, from being torn to shreds by dogs. Nevermind that those cats urinated on the carpet and damaged some of her furniture. For a year or so, she collected every stray that wandered past.<br><br><br><br>
It was like seeing a little kid ... and I reached out, she said.<br><br><br><br>
She said she gave away lots of them, always finding a good home. But the numbers kept growing. Neighbors considered her a one-woman humane society of sorts. Authorities, acting on an anonymous call, went to her home March 12, prepared to break in if they had to. The odor of cat urine had seeped outside, escaping around closed windows and doors. Cosgrave came out of the house to meet them.<br><br><br><br>
Ms. Cosgrave had a very distinct feline odor to her, city health department sanitarian Mark Adams wrote in a report.<br><br><br><br>
A grandson of Cosgraves joined police, fire, health and Stark County Humane Society officials that day. He gave them permission to enter the home.<br><br><br><br>
Meanwhile, Cosgrave was placed in an ambulance. They strapped me in like I was insane or something, she recalled.<br><br><br><br>
She was taken to Aultman Hospital for psychological evaluation, which she said she passed with flying colors. I got all As.<br><br><br><br>
In the next week, authorities found 50 to 70 cats in Cosgraves house. Some were in ceilings and closets and blocking furnace ducts, according to city records.<br><br><br><br>
A week after that, Cosgrave was out of the hospital. She wasnt a harm to herself or others, criteria in Ohio for holding patients against their will. She said she never belonged there. Me and my kitties were never a harm to anyone, she said.<br><br><br><br>
They arent rescuers<br><br><br><br>
Randy Frost, a psychology professor at Smith College in Northampton, Mass., said Cosgrave fits the profile of a typical animal hoarder. Its a term researchers use to describe people who collect dogs, cats, rabbits or any animal, but cant care for them, or even recognize there is a problem.<br><br><br><br>
Alone and isolated, he said.<br><br><br><br>
But he added that hoarders come in all ages and races .<br><br><br><br>
Frost is on an eight-member team, the Hoarding of Animals Research Cosortium. It was founded in 1997 to study a phenomenon he said has slipped through cracks in the mental health field.<br><br><br><br>
Frost said the cause of hoarding probably is connected to mental illness, though the consortium is continuing its research.<br><br><br><br>
He said some hoarders consider their cats and dogs part of their family.<br><br><br><br>
Most of them also collect things as well, Frost said. There are emotional attachments between people and their things.<br><br><br><br>
Upstairs in Cosgraves home, bedroom closets were lined with clothes, many still with tags on them. She was saving them for her retirement. In the basement, she collected dozens of bottles of shampoos and soaps, so theyd be there when she needed them, she said.<br><br><br><br>
Gary Patronek, a consortium member, said hoarders are disconnected from society. They dont or wont notice that their collecting is odd. This denial is part of the problem, he said. Theyre unable to recognize there is anything wrong.<br><br><br><br>
They often are labeled quirky, or eccentric. People call them cat ladies. But Patronek said mental illnesses that may cause the behavior go much deeper than those harmless descriptions.<br><br><br><br>
There is a lot of awareness-building that needs to be done, said Patronek, director of Tufts Universitys Center for Animals and Public Policy in North Grafton, Mass.<br><br><br><br>
Its not about animal rescuing, he said. Its really about fulfilling a human need.<br><br><br><br>
In Canton, 16 people are licensed to own more than five animals and live in a residential area. They were grandfathered in under a 2000 city law that made it illegal to own more than five.<br><br><br><br>
Shirley Moore, who handles the licensing, said none of the 16 are hoarders. Often, authorities dont know of hoarders until the situation is out of hand. Usually, its when neighbors call to complain about the stench of feces and urine.<br><br><br><br>
Adams, the health department sanitarian, has made mental notes on cases he has dealt with in the past few years.<br><br><br><br>
Theyve lost touch with reality, he said. Its just these gradual stages of acceptance ... it gets to the point that what happens inside the house is the norm and what happens outside isnt.<br><br><br><br>
Familiar patterns<br><br><br><br>
Adams said Cosgrave was on a road to an ending he has seen too often.<br><br><br><br>
Like that of Agnes Mathys. In a visit to her 23rd Street NW home in May 1999, the 68-year-old greeted health inspector Jack Wade at the door, but she was nude.<br><br><br><br>
Adams said her cats had turned on her, nipping pieces of flesh. After police got a search warrant, they found trash and cat waste throughout the house. Mathys since has died.<br><br><br><br>
Or then-84-year-old Helene Pontrell, who in 1998 had 16 cats and two dogs at her Bedford Avenue SW home. Inspectors found hundreds of flies and animal feces in the house.<br><br><br><br>
Adams said she never left the house, and paid people to deliver groceries. Pontrell insisted the odor and flies were put in there by people who wanted her out. Last year, a Stark County Probate Court magistrate declared her incompetent Family Services Inc. was appointed her legal guardian.<br><br><br><br>
Or Carol Bennett, who had at least a dozen cats in her Lippert Road NE home in August 2001. The house was in such bad shape that city officials ordered it demolished. It was torn down last year.<br><br><br><br>
Cosgrave said shes living with a niece and nephew now. Shes trying to fix up the home on Ninth Street NW, to sell it. She said she has had disagreements with her two children.<br><br><br><br>
Sitting in the now empty house that still smells of cat urine, Cosgrave said shes not ashamed of trying to save kitties. She said it was a noble cause.<br><br><br><br>
Im proud of it, she said.<br><br><br><br>
Cosgrave left the hospital in March, less than two weeks after she entered. She said doctors gave her a dozen prescriptions to take, but she wont. She said they would have knocked her out and made her feel like a zombie.<br><br><br><br>
It would have put me out, she said. Theres nothing wrong with me. Ive been able to take care of myself since I was knee-high to a duck.<br><br><br><br>
Cosgrave said she doubts shell ever have that many kitties again. She said shes still trying to get back many of her belongings she said were stolen from her house while she was in the hospital. In retrospect, she said the raid on her house to take the kitties was likely part of an elaborate plan to rob her.<br><br><br><br>
Im like dust; I will rise, she said.<br><br><br><br>
Adams said family members, in some instances, share blame for allowing hoarding to occur. He said signs are easy to detect. Hoarders are isolated; wont allow people in the house; theres an odor.<br><br><br><br>
He said that beyond the malnourished animals, which go to the Stark County Humane Society, and the filthy homes, are sad stories.<br><br><br><br>
He said it seems deaths of husbands, or other similar traumas, trigger hoarding. Ive always felt that its a problem with the person. I never went in to one of these saying: shame on you.<br><br><br><br>
Adams said too often sons and daughters are content to leave their parent hoarders alone, because they are entrenched in their ways. The children want to let them die in peace.<br><br><br><br>
But there is nothing honorable about dying in your own house with animals going to the bathroom on and around you, he said.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Is this something that ARAs and AWAs need to address? Since hoarding animals is more of a psychological disorder, does it warrent attention by the veg*n community?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Arg... have I completely missed out on an oft-discussed issue here, then?
 

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This sentence annoys me "He said some hoarders consider their cats and dogs part of their family."<br><br><br><br>
So do I dammit. It's not a crazy thing to think. And it doesn't make me a hoarder.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block"><i>Originally posted by shewolf</i><br><br><b>This sentence annoys me "He said some hoarders consider their cats and dogs part of their family."<br><br><br><br>
So do I dammit. It's not a crazy thing to think. And it doesn't make me a hoarder.</b></div>
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I was offended by this too. As well as,
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Upstairs in Cosgraves home, bedroom closets were lined with clothes, many still with tags on them. She was saving them for her retirement. In the basement, she collected dozens of bottles of shampoos and soaps, so theyd be there when she needed them, she said.<br><br><br><br>
Gary Patronek, a consortium member, said hoarders are disconnected from society. They dont or wont notice that their collecting is odd. This denial is part of the problem, he said. Theyre unable to recognize there is anything wrong.<br><br><br><br>
They often are labeled quirky, or eccentric.</div>
</div>
<br><br><br>
Many declarations that a behavior is mental illness are pretty subjective. I like to think in terms of is it a problem to the person, is it harming others? Why can't a person do their own thing and not be labeled mentally ill?<br><br><br><br>
There are lots of people who hoard clothes, empty bottles, etc. And they very well may know it is eccentric. Maybe they just don't care that they are different. Has that ever occurred to them?<br><br><br><br>
As far as cat hoarding, though, yes this is bad if a person can't care for them. Unfortunately, the large number of strays is what is really feeding this problem.
 

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I agree with you Thalia.. people who have quirks that don't hurt anyone shouldn't be labeled as having mental illnesses. Some people who are obsessive compulsive will only use a bar of soap once before opening a new one... wierd yes but dangerous .. no.<br><br><br><br>
This story never once mentioned that there was a health hazard to this little old lady.. and while she most likely wasn't taking care of these ( 50-70 <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/shocked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":eek:"> ) cats as well as she should've, I think she kept taking in more of them because it gave her life a purpose. She was obviously lonely and it's terrible that they labeled this animal lover an 'eccentric' when it's everyone else in the neighborhoods' fault that these cats weren't spayed or neutered in the first place.<br><br><br><br>
Humane Societies charge on average only $20 to get your cat fixed .. but that's just too much for some people I guess. As long as there are lazy pet owners there will always be crazy old cat ladies.
 

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I think it's just pointing out that those who collect cats often have a habbit of collecting, so collecting cats is no different for them than collecting soap. Except that if you forget to feed the soap, it's no big deal.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block"><i>Originally posted by DirtDiva</i><br><br><b>Humane Societies charge on average only $20 to get your cat fixed .. but that's just too much for some people I guess. As long as there are lazy pet owners there will always be crazy old cat ladies.</b></div>
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When my mom worked at a vet, she said there was a lady who would bring in like 5 cats at a time and get them vaccinated and fixed and then release them. She wasn't part of a group or anything, she just wanted to do it (she was also rich)
 

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[Yep, that's Perry, a long-haired Rott who stays at our local shelter. He's one of my favorites, but he's going to be hard to adopt out because he doesn't get along with other dogs or some children. He thinks he's a lap dog, but he's really big and still overweight.]
 

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Perry is gorgeous... longhaired rotties are so bearlike. Is he overweight, can't tell in the photo, just looks cuddly!? They make the best lapdogs anyway...
 

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Uh, I think of my cat as a brother and friend..<br><br>
Am I crazy? (well yes, but is it for that???)<br><br>
I guess i am!<br><br><span style="color:#008000;">Danny</span>
 

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Oh, and I also talk to him....<br><br>
Maybe I should be evaluated...<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/tongue3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":p"><br><br><span>Danny</span>
 

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DannyKass, it's normal to think of your pets as family. And the majority of people talk to their pets. But if you start collecting pets to the point that it becomes a hobby, then you should be evaluated.
 

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Yeah Perry is like a big cuddly bear. He is overweight, and is on diet food, and he doesn't like to excercise, but he doesn't look bad (just really big). He loves giving kisses and sitting on your lap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I talk to my dog all the time! Granted, I also enjoy rehashing conversations in my head and sometimes end up talking out loud all of the sudden, but that's just me. I'm not a mental case. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/shocked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":eek:">
 

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that's going to be me - a crazy cat lady. i'm also a clean freak so the odour probably won't give me away. my neighbour who's 6 asks me daily "why do you want 8 cats". i tell her that i didn't seek them out - the families that had them didn't want them anymore. same as the rabbits and guinea pigs...
 

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Only$20.00 to get your cat fixed? I should move to where you live! In Sault Ste Marie,On it used to cost us around 200+ dollars Canadian to get a cat it's first shots and neutered/spayed. If we took him across the border to Sault Ste Marie, Michigan, it cost us half that amount US plus whatever the exchange was at the time. Now in Ottawa, I would assume that the cost would be the same or more.
 

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yeah, many animal shelters will offer discounts to low-income persons. I don't know about $20, but generally a lot cheaper than the standard vet charge.
 
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