Behind The Scenes At The SPCA: Investigating Animal Cruelty

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George Bengal of the Pennsylvania SPCA is like the Ed McMahon of animal rescues. There’s just one difference: When he comes to your door, he’s not bringing an oversized check and balloons.

“I’ve had cases where the people we’re investigating will say to me, ‘I know you, I’ve seen you on TV,” said Bengal. “And to that I say: ‘And now you’re going to be on TV with me, but it’s not for a good reason.”

As the director of humane law enforcement for the Pennsylvania SPCA, Bengal has seen everything from dog-fightingas seen in the recent Germantown case, to pet hoarding. He’s also a retired Philadelphia police officer.

With 12 humane officers on the team, the group can have a workload of 30 to 50 cases at one time. They also have the daunting task of enforcing the animal cruelty laws for 16 counties.

“People often think that we’re funded by the state because we’re enforcing state laws, but that’s not the case,” said Bengal.

His team is constantly following-up on calls and investigating animal cruelty and abuse. 

“We have a twenty-four-seven hotline,” said Bengal, “calls come in everyday and we look into each one. Every time I think I’ve seen the worst case, another one will top it,” said Bengal.

A look into the world of animal fighting

Bengal says he has seen horrific scenes of animal fighting. The fights, which are motivated by money, involve high-end betting.

“In one case, my team found half a million dollars in cash at a home,” said Bengal. “It’s a blood sport. These animals are trained to fight, even to the death.”

He says the fights attract large crowds and he’s seen over 100 people in one house. Spectators can be charged just for watching.

“In many cases, women will be cooking and actually selling food upstairs in the kitchen, while downstairs the men are watching the fighting,” said Bengal.

A dog rescued from dog-fighting. (Courtesy of the Pennsylvania SPCA)

He says the animals are trained to fight from a young age. Owners may start out playing tug-of-war with the dog as a puppy using a towel or rope. Eventually, they will start training with weight pulls for a sled, which are legal.

“They train them like it’s a fun game,” explained Bengal. “Eventually, they’ll put heavy chains on their necks to strengthen them, pump them full of steroids and have them run on treadmills. Animal fighting is like a boxing match.”

The fights are so serious that the owners will even pay for a cutman to treat physical damage during the fight.

“These guys will go so far as to put a sedative or poison on their fur, so that when the other dog bites, he’ll get weak and sick,” explained Bengal. “With cock fighting, they will implant knives or gaffs on the animals claws.”

When asked if the owners ever feel remorse for their actions, Bengal says they only think of the animals as valuable property.

“They’re mad when we take their animals because some of them are worth thousands of dollars,” said Bengal.

“Some of these dogs are grand champion fighters, and their pups alone can be worth $20,000 to $50,000.”

Dangerous hoarder homes

Can you imagine 110 Chihuahua‘s living in one home? Bengal can. He says that typically, animal hoarding goes hand-in-hand with other types of hoarding, which can mean a dangerous situation for both animals and humans alike.

“These are some of the most tragic cases,” said Bengal. “These people have serious issues. They’ve lost their ability to know what’s right and wrong. They don’t having running water, they don’t get things fixed.”

He says for many hoarder cases his team must wear protective gear and breathing masks due to mass amounts of feces and garbage.

“We’ll find dead animals inside these houses,” said Bengal. “One woman actually asked if she could take pictures of the dead ones before we took them out, she was that mentally attached.”

He says homicide cases for humans mean a felony or a death sentence, but when an animal is killed, it may only mean minimal jail time or a fine.

“When we go to a location, it’s a lot like a narcotics investigation. We get forensic evidence and autopsy results to determine the cause of death,” said Bengal. “We treat these cases as if it were a regular homicide.”

The SPCA works with the Licenses and Inspections (L&I) department to get people out of these conditions and find them psychiatric help. In some cases the properties may be deemed unlivable and are condemned.

“We try to do as much as we can,” said Bengal. “You have to stay professional at all times. Our job is a combination of a cop, social worker and educator.”

Healing hands at the SPCA

Wendy Marano, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania SPCA, says the group has a “no kill” philosophy.

“No animal comes here with a clock ticking,” said Marano. “We work hard to get them better, we want to give them a second chance.”

She says the SPCA team works to rehabilitate abused animals so that they may one day enter into an adoptive home.

News Link:-http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/homepage-feature/item/52547-behind-the-scenes-at-the-spca-investigating-animal-cruelty?Itemid=1&linktype=hp_featured

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Animal care workers find 113 dead kittens and 51 sick adult cats in hoarder’s apartment and nearby house

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  • Police and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for Monterey County in California discovered the animals on Tuesday
  • Officers were alerted by a property manager who discovered dead kittens during an inspection
  • Received another tip that more cats were moved to a nearby house

One hundred and thirteen dead kittens and 51 ailing adult cats have been found in an apartment belonging to a cat hoarder and in a nearby house.

None of the dead kittens appeared to be more than two months old, animal care workers in Seaside, California, said.

Police and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) for Monterey County discovered the animals on Tuesday.

Officers were alerted by a property manager who discovered dead kittens during an inspection. They received another tip that more cats were moved to a nearby house.

There, another group of investigators found 51 adult cats that were alive but sick and neglected.

Officials have declined to identify the suspected hoarder while the investigation is ongoing.

First aid: Workers at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) treat the injured animals

SPCA Sgt Stacy Sanders said: ‘The cats were living in extremely horrible conditions. They were separated into two groups and locked into rooms with little to no ventilation.

‘The floors were saturated in urine and faeces.’

Officers stayed for about six hours to recover all the cats because an occupant in the house had lost count of how many were there.

Sgt Sanders said: ‘We had to go through every nook and cranny, pull apart every bed and chair.’

SPCA staff members treated the surviving cats, which were in stable condition.

SPCA spokesman Beth Brookhouser said most of those animals had respiratory infections, parasites and broken teeth.

Two underwent emergency surgery for potentially life-threatening uterus infections. At least five were pregnant.

Two of the cats who survived underwent emergency surgery for potentially life-threatening uterus infections and at least five were pregnant

Sgt Sanders, who has a dog and a cat, said: ‘It definitely makes you go home and kind of hug your animals a little tighter at night.’

No arrests were made or citations issued, but the SPCA has referred the case to the Monterey County district attorney’s office to consider criminal animal abuse charges.

Sgt Sanders said authorities received tips the cats may have taken from the street.

The officers are asking community members to send in photos of their missing cats.

Ms Brookhouser said: ‘I hate to see any of these hoarding cases. They are all tragic in their own ways, but for me personally, this is the first time with so many deceased cats.’

Read morehttp://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2179134/Animal-care-workers-113-dead-kittens-51-sick-adult-cats-hoarders-apartment-nearby-house.html#ixzz21jzukBR3

 

West Palm Beach woman facing 45 counts of animal cruelty released from jail

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A woman whose home was once singled out by authorities as the worst hoarding case in Palm Beach County history was released from jail Tuesday afternoon after she was arrested a day earlier on more than three dozen animal cruelty charges.

West Palm Beach woman facing 45 counts of animal cruelty released from jail

Janna Howard, 60, came under scrutiny March 6 when fire rescue crews were called to her Greenacres home for a medical emergency. There they discovered an ill Howard living on her patio while some 50 cats were crawling among trash heaps. Authorities found that the home’s doors, windows and vents were covered with duct tape so neighbors could not smell the urine, feces and garbage that had accumulated.

Fire rescue alerted the county’s Animal Care and Control department and Greenacres code enforcement officials eventually condemned the home. Howard moved to an apartment in West Palm Beach, according to jail records.

Howard, an Air Force veteran from 1974-83, was booked on 45 counts of cruelty to animals, according to an Animal Care and Control probable cause affidavit.

She appeared before Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Charles E. Burton Tuesday morning in a wheelchair. He ordered she be released from jail under supervision and ordered her to have no contact with animals.

In an April Palm Beach Post article, Animal Care and Control Capt. David Walesky called the home’s conditions “deplorable” and said, “it is probably the worst hoarding case that we’ve seen in Palm Beach County.”

The scene inside a Sherwood Lakes townhome in Greenacres, where authorities last month found 45 cats scaling the trash heaps and two other cats dead. Officials called it the worst case of animal hoarding they had seen in the county

“I’m glad to see she could face prosecution for what she’s done to the animals there at her residence,” Walesky told the PostTuesday. “I think she needs to get some help for sure. It’s going to take more than prosecution to help her from doing this again.”

Walesky said Howard was involuntarily committed to a mental health center in March because she was seen as a danger to herself. She spent time at JFK Medical Center in Atlantis then was transfer ed to the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Riviera Beach. He said Howard is currently in some type of assisted living or health care program.

According to the affidavit released Tuesday, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputies, the Greenacres Fire Marshal, code enforcement officers and Animal Care and Control officers all were dispatched to the home on 27th Lane in March.

The Fire Marshal decided that the home was unsafe for anyone to enter, or stay long enough to remove the cats. However, officers wearing “industrial strength respirators” were eventually able to enter the home and round up the cats with traps.

Several cats had eye and nasal discharge and some had ulcers, according to the affidavit. Some were dehydrated and many had severe signs of upper respiratory infections.

By March 16 all but two cats were dead, according to the affidavit.

A veterinarian concluded in March that Howard, who was a cantor at St. Juliana Catholic Church in West Palm Beach for eight years, denied the cats the five freedoms of animal welfare: Freedom from hunger and thirst; freedom from discomfort; freedom from pain, injury and disease; freedom to express normal behavior; and freedom from fear and distress.

“Had these animals not been subjected to a hoarding environment, had been provided clean air, food and water as well as routine preventative veterinary care such as vaccinations, survival and longevity would have been far greater,” an officer wrote in the affidavit.

News Link:http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/news/crime-law/worst-hoarding-case-in-county-history-west-palm-wo/nPqMb/

Seized from Hatboro hoarders were 36 cats living in deplorable conditions

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Mother and her daughter team charged with more than 70 counts of animal cruelty on Thursday after authorities find three dozen cats in their Hatboro home.

Hatboro officials were forced to condemn the East Monument Avenue home due to hazardous health conditions.

Mom, daughter and cats were removed from the home after authorities found the house filled with feces and urine.

“They were hoarding cats in that home, which basically means collecting cats to the point where they are unable to care for them,” said Prosecutor Abby Silverman. “A lot of them needed veterinary care and it just becomes deplorable conditions.”

Armed with hazmat suits Humane officers spent five hours to clean out the house.

The smell from ammonia generated from the urine was overwhelming, said Machalette a Humane officer. Floors were buckled and feces was piled in every corner, on top of shelves and dressers, she said. “There was animal hoarding and other hoarding.”

“To this point they have all survived,” Silverman said. “My understanding was that a lot of them did need immediate veterinary care, so it was fortunate that they were able to get in there and rescue them when they did.”

Elwine Kimball, 85 and her daughter Diana, 51 were charged with 72 counts of animal cruelty and two counts of conspiracy.

“It was absolutely deplorable,” said Ronio, the SPCAExecutive Director, who saw photographs of the home. “Not a spot was not covered with fecal matter or urine.” The house was also filled with debris.

Read the rest at this News Link:-http://www.examiner.com/article/seized-from-hatboro-hoarders-were-36-cats-living-deplorable-conditions

Animals Rescued From Hoarder In Central Oklahoma – NewsOn6.com – Tulsa, OK – News, Weather, Video and Sports – KOTV.com |

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TULSA, Oklahoma 

Animals Rescued From Hoarder In Central Oklahoma - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

Farm animals rescued from a private hoarder are recovering at the Tulsa SPCA, according to Executive Director Lori Hall. Rescuers had to wade through the bodies of dead animals and waste to get to the living, she said.

The Tulsa SPCA is housing 42 chickens, 20 goats, eight bunnies, two Border Collies and a pig that were taken from an undisclosed location in central Oklahoma Monday.

The animals were being kept in “horrible conditions,” Hall said.

“The goats were very, very thin,” she said. “They said that there were 80 skeletons of goats and carcasses out there.

“The chickens were in a semi trailer, and rescuers just had to wade through the feces and dead chickens to get to the live ones.”

Animal advocates and friends from a Bristow animal sanctuary helped transport the farm animals to Tulsa where they are being housed temporarily.

The SPCA has had a good response from people volunteering to foster the animals. They are requesting donations to help cover foster care expenses until the animals are healthy enough to be adopted out.

For more information on how you can help, call 918-636-9935.

via Animals Rescued From Hoarder In Central Oklahoma – NewsOn6.com – Tulsa, OK – News, Weather, Video and Sports – KOTV.com |.

Tulsa SPCA rescues dozens of animals from cruel conditions – FOX23 News

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The Tulsa SPCA assisted with hoarding and cruelty case in central Oklahoma.

On Monday, the Tulsa SPCA and the Tulsa County Sheriff’s office rescued about 20 goats, 20 chickens, 8 bunnies, 2 border collies, and a pig. The Tulsa SPCA took these animals to an animal advocate from a Bristow animal sanctuary.

The sheriff’s office is only saying these complaints were filed in central Oklahoma. The case will be investigated as a animal cruelty because of the conditions at the location.

SPCA officials say bunnies were dying as they were being rescued and that the chickens were being housed in a semi and there were several dead animals in with the 20 chickens that were rescued. Officials also say there were 80 goat skeletons on the property in addition to the 20 goats that were rescued.

Lori Hall is the Tulsa SPCA Executive Director received a call Sunday from an animal cruelty investigator saying these animals needed to be removed from an animal hoarder‘s property immediately.

“See how skinny they are,” Hall said. “That’s just so pathetic.”

Hall believes she can find them good homes but she will have to deworm them and get them healthy enough first.

“I know once we get them in here we can take care of them and get them good homes and that’s our goal,” said Hall.

A veterinarian will be there Friday to examine all the animals. They are temporally housed at the Tulsa SPCA and will be moved into foster care this week, the animals will then be nursed back to health and be put up for adoption.

If you would like to adopt an animal you can call the Tulsa SPCA (918) 428-7722

via Tulsa SPCA rescues dozens of animals from cruel conditions – FOX23 News.

Consider animal welfare law – Malaysia

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NEWS that the existing Animal Act 1953 will be amended to provide for stiffer penalties against those found to be involved in animal abuse and cruelty against animals will undoubtedly be well received.

However, promises of an amendment to the Act have been spoken about by the relevant authority since the 1980s and despite years of appeal from animal welfare groups and NGOs the Act has yet to be amended.

Meanwhile, incidences of animal cruelty continue to be reported without any response as to when exactly the Animal Act will be amended.

It was revealed in the media last year that the proposed amendment to the Act would seek to raise the fine for animal cruelty from a paltry sum of RM200 or imprisonment for a term of six months or both to RM50,000 and a jail term of not more that one year.

In my view, any proposed amendments to the Act should also aim, besides heavier punishments, to institute changes in the way animal welfare needs to be handled in Malaysia.

To my knowledge, Malaysia does not have an Animal Welfare Act but only prevention of animal cruelty legislation.

This means that nothing can be done about the way animals are treated if it has not been subjected to an overt act of cruelty. The authorities must wait for the animal’s condition to deteriorate to the stage of prosecutable cruelty before they can act.

The proposed amendments to the Animal Act 1953 must be comprehensive enough to provide for animal welfare as a whole.

The proposed Bill should take into account the views of animal welfare groups, veterinarians and others who have invaluable input in this regard.

Animal pets have to be better treated and not as commodities that can be acquired and thrown away on a whim.

Click here to read the rest of this post:- The Star online

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