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Anyone dealt directly with a collector before? - Page 2

post #31 of 37
Thread Starter 
Blossom - I appreciate your perspective. In case I wasn't clear on our involvement, we stepped in to do exactly as you suggested. Someone did turn the woman in, she was ordered to get rid of the cats, and her only options were to send them to a kill shelter, animal control, or work with us (no kill fostering). We found homes for all in no-kill settings, am providing neutering for any animal that remains in the house, and ongoing visits to ensure that she doesn't fall back into the trap she is in now. She is unlike your aunt, as this woman had no food in the house, we didn't see a single water bowl, and had waste everywhere. Had no money to vet them, and there was inbreading going on.

I am sorry to hear about your aunt. There are responsible people that simply have a lot of animals. And there is a distinct line between a collector and someone with a lot of animals. Unfortunately most public officials aren't necessarily educated on distinquishing between the two. Also unfortunate, there are folks out there that think they are bettering society by sticking their noses into other people's business when they don't understand the situation.
post #32 of 37
Thanks to all who felt sorry for my aunt. But I am sad some people really feel the "help" some of these people get is for the best, when too often it only ends in the deaths of the cats and the destruction of the life of the individual. For example, the story of the 95 year old woman whose son turned her in. Poor old soul, how much longer did she have to live? Couldn't she have spent it with her beloved cats? They'd have been taken away anyway when she died, but she wouldn't have known. The story said she was 'in the hands of professionals', what is that, the nut house or the old folks home? Either way I'm sure she was miserable, guilty over cats and hating her son for doing that to her. I hope she never spoke to that creep again. In her case, she was happy, the cats were happy, and she should have been able to live out her life her own way. If she passed away a year sooner than she would have with the "professionals" she'd have died happier and more peacefully. Poor old thing.

The reason I posted this was to bring another side of the issue to light, so maybe people would consider how negatively it can affect someone's life. These are lives, people, and animals, not a pile of junk that can be thrown out. One more thing that upsets me is that 'collectors' are more often prosecuted and condemned than those who abuse animals on purpose through shooting, poisoning, or setting them on fire. Collectors feel they are saving the animals' lives, and knowing they failed in even that devastates them. Like I said, if you really want to "HELP" the worst thing you can do is to get the person in trouble with the law! Offer to help them get out of their situation, or at least improve it, before they get caught. Legal action and monetary fees and fines, and public humiliation on the local news, is the worst thing that could happen, and is not 'help.' Please.

I did also hear just a couple months ago from a friend that their church was asked to go help a family clean up their home. This was a relatively wealthy family, three generations in one large house, with several dozen dogs and cats from attic to basement. They said the family loved them all as pets, and had them all named, even if only by their fur pattern after they ran out of names. This church group managed to move some of the animals outside (they lived on a farm) find homes for others, and clean the place up. But not one person, not one, ran to the cops and ruined the lives of the family and the pets. God Bless them! Bless those of you who have and are really helping people and animals by cleaning and finding homes and care for excess pets.
post #33 of 37
Hmmm, I think we were a little hard on that 95 year old womans son. He was a creep because he cared about the conditions she lived in? Lets make sure we know the truth. If you heard the story by the media, I am sure it was far from the truth as our news people love to stretch the truth. Maybe the son was trying to get his mother out of a home that was filled with filth. Not exactly where I would want my 95 yo mom to live. Another question, could a 95 yo woman really take care of that many cats? (I am not sure how many she had) But the cats may have been suffering as well. She may not have been taking care of them anymore. I also never heard of anyone prosecuted for being a collector, I don't think there are laws about that, at least where I live. You may be told you have to remove some of your cats however, which I agree, as long as they are WELL taken care for, spayed and neutered, there should be no need. Collectors may "feel" they are saving the animals lives, but more often than not, this is NOT the case. The animals are suffering. All the stories I have heard, until now, have been about a person who lives alone with way to many animals, that they are not taking care of. Dead animals in the home, urine and feces on the walls and furniture, no food to feed them. This is NOT good for any animal. I do not believe that these animals are always destroyed either, the stories I have heard, they do try to find homes. The "authorities" around here even get the local shelters to help. Calling the cops does NOT ruin people lives, PEOPLE ruin there own lives. In the long run yes, if you as neighbors and friends can help someone who has that many animals, that is great. But, the person that you are trying to help has to be willing to admit that they need help. All to often, these people really believe there is no problem. Yes, taking legal action CAN help. In your aunt's case, she may have been allowed to keep all her cats. The city/community where she lived may have had NO legal action to do what they were doing, if her animals were well taken care of and the home she lived in was not a health hazard to the people living there and her neighbors.
post #34 of 37
Bobcat, where my aunt lived, you were only allowed 4 companion animals. She had 27. For each cat over 4, charges can be brought. Each one that is not vaccinated is an $80 fine each. If they were deemed to be in unhealthy conditions or an unsafe house, the person can be charged with cruelty to animals, which can bring a fine of up to $5000 and a year in prison for EACH charge. (which is why I was upset that more collectors are prosecuted than those who torture animals on purpose. People who have set dogs afire live face the same exact charges as collectors, and that is wrong!)So a "collector" with 20 cats faces large fines and years in jail. The most I saw a person get was 8 years, bu that's a lot. My aunt was released and served no additional time, but the fines and lawyer fees were astronomical. You may say a person ruins their own life and that may be true, but if they are in a bad situation the very last thing they need is some busybody turning them into the law and getting them into deep trouble. I still don't think the 95 year old woman should have been turned in. As I said, she didn't have much time left and would rather have spent it with her cats than being in a nut house or old folks home. Do you really think she would rather live her life laying in one of those places, knowing her son betrayed her and her cats were dead? I bet she'd have rather died in the dirty house with the cats. If the son really cared, he could have just taken her home with him. If anyone meets a collector or realizes they are related to one, they could at least have the decency to confront them with it and, even if they don't help, they can at least give the person a chance to change and clean up their own act before they get into trouble. If the person isn't scared by that and does nothing they are really nuts. But I don't believe that's usually the case. I can't believe anyone would be so cowardly and backstabbing as to turn in a beloved family member, or really anyone, without discussing the consequences or warning them first, unless there was malicious intent, or out for some kind of revenge(which is what happened to my aunt)BTW I read the 95 year old lady story here on this site.
post #35 of 37
your aunt was the exception as with any rule theres always an exception , I can understand why your angry , but in most cases intervention is for the best ,remember I said most not all. Most people can not afford 27 cats . I have a family member who has 7 cats I sat down and figured out if she was to bring them up to where they should be it would cost her almost 2,000 for all 7 cats , thats out of most peoples reach .

Theres nothing I can say that will make it better for your aunt , maybe her story will make an impact for people who report people when they shouldnt.
post #36 of 37
Hmmm, this is going no where fast. As I see it, I doub't that the son of the 95 yo woman wanted his mother to get into trouble. I am sure he tried to help and did not know where to turn. At her age, I am sure her son was in his 70's himself. I am sure he didn't know what to do and did what he thought was best. Yes, I agree, there are a lot of people that need to mind their own business, but in these cases yes, intervention is the best for all. Should these people be fined for animal cruelty? No, people need to recognize that these people do have an illness, just like the habitual drunk that gets in his car after having way to many and ends up getting into an accident. Most of these people do not realize they have a problem either. You can tell an alcoholic that he/she has a drinking problem, but until they realize it and are able to admit it, their problem will continue. So, calling for intervention does help. It's not to get the person in trouble, but hopefully get them the help they need. You can clean up a collector's home and find new homes for most of their cats, but down the line, it will start all over again. No, they are not NUTS, they are people who need help. No, I do not like seeing these poor animals suffer, I love my cats more than some people love their kids. But it is not always easy to find homes for 100's of cats at one time. Shelters are stretched to their limits as it is. They need money and food to care for all there animals. If you feel as strongly as you do about what had happened to your aunt, you should get involved with your local shelter. Volunteer to help or donate money and food. I do not have the spare time to help as I spend much time with my own cats, especially Amber, she takes a tremendous amount of my time. But, I do donate a lot of money to at least 3 local shelters. Every little bit helps and gives these poor animals more time to find new homes.
I agree with the cost Dana. It costs me about $100 per month, just on food and litter alone. This does not include vet bills. Anyhow, I am glad to see that the cats in this original story were able to find new homes Sorry that this went in the wrong direction.
post #37 of 37
Thread Starter 
In the case of this woman, she was going to be fined by the local animal control for each animal over the limit in this area. Since our shelter has a very good relationship with animal control (we place many of their animals through our shelter), they allowed us time to get in and place them to avoid assessing the fine (and possible legal action).

So, I guess I second the motion to get involved in your local shelter groups. Build relationships with city officials, educate the public on the issues of spay/neuter. You don't think that what you can do will help much, but if everyone turned there backs, nothing would get done.

I will voice my opinion on the 95 year old woman. I have met a number of older people that will not take an animal in because they know if they die, their animals would need to be rehomed and that burden would fall on someone else. I have found that responsible older folks, if they adopt, adopt an older animal, knowing that their time as caregivers could be limited. So, the woman was being irresponsible with her animals, and not really looking out for their welfare long term. Could the situation have been handled differently? YES. But did she need help in placing those cats? YES.

I appreciate the tangent this thread went on. Very insightful observations from all sides of the fence.
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