Our housemate Kay came across this news item:
A Peoria woman who was found with nearly two dozen dogs and cats crammed inside her mobile home has been arrested on multiple felony and misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty.

The stench from the home was horrendous and the animals were living in "deplorable conditions," Peoria police spokeswoman Shelly Watkins said Tuesday. "The animals were without water and many were deathly ill."

The suspect, Laura Yvonne Kuhn, 44, was taken into custody on Monday and booked on nine felony and 12 misdemeanor charges of animal cruelty, Watkins said.

It marked the second time in four years that Kuhn has faced such charges, Watkins said.

She was taken into custody in 2001 after 32 animals, including 20 dead ones, were found inside her house, Watkins said. Kuhn pleaded guilty in that case and was fined $1,300.

Nine of the animals had to be euthanized, Watkins said. The others accepted by the Arizona Humane Society for care and treatment, she said.

You hear about these animal hoarders from time to time. But usually it's not someone you know.

Laura Kuhn is someone we know slightly (friend of friends, basically). And in that 2001 incident, after her cats were seized by Animal Control and turned over to the Humane Society, she called around to everyone she knew, even us, crying and begging and asking us to adopt her animals from the Humane Society and then "please give me my kitties back!" on the sly.

Hilde and I looked at each other in the middle of that phone call, and said "Ummmm... I don't think so." If Laura couldn't take care of her animals properly before the 2001 seizure, there was no way we were going to help her get back her pets unless there was clear evidence they wouldn't be mistreated again. (Oh, and those "20 dead ones" found in 2001? Gosh, Laura never mentioned that when she spoke to us.)

With the new felony charges, Laura is looking at a possible three years in prison. And I can't really work up any sympathy for her. I know that animal hoarding like this is the sign of serious mental problems, but if prison time is what it takes to keep her from acquiring new dogs and cats to mistreat, I can't disapprove of it. I hope she gets mental health treatment, but keep her the hell away from any animals until then!

(What is WRONG with these people? Your animals are SICK! Your animals are DYING! You're living in FILTH! How much of a frigging CLUE do you need?)


talpianna said...

Bruce, cat-hoarding is a recognized mental illness in and of itself; there was an article a few years back in one of my cat magazines--probably CatFancy. The people who do it are simply not in touch with the reality of the conditions in the home--as opposed to people who simply like cats, have a dozen or so, and keep them clean, healthy, and well fed.

Do you remember the case in Mesa a decade or so ago (perhaps longer) of the two little girls, 9 and 12, I think, who killed their foster mother? Cat-hoarding was one of the things that drove them to it.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden said...

It certainly is a persistent pathology. You may or may not recall that Teresa wrote about it here: http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/002253.html