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Animals seized in Atmore

By By Adam Prestridge
The Humane Society of Escambia County seized seven cats, a Scottish terrier and a cockatiel Thursday afternoon from an Atmore woman living with four dead cats in her home that is infested with feces and fleas.
According to Humane Society Director Renee Jones, the four dead cats discovered were in “various stages of decomposition.” She added that the live cats were dehydrated, emaciated and infested with fleas and that the dog was heavily matted.
The owner of the residence, whose name and address is being withheld at this time pending animal cruelty charges, admitted to knowing that two of the four cats were deceased, Jones said. The woman does, however, live inside the city limits.
Jones said she personally attempted to assist the woman with her animals prior to the seizure after receiving numerous complaints.
Jones said Thursday’s incident is a prime example of animal hoarding. According to the Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium (HARC) at Tufts University, animal hoarding is an important, misunderstood and under-recognized community problem that affects both human and animal welfare. It is responsible for substantial animal suffering and property damage. Often associated with adult self-neglect, animal hoarding can also place children, elders and dependent adults at serious risk and can be an economic burden to taxpayers.
According to published reports, the term “animal hoarding” conjures up images of an eccentric “cat lady.” Despite the stereotype that collecting animals is simply a quirky behavior, recent research has pointed to a direct correlation between psychological problems and the tendency to hoard. Because animal hoarders quite often appear to lead normal lives, it’s important to recognize when a person’s fixation with animals has gotten out of control.
Charges of cruelty to a dog or cat (the Gucci law) are pending, Jones said. The charge of neglect under the Gucci law is a misdemeanor.
Jones said the Humane Society would be requesting ownership of the animals.
Burkley, Pugh and Atmore Police Department Chief Jason Dean joined Jones on the scene Thursday afternoon during the animal seizure.