What Is Animal Hoarding, Exactly?

This past month, we rescued 25 cats that had been living together in a trailer. The cats were sick, dehydrated and emaciated. But the setting was typical: garbage, boxes of useless junk, broken furniture from the floor to the ceiling. The owner of the trailer had abandoned the property and the animals.

This was just one of many hoarding cases we handled this past year. In fact, hoarding is the single largest source of the neglected animals—mostly cats–that enter our doors. And in some ways, it is the most heart-breaking, because the owners do not intend to do harm. Hoarding often starts from the best of intentions: “Animals need homes. I have a home that I can give them.” But animals need care and attention too–and their maintenance requires money. If one doesn’t have the space or resources to house animals in a healthy way, one is not doing them any favors. Hoarding also happens when owners don’t fix their animals. In a case we dealt with last year, we found dead kittens that had crawled into and gotten stuck in the walls of a person’s home, along with a number of adolescent cats that were already pregnant. She had started out with two cats and ended up overwhelmed with over 70 in just two years.

Hoarding is not the same as feral cat colony management. Hoarding is the collecting indoors of house cats, not feral cats, in unhealthy conditions. Colony management is the controlling of feral cat populations through trap-neuter-return, and the supervision of their feeding and outdoor accommodation. Hoarded cats can be re-homed; feral cats are generally not adoptable.

It may not be something we enjoy thinking about, but hoarding is a recognized illness, and when it involves animals, it becomes a matter of humane law. DCSPCA is not interested in how many animals any resident of the county has as long as it is within the guidelines of your municipality; DCSPCA is only concerned that all animals receive adequate care and attention. If you suspect hoarding anywhere near you, please call our humane law department at 845-452-7722 x431. We will investigate and if necessary, remove animals from unsafe environments, provide them with all the care they need to regain health, and find them safe and loving homes.

Dutchess County Animal Abuse Registry

Dutchess County SPCA logoFrom the Dutchess County Government website:  Local Law No. 4 of 2019, established by legislative resolution no. 2019205 and effective September 16, 2019, restricts persons who have committed serious animal welfare crimes from owning or living with an animal for a period of fifteen (15) years and to be listed on the Sheriff’s website in order to restrict their ability to obtain an animal.

Any individual convicted of an animal abuse crime after September 16, 2019 and residing in the County of Dutchess must register with the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office, and will appear on this registry.

Any person or entity transferring the ownership of an animal is required to inspect the registry to see if the person obtaining ownership is listed. 

This legislation was signed into law at the Dutchess County SPCA by County Executive Mark Molinaro and County Legislator Gregg Pulver last September.

For more information:  Dutchess County Animal Abuse Registry

DCSPCA to Honor Animal Rights Advocate Mindy Franklin Levine at Annual Benefit

The Dutchess County SPCA is pleased to announce that Mindy Franklin Levine, renowned animal advocate and resident of Dutchess County and New York City, will be recognized as the esteemed honoree of its annual benefit in December.

For more information on
the DCSPA’s Holiday Gift for the Animals,
please contact lynne@dcspca.org

“DCSPCA is on a new path in its mission and operations,” said Lynne Meloccaro, Executive Director, “Mindy’s lifetime of work for the rights and safety of animals embodies the highest ideals of animal welfare.  In honoring her, we are confirming our dedication to those ideals.”  Since January, DCSPCA has undergone some sweeping changes, including the hiring of experienced animal care and medical directors, the instituting of new protocols that reflect the best practices in animal welfare, and the expansion of its humane law enforcement operation.

Levine is a passionate voice for a number of animal welfare causes, and along with her husband, New York Yankees President Randy Levine, has worked tirelessly in support of animal rights throughout the immediate area and across the United States as well as overseas.

“It is an honor and my pleasure to have an opportunity to participate in a joint venture with Dutchess County SPCA. I had originally signed on as a volunteer because my hopes and dreams for this shelter and humane law enforcement are being realized each and every day by the hard-working, dedicated staff and administration of DSPCA. One only has to look at their ever-increasing and successful adoption rates as well as their newsworthy advocacy in humane law – including several high-profile investigations and arrests – to understand the importance of such an organization in an area as critical to New York State as Dutchess County.”

In addition to her advocacy work, Levine also serves as Director of the Yankees Universe Fund, which supports children’s programs and pediatric cancer research at Memorial Sloan Kettering. Levine and her husband, Randy, reside with their seven dogs, six of which have special needs. The Levines also have four horses (including “Oreo” the former NYC carriage horse) a mule, a donkey, and two cows.

DCSPCA’s benefit will be held on Sunday, December 15 at the Culinary Institute of America.  All proceeds from the benefit will go directly to the care of animals in its shelter and medical facility.

The mission of the Dutchess County SPCA is to make the community safe and humane for companion animals and people in Dutchess County, New York.  Established in 1871, the shelter provides temporary accommodations for stray and homeless companion animals in an environment that meets or exceeds the needs of the companion animals, encourage adoptions with new families, and accessibility to veterinary wellness treatment.  To make a charitable financial contribution, please call (845) 452-7722 or visit dcspca.org


Cat Yoga @ DCSPCA – In The News!

Cat Yoga Article – Southern Dutchess News May 8, 2019

Cat Yoga Article – Northern Dutchess News May 8, 2019

Cat Yoga Article on Patch.com – May 15, 2019: