Dogs and cats, living in poop: the definitive report
A woman in Deltona, Florida was arrested last month after neighbors complained of horrible smells coming from her home. The police discovered more than sixty animals living in Linda Castillo's three-bedroom house. According to local news reports, the 45 cats and 17 dogs were covered in so much poop that officers couldn't tell which were dogs and which were cats. The floor inside the house was also covered in about five inches of poop. Firefighters had to wear gas masks and protective clothing to retrieve the animals from the house. It took them at least two days to get them all out -- they had a hard time even reaching some rooms in the house because of all the crap (literally and figuratively) inside.
Castillo is facing misdemeanor and third-degree felony charges. Enforcement Services officer Kathy Fick was quoted as saying, "This is the worst case of animal cruelty I've ever seen. The condition these animals were living in is deplorable."
Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. This is what's known as "animal hoarding:" "It occurs when animal lovers or rescuers take on more animals than they can manage or care for; thus, they unintentionally become passive abusers themselves. Hoarding can become both a cruelty issue and a public safety (health) issue."
I have to take exception to the term "animal lovers" here, because anybody who truly loves animals would know better. However, that's beside the point. People all over the country are hording animals or running "pet mills" -- the wicked stepsister of animal hording. (People who run pet mills, more commonly referred to as puppy mills (careful -- that link might make you cry), are basically animal hoarders who use their animals for breeding; but the disgusting living conditions are the same.)
I found several news items about other animal hoarders/millers who allow dogs and cats (and sometimes other animals, like rabbits and goats) to dwell in their own filth. The most disgusting of which may be the couple, also in Deltona, who had 25 cats (nine of them dead) and one dog living in their home. Animal control officers said that poop covered virtually every inch of furniture in the home: "The fluids were running down the side of the chairs. The sides of the chairs were actually stuck to the floor because of the feces on the floor. There was not an area in the house that was not covered in cat feces." The house, they added, should be condemned. The couple was charged with cruelty to animals and confinement of animals.
As if it's not bad enough that these people and their pets live in such filth, some have actually forced small children to live in these deplorable, poop-ridden conditions. One couple's puppy mill was discovered only because their ten-year-old son had a dog bite wound on his face and smelled like crap so bad that his teacher finally asked him about his home life.
Then there's Annette Dorsey of Grant County, Kentucky, who is on the run after 59 dogs and four cats were found in the home in which she lived with her three teenage children. The walls and floors of the house were soaked in urine and covered in feces and all the vents in the house were closed. Oh, and one of the dogs was living in a fish aquarium. Police also found forty more dogs in the home of her older daughter, who told local news that her mother "would never harm animals." I don't want to know what this chick's idea of "harm" is.
I could go on and on with case after case of animal cruelty and neglect resulting in dogs and cats living in poop, but the Legacy of Suffering website sums it up quite nicely, documenting nearly 90 cases from 2001-2003. We at PoopReport condemn all forms of turd terrorism; in this reporter's humble opinion, this is the worst kind. Forget that any normal person wouldn't be able to handle living in such conditions (how those people could stand living in poop-covered homes is beyond me) -- forcing animals to live in their own waste is disgusting, reprehensible, and inhumane.
I was trying to think of creative, fitting punishments for these people who don't seem to think that animals deserve such things a clean home and room to stretch their legs. If you ask me, fines/community service/jail aren't enough. The best I could come up with would be to gather them all into a room and let Daphne have at them. I have a feeling she could make them think twice about how they choose to treat animals. I invite my fellow PoopReporters to conjure up some other creative and fitting punishments for these horrible people.
On a lighter note, meet the world's tallest dog.