Severe Animal Hoarding
It’s being called one of the largest cases of animal hoarding to hit the area in recent memory.
A home on Salem Street in Lynnfield, MA is where 199 animals were being hoarded, and no one knew about it until recently.
The animals were discovered on Feb. 26th, when emergency crews responded to a call at the house and discovered a woman who had died. The woman, Gaye Miville, was the homeowner and her husband Leonard, was still living in the home with the animals.
The animals, which included 77 cats, 81 birds, 27 dogs, 5 lizards, and 2 snakes were voluntarily surrendered to animal welfare officials from the Animal Rescue League of Boston and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
A next door neighbor of the Miville’s said she had called to complain multiple times about the smell coming from the home, but each time the town stopped by the home, the homeowner’s would not allow them inside, and insisted they only had 3 dogs, 3 cats and 1 bird. The town had the option to obtain a warrant to go inside the property, but they didn’t, stating that the exterior of the home showed no signs that the conditions inside were a health hazard.
"Animal hoarding is a complex mental disorder in which people often view themselves as helpers and healers, but lose sight of the fact that the animals are living in unsafe conditions."
The Vice President of animal welfare at the Animal Rescue League of Boston, Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore, says “animal hoarding is a complex mental disorder in which people often view themselves as helpers and healers, but lose sight of the fact that the animals are living in unsafe conditions.”
Mr. Miville hasn’t been charged with animal cruelty or neglect, but has been removed from the home and ordered to hire a professional cleaning crew before March 20th. At that time, the town will have a hearing on whether or not to condemn the property.