The following story was published on Examiner.com by Denise Carey-Costa and is reposted here with the author’s permission.
Animal hoarders exist in just about every community. At one time they were merely looked upon as well-intentioned people who were overwhelmed by the animal overpopulation crisis, and wanted to do their best to save these unwanted or abandoned animals. Animal hoarders are now recognized as individuals whose mental illness can cause criminal behavior resulting in horrific and often painful conditions for animals, the hoarders’ families, and their communities.
Hoarders often confine animals to tiny cages or crates that are stacked on top of each other, usually ignoring the animals’ social needs and need for exercise completely. Accumulated feces and urine often covering every surface in hoarders’ residences can create dangerously high ammonia levels, which can burn skin, eyes, and lungs.
These crimes are almost always fatal for the animals. If they do not die at the scene, most are made so ill or deemed unadoptable, having gone mad from confinement and deprivation. Tragically, the most humane option for them is euthanasia. Many animals who go undiscovered by authorities languish for months or years on hoarders’ properties, dying slowly and agonizingly.
Ann Centofanti of Fort Lauderdale, Florida was accused in 2010 of animal neglect via hoarding. She had dozens of dogs living in filthy conditions.
Centofanti is once again on the run and this time she leaves behind 44 dogs all taken to the Broward County Animal Care in Broward County, Florida.
When they arrived at the shelter all of the dogs appear to be unsocialized and none were housebroken. It is apparent Centofanti spent none of her time with them socializing or training them. The dogs are having trouble reacting to people or walking on leashes.
They were obviously terrified and appeared very reclusive. They leaned on one another for comfort with obvious fear in their eyes.
And while some of the rescued dogs may eventually be adopted, more than a dozen of them might have had to be humanely euthanized just because of the way they were kept by the accused hoarder.
It’s one of the horrors of hoarding,” said Lisa Menheim of Broward County Animal Care. “It’s a form of cruelty because you don’t have the wherewithal to take care of them properly, feed them properly, to spend time with all of these dogs properly.”
These dogs are so desperate for attention, they all cluster together just hoping to get some love.
“They’re loyal to the end,” said Animal Care Specialist Roland Jordan. “No matter what you do to a dog, they seem to gravitate to you.”
Broward County Animal Care put out a call for help and that call was answered by local rescues.
Little, Skye, Toby, Shannon, Sugar, Molly, Marla are being kept at Abandoned Pet Rescue in Oakland Park, Florida. the largest no-kill shelter in Broward County
All need exposure for potential adopters.
Carlitos, Laura, Sam, Maggie, Mona and Matthew need fosters.
Angel has been pulled and transported to HALO, a rescue in Vero Beach, Florida
Lilly and Shea went to adoptable status at the shelter.
Friends of Broward County Animal Care have been very instrumental in promoting all of the dogs and have set up a separate Facebook page just for them.
To visit the page and see pictures of the dogs needing fosters or adopters please visit:
or the Friends of Broward County Animal Care and Adoption page.
It will take a village to save these dogs but in the words of the late, great Nelson Mandela
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
Meanwhile, police are still looking for Centofanti. She faces 44 counts of animal cruelty which are third degree felony charges.
Read more of Denise Carey-Costa’s Examiner stories.