HomeCat NewscrimeSelf-deception and deceiving others in cat hoarding

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Self-deception and deceiving others in cat hoarding — 95 Comments

  1. Robert has indeed been a wonderful friend and a great support to my mother and me. Yves has not ever met Robert in person, and so he is not able to make valid conclusions about him or the kind of person he is. Robert is a tremendously unselfish man who has a true love for cats, and I am blessed to know him….as is my mother. I truly do not know how either my mother or I would have made it through the past few months without Robert being in our lives!!

  2. Minerva was my friend at one time. I remember after the first arrest when she was pretty much cat-free and telling everyone how much better her life was going to be. I hate to see they may be living in a van. What happened to their beautiful home? I worry a lot about Alexandra and her mother as well. I would hate to be 70 and homeless.

    I think Alexandra has such a deep love of cats she can’t help but surround herself with them. I don’t know what would help her. I do know that the cats in rescue are preventing those rescues from saving cats from kill shelters in Georgia because they have no fosters to care for them til adoption. It’s just sad all the way around. I don’t want to see her in prison because I think she’s a kind person. I only hope she doesn’t neglect her mother.

    • I agree with you Elisa: Alexandra has such a deep love of cats to the point where their health comes before her own serious health problems! She loves cats more than herself.
      She and her mother need help from genuine honest people (not like this Robert Herman). I’ll do my best and will be there for her.

      • Thats funny, Yves. You are the same person who has tried to convince Alexandra its you who truly loves her while sending her messages that you would kill yourself if she quit communicating with you or, that your MS causes you to act a certain way as to why you send her information about socialpaths about every man she shows interest in. Take a look at my Facebook and see for yourself a few of the recent pictures of me and her if itll help you to fill better. I also have read alot of your messages you sent to her over the years. You try to be manipulative and call it emotion but, she shes your game. Thats like you trying to blame me when she told you no, you werent coming to visit.
        Dont believe everything you hear people…

  3. After reading Robert Herman’s hypocritical comment here I am afraid I have to post my witness statement here. Robert Herman presents himself as defender of Alexandra here. He is not. In his correspondence to me he called her a “con” and a hoarder guilty of cruelty to animals. He succeeded in turning some of Alexandra’s friends against her. Robert Herman is a troubled deceiver.

    I happen to be in a relationship with Alexandra for many years. At the moment I live abroad in the UK and we agreed we would meet up soon this year in Atlanta (before her recent arrest and incarceration). I know her well and she is determined to bet cured from her mental disease.

    I blame Robert Herman for the psychological warfare he waged against her since last June. Given her two previous police arrests (animal cruelty), Alexandra is psychologically vulnerable. Robert Herman sensed that, as the good predator he is. Alexandra wrote me: “After all, he (Robert Herman) knows about my major problems with depression.” I blame him for having played a role into her trying to escape from her house and getting back to her pet hoarding addiction, she did out of scare and desperation.

    The problem is that Robert Herman has developed sick romantic fantasies about Alexandra since last June. He wrote to her saying he is “saddened beyond belief” of her relationship to me despite Alexandra wrote to him many times that she is not interested in him. Then he wrote her (we share emails obviously) that his goal was to end our relationship. He wrote me with hostility adding that “ive been writing her for over six months thats my wife someday, loser may yhwh judge between you and me!” Alexandra told me he even showed pictures of her to his mother with whom he lives in Atlanta (he is 45yo!). He wrote me hostile messages of hatred and, to quote Alexandra in her written correspondence with me: “(Robert Herman) is definitely a narcissist! He sent me about 25 pictures of himself yesterday – along with 30 new messages. I do not understand why a man would continue to relentlessly pursue a woman who clearly has no interest in him.” In fact he kept writing her everyday or night. She even received over 70 to 80 messages in less than two days! He also sent her many packages to her home via Amazon (including a stuffed Hello kitty doll and a CD collection from The Beatles). Yet Robert Herman denies being a stalker or harassing anyone!

    After reading his hostile messages against me, Alexandra wrote me: “His language is so crass! He does not seem very educated or very cultured. It is disrespectful of him to speak to my boyfriend in such a way. I cannot always make sense of Robert’s messages….but in his last message, he says something about my being gone soon- and possibly him being gone soon as well. I think it is time for me to sign up for a self defense class. He probably has a criminal record. My guess is he spent time in prison. Unless, of course, he has been in a mental hospital. So… I am not surprised that Robert believes that you are not able to offer me adequate support regarding my health, etc. He sees himself as being my “perfect match” -in keeping with the fantasy he has concocted. He lives within the fantasy, I think. That is where the danger lies….
    Robert is too delusional to see that is own behavior is causing me unnecessary physical and emotional stress. Yet he accuses you of not caring enough about me and my health.”

    Alexandra got increasingly worried by him. She wrote me: “and now here I am worried for my safety again. Robert is probably a sociopath. I spoke to my therapist about Robert and she does feel he could be dangerous. She says he is mentally unstable.” Alexandra also wrote me: “I am so physically unwell….I really do not need this unnecessary stress from him. I never asked him to target me. He sought me out. I never encouraged him! I am not feeling well. I know this latest turn of events with Robert contacting my good friend is affecting me. I think Robert may just be wanting to destroy me in any way he can. Maybe he hopes he could drive me to suicide. […] I am very glad you are across the ocean, Yves. I could not bear the idea that harm might come to you because of Robert’s obsession with me. “

    Ironically, now that she is in prison she can feel safer from Robert Herman!

    • Many thanks, Yves, for your comprehensive comment. I’ll read it slowly later and perhaps at that time provide a fuller response. Thanks again.

  4. I guess Robert, you did not see the news where they had 38 cats, including newborns in a cupholder in a car that was also filled with Trash. They really do need to get mental help for their hoarding. If they were really trying to save cats, they would find free or reduced spay or neutering.

  5. Whoever knows and believes in Alexandra and the care she tries to help the cats please contact me at

    robertherman@praiseyah.com

    they are being villified and castigated by Samatha at furkids at this very moment in a fashion completely untrue to thier nature in regards for the compassion and love of the animals… 4-23-2016

  6. I hate to make judgements without all details. However, hoarding, especially cats, has become a problem due to the kill rate at many shelters here in North Carolina. Many “rescues” pull more than they can care for as well.There is a case here with the ASPCA coming in to rescue 700 animals from an atrocious “rescue”. Obviously, with that many, they were not actively trying to get the animals adopted. They were JUST soliciting funds to care for hoarded animals.If I were rich, I would save any animal I could, but I’m realistic enough to know that I can’t.It is heartbreaking to constantly know that cats are dying in shelters everyday, but people need to understand that this situation will always be with us. A cat being rescued to simply live in a cage with no hope of adoption is NOT helping if you don’t work at finding them homes. Rescues saying adopt, don’t shop, while charging outrageous fees and criteria TO adopt are not helping either. They are no more than secondary animal selling brokers.

  7. Whatever anyone may say, many of those cats would have been killed had she not stepped forward and saved them. There is no way to tell what other cats may have been affected by this in the future: only that in the day that she took a stand and rescued them, that the ones living remained alive..
    She’s a saint.

  8. If you want the truth on this I can certainly tell you that. In August of 2011 I helped Minerva Love, a.k.a. Sasha Norris, soon to find out Alexandria Wingate, get 3 cats out of Cobb County animal control. I had been told what a fabulous rescuer she was and that she adopted cats to people all over the country via FB. Being new to rescue at the time and wanting to SAVE

    the cats at my local AC, I was thrilled she would help.
    I met her and her mom at AC and she said instead of 1 cat she could take 3…then I smelled her carriers when I helped put tthe cats in…the cats cried. The smell was horrendous. I help take them to her car….OMG, it was a pig sty! Even rotten lettuce in the floorboard. I knew then there was a problem. I began toask her questions….how many cats do you have? She couldn’t say….her mom said “We Have A Lot!”
    Poor cats were loaded in the car crying and AC had already closed. I didn’t know what to do.
    What I did do was try to get them back the next day….i was told they had already been adopted.
    I knew better. I went to the AC director and told him I thought she was a hoarder and I had sent 3 cats to her. That is when the wheels began to turn. I followed her on FB daily and watched her pull 20 kittens out of AC in the metro Atlanta area in a week and a half. I went to AC again.
    it took 2 months for any thing to happen but in Oct it all came crashing down.
    I personally contacted the 2 large rescues and facilitated getting them to come in to help. Meanwhile, 7 cats had been surrendered to Dekalb AC on their first visit – only seven were there because she had moved 100 cats prior to
    their visit.
    She tried moving them out before the bust but only got out about 30. The other 70 went to Good Mews and Furkids. I asked Furkids if they would also get the 7 in Dekalb out and they did.
    Sadly, one cat died in her care and it was Peanut….a Maine Coon, one of the 3 that I had sent. I was devestated. Claire and another person both went into the home personally and took photos which i still have some.
    I worked my fanny off to try and get those three cats out! The once she said had been adopted. It turns out she had pulled 107 cats out of local animal controls within a one year period. The reason they weren’t in worse shape was because most hadn’t been there that long. No, they were not all vetted. Yes, she tried to hide some of them from the rescues then, as she did again this time. Some had been vaccinated and spay/neutered by local ACs….that also contributed to them not being in worse shape.
    She had cats in carriers sitting around that she “forgot” they were in the carriers so no food for them.
    My friend called while she was in the home and said that cat sh..t was all over her shoes. She thought, as so many others did, that she could clean up the place.
    I got blasted from here to eternity and back by SO many people defending her…including Claire at that time. My responsibility was to those 3 cats…i helped save 70+ but sadly, I couldn’t save all 3 of those I gave her.
    That is the story of Minerva Love

  9. It is not enough to have the intention or act to save lives and rescue; furnishing them with the proper care, nutrition, safety, protection, and love, is mandatory. For everyone who has excessive numbers of animals in their care, without the proper resources and manpower to take care of them, the quality of life of these animals is being greatly jeopardized and their heath compromised. The absence of these fundamental criteria, the refusal to accept help to medicate cats and dogs when obviously ill, and the belief that these “family” members could never be better off anywhere else, is indicative of serious issues and a HOARDING mentality.

  10. I dunno. The Kats are healthy, save for a persistent flea infestation? (We all know just how tenacious fleas can be, even with a single cat)

    And they are well-fed? In good general health? They roam freely, and are not caged? The litter-boxes are clean?

    They attempt(ed) to find homes for some?

    So the house is a mess. I have seen worse – at times, my own included.

    Compared to the (hopefully) sterile setting of most shelters, I would think a house full of “adventure” a wonderful play-land for the kitties.

    (and let us not forget to acknowledge that most every one of those kitties would be likely murdered by the pound [aka “shelter”] if not rescued by these two!)

    Okay, so they are a bit addicted to kitties – who here isn’t?

    Maybe the answer would be for them to become a licensed cat shelter, instead of simply a private residence over-run by kats.

    But other than the likely need of some psychological therapy to address whatever human ill ails the two, I see little problem.

    A look at the charges filed against them reveals all 67 counts of “Animal Neglect” were amended to “Nolle prosequi”.

    Nolle prosequi is a Latin phrase meaning “will no longer prosecute” or a variation on the same. It amounts to a dismissal of charges by the prosecution (per nolo.com)

    It’s not illegal to be crazy here in the USA.

  11. I have known Alexandra and Sharyn Wingate for 10+ years, and I want to clear up a few things here. First of all, the comments from the person named Claire should not be accepted as valid. This woman is on a personal hate campaign against Alexandra (as is evidenced by those who read her FB page and see remarks like “I hope that little bitch gets what’s coming to her) and will make up what she needs to to make Alexandra look bad. Sharyn and Alexandra are not “classic” hoarders (as Michael Broad said). Their cats have always been well cared for and in both instances of alleged “hoarding,” the only real “health” issues found with the cats were fleas. Moreover, these two ladies were trying to find homes for their cats both in 2011 and this year as well. So, Claire’s claims that they did not want to “let go” of any of their cats is preposterous. I know for a FACT that they were DESPERATELY trying to rehome the cats they had in their home prior to this incident and had even tried to enlist the aid of the vet who turned them in to animal services. Which brings me to another point – if they hadn’t been getting vet care for these cats they wouldn’t have been turned into animal services – because it was a vet who turned them in.

    Getting back to Claire (it is important that I make everyone understand Claire’s agenda because from what I observe, she is spreading lies about Alexandra wherever she can), Claire did not cut ties with Alexandra because of anything to do with the alleged “hoarding” incident in 2011. Rather, Claire cut ties with Alexandra after she asked Alexandra to take care of a kitten Claire got off Craig’s list in autumn of 2012. This kitten was very sick and Claire could not afford to get the kitten vet care. At the time, Claire was posting on FB that she needed to “get rid” of at least 15+ cats she had in her home at that time – she said she couldn’t afford to look after them and couldn’t handle looking after them. Alexandra did initially take care of the kitten and did get it the needed vet care. However, she ended up finding a reputable rescue group to take the kitten. By this time, though, Claire had decided that SHE wanted the kitten back – even though she couldn’t afford the vet care for the kitten. And when she found out that Alexandra had given the kitten to a rescue group, Claire went ballistic and made all sorts of threats to Alexandra. I heard the phone messages and read the text messages Claire and Claire’s boyfriend, James, sent Alexandra. Trust me when I say that Claire is a very disturbed person who harbors an enormous amount of malice towards Alexandra. Sadly, Claire does happen to have some mental issues, which I believe may account for some of this misplaced malevolence. By Claire’s own admission, she had been diagnosed by a psychiatrist with anti-social (i.e., sociopathic) personality disorder. Those who know about sociopathy probably understand that it can make those who suffer from it dangerous people – and worst of all, it cannot really be treated or cured.

    I also want to say – since I am tired of hearing all about Alexandra and her “aliases” – that Sascha is actually a NICKNAME for Alexandra. If the people making comments on this situation were more educated and informed, they would know that.

    • Thank you for your comment, Hypatia.

      I have been ambivalent about this situation from the beginning. The cats look healthy and well cared for; but, ofcourse, the house is in a shabble.

      I think that I could be very sympathetic for what has happened to these two if I hadn’t read that they pursued the acquisition of cats. They, supposedly, had other people get cats for them so as not to have their names in the mix. That’s not healthy. It’s one thing to be dumped on or sight and take home a cat in need. It’s another thing to actively acquire more and more cats. That’s an addiction.

  12. Oh dear not another situation. 🙁 🙁 🙁 It’s so sad to hear of these stories but esp when People like this know what they are doing. At least one good thing they did accept what they had done. I guess they would need to have suits like ebola ones as i guess the stench would be horrible. I really don’t know how people could live and hoard cats or any animal that way. I know myself 6 is what i used to have and it was really hard. Its not only the food Cost but everything else that goes with it. I mean I love cats dearly but im a very realistic type person. I would hate to put any Cats in that much trauma.

      • Hi Elisa. OMG that’s horrible. That’s actually worse than the Westbury One. Can’t believe them. Who would do such a thing. I just got back from my mental health break away, which was great. Ill Join up to that Group. I also saw on that about the Man in New Zealand who froze Cats in a Freezer. He looks Evil and Cruel too. Actually reminds me of Woody. Though looking at the particular story he was 80.. He still shouldn’t be allowed to have any cats

      • Elisa Those dogs ripped my heart out! I have to say I LOVE dogs that is why I rescue cats. You can not hand me a puppy I start protecting it like I just gave birth to it! Dogs are less self sufficient then cats it is sooo heartbreaking!

  13. Elisa, thanks for this article. What I appreciate most are the pics from the house. But I would have liked to see actual pics of the cats at exactly the time that they were confiscated.

    The pics of the house are pathetic indeed. I think if people know that they are inherently slobs to begin with to add animals to that type of personality is a recipe for disaster.

    That being said, pics of the animals in these types of busts are essential. I want to see with my own eyes the parasites on the animals, the open sores, the vet records that they have or don’t have, the condition of their body to correlate with their age.

    Although those are pics of a slob’s house, were the cats kept in those areas? I do not specifically see that fecal material was mixed in their slob area. The reason why all of this is essential is that there is such a strong and well-funded movement to destroy rescue and true no-kill as you may know.

    We are aware of many individuals who have had their animals confiscated and some even with charges against them that were completely innocent and their animals were perfectly healthy. One such woman had the DA present photos in court THAT WERE NOT EVEN HER HOUSE! which was not proven until AFTER court was adjourned (as the judge would not allow comment!).

    Furthermore even I myself 22 years in cat rescue have had PETA at my doorstep accusing me of hoarding! Stalkers have called authorities to my home. Since my home has been inspected by shelter personnel and the one of the fire chiefs is my neighbor and my vet can vouch for all my vet records, etc., I was cleared of any allegations. For those that do hoard animals our organization is available to help them.

    If there is a hoarding situation that becomes known, please let us know and we will approach the individual(s) and offer any assistance that they need to begin their road to healing. Thank you for this article. nokill-newyork.org

    • Hi Kate. Interesting comment. Do you believe cat rescuers with a higher than average number of cats are exposed to being branded cat hoarders? There seems to be a general antagonism against people who keep a lot of cats perhaps because of all the publicity combined with a segment of society who believe in mad cat ladies and who also dislike or hate cats.

      • Hi Michael. I do think the general population is not as amenable to cats as pets as dogs but I do think that is changing. Social media has helped quite a bit in illustrating that cats are amazing and the cat lady ain’t so crazy after all 😉

        • Kate That is good to hear If I get one more Crazy Cat Lady Shirt or Mug for Christmas I could MEOWWWW… Bath and body works would be nice for a change! Great comments both of them!

      • Michael, police are now going back to the accuser who turn in people as hoarders who are visited by animal control and cleared and charging them with filing a false police report.

    • It will be interesting to see how they can be convicted since what what I’ve heard the cats are basically healthy. Should severe clutter be considered animal cruelty if there’s no feces except in the litter box? I’ll be following this case as best I can.

      There’s a rescue in the lower part of SC that recently had a visit from AC after a report was made about sick cats. The cats were pulled out of the shelter sick. She passed inspection but still it’s a hassle.

    • I cannot answer if there was fecal matter in the “slob area” this time but I can say for a fact that it was the first time – there was not one clean spot to walk in that house – the mother is a classic hoarder of things and stuff was just everywhere – they were not just messy people – they just did not throw anything away because the mother would not allow it. They tried to get litter boxes in the home but the cats went everywhere – the smell was horrific. There were maggots in the rugs on the floor – I saw this firsthand so this is not hearsay. After I brought this to the attention of others and realized that they did not want help- they did not want their cats being taken by anyone…I cut my ties with her. I am very happy she got busted again and I pray that someone in authority does something this time to ensure she never has another cat. No living creature – human or animal should live in that environment – the air was not healthy to breathe to say the least.

      • I’d bet my bottom dollar that in time she acquires a whole bunch of new cats. Compulsive hoarding is a psychological condition as is chronic untidiness as is manic collecting as is cat hoarding. And the laws and authorities can’t stop it.

    • I like your comment, Kate.
      I looked closely at the pics again and find you are right. I see massive clutter that needs to be bulldozed. But, I don’t see filth or fecal matter anywhere.
      Clutter isn’t a crime. How did these two women get into the nightmare of being called hoarders or even over their heads if the cats were healthy and well cared for?
      Did someone call in a complaint? If so, who?
      Like you, my home isn’t perfect and it takes a lot of work to stay on top of things, but it’s not filthy.

      • Dee, the person who commented above states that there were maggots and that the cats were going outside of the box everywhere. I know that if I leave any plastic or open file boxes of papers or newspapers or a pile of clothes anywhere, it is fair game lol. So that is disheartening for these individuals. However, for our comfort in the rescue community we really need to be provided with proof of those maggots (which means flies got in the house and laid eggs yuck). If the cats were perfectly healthy and vetted, then there can be no cruelty violation nor can there be the right to seize the animals. This individual would then only be guilty of unsanitary conditions. When will this go to court?

        • I recently tried to report on the Danielson, Connecticut case but there were a lot of rescues and photos involved, but also a lot of he said, she said that didn’t prove anything. It’s hard to write when the evidence isn’t complete and in front of you and you can’t personally visit the home.

          As for fleas, this has been a really bad year for them in the south. We’ve had to stay on our toes more than in past years. Frontline didn’t work, the sprays for around the bedding didn’t work, the natural remedies didn’t work. Finally the Advantage kicked in. But if Alexandra can show she cats were healthy and well fed she just may beat this. All except getting psychological help.

          I don’t see how the two of them live together, with the mother trying to keep everything. My grandfather was a pack rat. When he died, we found 5 years worth of newspapers on tables on his back porch. My mother hoarded cloth and cloth scraps. I was sending bags of these to old ladies to use in making quilts a year before mama died because the closets were full.

          My hoarding is thankfully on the internet. I collect Daisy Trail scrapbooking kits. I have around 120 now. My daughter doesn’t allow me to keep junk. She’ll tell me to find a place for it or it’s going in the garbage.

          • I agree it is sensible to be cautious about stories on what are potential crimes. However, we can use language which protects us such as “accused” and “alleged” or “suspected”.

            I wonder if Frontline can lose its effectiveness with extended usage? You know how antibiotics can become less effective because bacteria develops a resistance to them; this may happen with the chemical in Frontline which kills fleas. I doubt it but it would seem possible.

            • I agree the Frontline and Natural stuff has not been working very well for us for a while. I like Revolution but its expensive! You can not judge someone in the South for fleas they are horrible as much as I hate having the grounds sprayed for the safety of my Schnoodles we are going to have to, I thought the cats involved looked good but the house looked like it had been ransacked! Why would their be litter boxes piled I from of the from door?? That is strange. And Yes I could not believe the cats had not peed and pooped (sorry can say that) on all those books on the floor mine would have a field day! Nothing is sacred especially paper and plastic with cats! So every thing has to go I the closets cupboards and drawers!

        • Well said Kate. Very sensible. As soon as the phrase “hoarder house” is mentioned on TV and it concerns cats people visualise dying cats and totally chaos with faeces everywhere. We have to guard against making presumptions.

          • The case I wanted to cover in Danielson had rescue groups saying there were a few dead cats and the hoarder saying it was an old stuffed dog that had rotted in the basement. But she did have a do not rescue notice on her from 2012 but people kept sending her cats anyway. I’ve stayed on a conversation thread but it got to chaotic to even think about writing. No news media was there when the cats were rescued. The sister said the mother had control over her daughters property then later said the mother had no legal right to allow police and rescues to go into the house. A BIG mess.

            And the pedophile story still has one more chapter for me to write once I get all the info in on it. Hopefully by the weekend. It’s going to really upset everyone.

              • I’m at the point now I really need to start keeping a notebook or I forget who I need to contact about what. The next chapter will be the underbelly of the shelter world. The pedophile apparently had healthy, friendly, spayed and neutered cats. The shelter treated them like trash and most are dead. I have all the details coming to me soon.

      • I agree they could be unfairly vilified but they were deceiving themselves and others it seems. Perhaps too this was a situation that was in development, meaning the state of the house could have deteriorated in the future to end up the classic faeces-ridden mess commonly seen in hoarder homes.

  14. I found the pictures odd! The house was trashed like someone had a tantrum and just threw and knocked over stuff! It made no sense at all! But he top of the refrigerator was clean, the bathroom tile was clean the cats even the mostly white one were clean feet included! The cats eyes were all clear and this is time a year for cat URI. Made no sense to me! I thought this woman’s name was Minerva Love or Sascha Norris? That’s what it is on facebook! Come one Elisa help us out you all ways have the info! Speaking of Julianne any trial date info?

    • She goes by all of them. She’s my friend under Minerva Love. I remember when she was busted in 2011 and all the cats removed. Minerva said she was glad to get her house back and her life back. She’s like a cat junkie, in my opinion, and goes into a kind of withdrawal when she can’t have cats near her. She just doesn’t know how not to get in over her head. I don’t consider her a bad person at all in the same way Julianne is. I believe she was feeding the cats a food like Fancy Feast back before the first raid and that would really run into some expense with the number of cats she had. As for the house, you have to have things put away in drawers and cabinets or the cats will knock everything off on their own. When we first got Lola and Furby, all of my collectibles went into a trunk. Cats are really into clutter. Alexandra should know that.

      Haven’t heard anything on Julianne yet. I may contact Diana Watson with Fox Carolina next week and see whether she’s heard anything.

      I get my info either from tips or being led to snoop around on the different pages. Stories tend to fall into my lap these days. Sometimes faster than I can write them. I never catch up, it seems.

      • Elisa, Speaking of which what is your email I will send you some new info on the Cabarrus Shelter it is going from worse to worst it doesn’t matter how bad the volunteers work! We got 50 out last week now up to 97 cats again mostly all owner surrenders.

        • It’s insane. I had to stop doing the individual shelter bios since it was a lot of repetitive stuff. Now I can only post info and photos to Pinterest but I have a lot of people following me. I do about 800 a month for Greenville County Animal Care Services. Now I can only do articles for Examiner on the elderly or unusual pets on death row because each has to be written as a unique article. And Michael wonders why I never sleep…

          • Elisa this is about a new shelter policy they put in place that will shorten the time volunteers have for owner surrenders. I will email it to you but I don’t think I have your email.

              • The Cabarrus Animal Control Shelter has not grown with the counties population. Its facility and budget is tiny compared to the need in that county. The overwhelming thing is the large numbers that come from a single house hold! I think when the shelter has these “repeat” customers coming in with their boxes of kittens and puppies sometimes two and three generations. I think there should be a penalty for not spaying/neutering when they show up 6 months later with another delivery! The information about spaying and neutering in the area should be handed to them when they come in with the litters! I am 100% for mandatory spay/neuter so the repeat offenders will not be able to continue to use the shelters as a “live dump” Ok I can dream!

              • The volunteers at Greenville are under a gag order. If they talk to the media about anything it means possible termination. That’s why it’s so hard to get info these days.

              • I Cabarrus County NC I would same it is a 50/50 split. Here you have people who are all doing the right thing they spay/neuter their own pets, TNR on their own in their neighborhood, caretake for those animals, donate to TRN and spay/neuter programs. Then the other half see it as their right to do what ever they want with their property and then take them to the “live dump” which is sadly what this shelter is nick named. It’s like you have on one side of the road you have knowledgeable, educated, responsible people. On the other side people uneducated about animals and do not care to learn, they are uncaring about their fate at the Cabarrus Shelter, topped with a attitude of righteous indignation! Groups will come to help these people spay/neuter dozens of cats on their property FOR FREE. Then try to talk them into letting some find other homes because the “owners” can’t even afford to feed them! Recently some folks kicked a TNR team off their property when it was suggested to them that the very young kittens be taken to rescue to find new homes! “You’re not taking my kittens” They could barley afford to put out two small dishes of cheap food for about 50 cats, of which several were lactating moms! No water they said they though cats did not like water! Our only prayer for change here is the county makes them comply with new laws and this shelter expands physically and program wise to include adoption programs.

              • Yes I do Elisa, and I am looking at one of them right now and she is a sweety! The Greenville Shelter is much larger than Cabarrus Shelter and definitely better staffed with both paid and volunteers. Greenville/Spartanburg area has a population 10 times that of Cabarrus. I feel the problem is they can get 30 or more animals in a hour from just 2 people!

    • The house looks quite “posh” meaning nice furniture. I don’t think this is a typical cat hoarder house. Neither are the cat hoarders that typical. The underlying issues are still there though: a lack of ability to take control and be practical and sensible. It looks a bit like the home of an alcoholic I know; trashed. However they did have to wear protective suits when entering or perhaps that was a precaution.

      • I agree with you Michael, suits or masks wearing is a precautionary measures taken by the agencies according to their S.O.P’s (Standard Operating Procedures). 😉

      • What is not mentioned here is that these women had access to quite a bit of money as the grandmother (who I assume is now deceased is not mentioned anymore) was wealthy – so yes they had nice furniture, etc. What is also not mentioned is that the mother, Sharyn is a classic hoarder (they told me this themselves years ago so this is not hearsay). Sharyn was a hoarder of things and Sascha/Alexandra was a hoarder of cats. Trust me in that Sharyn did not share the intense love of cats that Sascha/Alexandra does – she simply goes along with it as she is the weaker of the personalities.

        • The front door foyer of the house with all of those litter boxes piled up its like someone had a fit and piled them in front of the door. Maybe her mother was sick of the cats and had a tantrum. A passive aggressive way to say to her daughter GET THE CATS OUT!

    • Help me too… Is that someone in a blue suit with white booties on? The WHITE is still white on the BOTTOM of the bootie… HOW would that be if the house was in such poor condition? I also agree the cats don’t look dirty or fearful, but instead curious. The shelter says the cats are in good condition aside from vaccines and flea poisons… NOT EVERYONE uses poisons on their animals. SO then the cats were taken BECAUSE there were TOOO many< but they were in good condition?? Very hard to understand when leading with thoughts instead of emotion.

      • This is a rather strange cat hoarding case. The cats were apparently in better condition than is usual for hoarded cats. Technically it could be said that there was no need for the authorities to intervene. However, we don’t have the full information.

  15. I think the condition of the house has a lot to do with it. I’ve visited a few in rescue and there were cats running everywhere but the floors were clean and while there may have been a bit of clutter it wasn’t filth.

    One rescue I dealt with several years ago concerned me because cats were in cages in her basement and she had an ac/heated storage unit in her yard housing another 15.

    I think in this case it’s the ladies who had it rough, living in those conditions. The cats surrendered were considered healthy except for a flea problem. If they’d been sick and starving the reaction from animal advocates would be much different.

  16. Even though I constantly say I have too many cats I must handling the situation very well. Yesterday a film crew from Russian 1 TV spent around 6 hours inside and outside of my house to make a documentary about Turkish Angoras and Turkish Vans. They didn’t find anything to complain about even though I only had 2 days to get ready for the visit. Now let’s see how things look on TV. They then continued on their way to film at the Ankara Zoo and the Van Institute. They made a big fuss over and filmed in length my harlequin Turkish Van Muzaffer who immediately adopted them and followed them around like a faithful dog.
    I must say the Wingates have much more than a cat hoarding problem. The state of their house indicates serious mental problems. Cat hoarding seems to be more of a symptom than the central issue. Cat hoarding doesn’t explain why the house is ram jamb full of stuff scattered in disorder all over the place.

  17. Interesting article…what is it that distinguishes a rescue group from a hoarder? Is it that many rescues keep their numerous cats neatly confined in cages? Is it the cleanliness of the home and the health of the animals? It has always amazed me that two people can have the same number of pets…and one is labeled a qualified rescue while the other is a called a hoarder. What sets these two groups apart? I do a lot of cat rescue. My house is not immacculate, but the boxes are cleaned twice (or more) each day. My cats are fed and healthy. If they do need medicine or vet care, they get it. There are times I have taken on slightly above my comfort level, but it is generally short term. I have operated as an independent rescue-foster for the past few years and have been successful in finding cats homes for the most part. However, lately I am finding it is harder to place some of my rescues (especiallly the black cats.) Also, I do not keep cats caged up because I think it causes them to be depressed. If not for the high kill rate in the USA, I probably would be completely comfortable with just two cats. So, I am curious to know what others think is the piece of the equation that distinguishes rescues from hoarders.

    • A hoarder wouldn’t write a comment like yours in which you ask a rational question which is hard to answer. For me the difference is a rational and realistic compared to an irrational and unrealistic approach to the task of cat rescue. You are rational. A cat hoarder is not totally rational. They slightly miss the land of reality. There are a lot of people who live in a state which is parallel to the real world. Walter-Mitty types come to mind.

      Of course there is the question: what is the real world? It is all fairly mad some of the time.

      • Oh Michael, you have no idea how many of these cases I’ve followed lately where the cats are found dead or dying. I just don’t write on most because your website would become known as the hoader story website. Rescues will be pulling the cats out in horrific condition and the hoarder still defending the issue saying the cats are fine. There are boundaries that each person needs to acknowlege as to the max number of cats they can handle. Alexandra would likely have been fine with one or two cats. Crossing what the rational mind tells you is enough is what sadly comprises the illness. Two women cannot care for 70 cats without a lot of help.

          • I think it’s just making the news more. I had written about the case in Connecticut but it was such a mess I pulled the article. There’s a lot of unrest in that case and everyone attacking each other. I can’t help anyone if they’re not willing to play nice on these cases. There are also Facebook pages devoted to exposing these hoarders. There are also Facebook private groups hoarders can join.

            It’s kind of like infidelity in the 19th century. My grandmother, a Cherokee woman born in 1897, once told me the same indiscretions happened a century ago, it just wasn’t talked about. The same is likely true with hoarding.

            • Hoarders come in many forms. JW also was a true hoarder. Yes, she got lots of $$, but she also was considered (and prob convinced herself) a vital person in animal rescue.
              There are quite some hoarders posing as rescues or breeders. Hoarding isn’t easy to understand. If anything, it is NOT animal love gotten out off hand. Obsessive compulsive disorder is an important part of hoarding: 100% of hoarders will start again immediately after being raided if they get the chance. Like a junky, pet hoarders need a regular fix of getting a new pet, which will give them a little rush that wears of soon.
              And yes, it’s an important problem that is underestimated and not dealt with properly. Pet hoarders can never ever be a pet owner again, need regular (unannounced) home checks, mental treatment and then some. It’s an expensive and difficult problem to deal with by officials who usually are understaffed. It takes a community to stop a hoarder. And there are many, many more than we know of now, especially on FB, which sometimes seems to be a hoarding network.
              Home checks should be mandatory at all times, expected AND unexpected. Adoptions should be local as much as possible. No free rides! Decent adoption fees to be paid by adopters and not pledges, aso, aso.

              • I agree with all you say. I just feel that the authorities don’t have a handle on the problem of cat hoarding. She will almost certainly be hoarding again one day. It is a mental condition and it requires treatment but I have never heard of a hoarder receiving medical treatment and/or psychiatric counselling.

              • Michael, the ASPCA has a hoarding prevention team. That would be a way to start to get some controle over the hoarding problem. More info here:

                Please note that I don’t agree with part of their approach where they let hoarders own a certain number of pets. In my opinion they should never ever get near pets again, cause I do think it’s like an addiction.

                • Thanks Oker. I believe that there is a small minority of people who are irresponsible pet owners (who cause 90% of the unwanted cat problem) and a tiny percentage of these fall into hoarding, which as you say is a mental condition. These people should be registered as being unsuitable to keep “pets”. That is not possible currently because the system is not in place. The problem is controlling this. It requires a system and enforcement. That demands funding. It isn’t there.

              • I disagree- a true hoarder thinks they are really giving good care to the cats or dogs- JW left cats in cat carriers and I know of one mother cat who died in a carrier with her kittens- the windows were papered up so no one could see in the windows- She turned some of the cats loose to fend for themselves which a true hoarder would not do- She did not feed or give water to the cats trapped in that house or in the other house ( although not as much is known about the Honea Path House) a hoarder will feed their cats- may not change the litter boxes but will feed them- and she left kittens to fend for themselves and the evidence of this was tiny kitten feet left laying around

                As for the pledges and cats and dogs going elsewhere- they are needed- many of the cats and dogs would not get to safety if is was not for rescues and adopters in other places- and the majority of rescues do not keep that many cats in their homes- they have a series of foster homes that take the cats in and those cats are brought to local events like Petsmart has in an effort to get them adopted. Many rescues I know actually have animal control visit on a regular basis and this is not because of a report- and to rescue an animal is expensive and getting them healthy to adopt is also expensive- the thing to look at is with a rescue- they plan to get the cats to be adopted- they make efforts to get the cats adopted but most hoarders refuse to let go of the cats or dogs once they get them..

                • Hi Mary. I agree with you that true hoarders deceive themselves into believing they are caring for their cats but the intention is to care (and some do actually care pretty well for a lot of cats) whereas JW appears to be a criminal.

              • Mary Elizabeth, Unfortunately, most hoarders are much more like JW than one would suspect. Yes they delude themselves into thinking they are God’s gift to pets. Most of them anyway. But the harsh reality is, that over the past 10 yrs I’ve seen more hoarders that did not feed their pets, than those that did. Most I’ve seen have stuck their pets in cupboards or sheds or piled up one upon the other in carriers. They were left without food or water, feeding of each other in an effort to survive. Worst one I’ve seen was a man that kept cats in bird’s cages. He was feeding them alright: his own blood, cause he thought that was the only real food they’d need. Almost all of those cats had to be pts.
                Like I said above: pet hoarders come in many forms. Lately we are confronted with quite some cat hoarders, and every now and then a dog hoarder (or both), but people should realize the extend and severity of the hoarding problem. Hoarders can collect ANY type of animal from snakes and lizzards, to cats, birds, dogs and yes, even horses.

                As for pledges: a good and transparent rescue will NOT rescue a pet ONLY because of the price on its head! In fact there are some very good rescues on FB that won’t allow pledges on their threads. And they have proven those aren’t necessary. The whole idea that a pet needs to be fully pledged up before a rescue will even consider pulling is sickening to me. If people would stick their money where their mouth is and donate to their local (responsible) rescue, they could do much more than they can now. The good ones may send pets out of state every now and then after a thorough reference and home check. Unfortunately most I’ve seen send pets out of state to destinations unknown w/o reference or home check, and sometimes even w/o proper health certificate or adoption papers. Besides all that, there is NO lack of pets anywhere. There are reasons why some have to look out of their own state to adopt. Only in VERY FEW cases it’s because someone really fell in love with one particular pet….

    • “If not for the high kill rate in the USA, I probably would be completely comfortable with just two cats.”

      Thank you for that comment, Ruth.

      I think that the kill rate situation is a strong driver in a lot of hoarding cases.

    • Ruth, you answered your own question, the difference is whether the best interest and health of the cat is realistically the priority. This is not the case with hoarders. I recently went out of my way, to help a so called fellow rescue friend, lent her $ to move down to SC and start a new life. She shows up with 20 cats, the majority not in very good health, and unwilling to even accept medical care for them, let alone feed them quality food. And this woman actually believes they are best off with her, in her care. There is never a time that we are not jumping up and down here, when we have an adopter who can give one of our cats a wonderful home. We have to love them enough to let someone else love them more when that situation presents itself. A hoarder does not think this way.

  18. The interesting aspect of this story is the similarity between self-deception and deceiving others. It says something about the mentality of the cat hoarder.

    They are not quite in the land of the real world although if you asked them they’d deny any deception and be convinced that they were doing good.

    That said, a good percentage of all people refuse to live in the real world. We see it many ways.

    This “flying above the shit” mentality exists because there is a lot of shit in the real world and people like to get out of it.

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