FLORIDA – NEWS AND VIEWS: This is the story of a volunteer cat rescue worker who rescued cats from cat hoarders while at the same time being a cat hoarder herself. It is highly unusual in that respect. It is the story of 36-year-old Michelline Toulouse.
She lives in an apartment at Sunrise, Florida, USA (Mail Online). She worked at an animal rescue organisation called Saving Sage Animal Rescue. I think (could be wrong) that this rescue is named after a domestic cat, Sage, who was brutally abused and killed by an unknown person. The story was all over the Internet at the time, several years ago.
But back to Michelline Toulouse who is also all over the Internet at the moment because of the unusual nature of this story. She volunteered her services at this animal rescue while also running her own cat rescue called Love Is Feral. Her rescue was said to trap, rehabilitate and rehome homeless cats in South Florida. It was from her rescue charity, as I understand it, that she was rescuing cats from cat hoarders. However, it appears that she was bringing those cats back to her apartment where there were at least 50 cats in filthy conditions. She herself was unable to cope and is a cat hoarder.
The sad part of the story, which is so typical of cat hoarding, is that the cats had suffered badly. They were malnourished and some were living in the walls of the apartment it is reported. Also, sadly, at least 10 were already dead according to a report from WPLG.
Her hoarding behaviour was discovered by a colleague at the Saving Sage Animal Rescue facility. Michelline Toulouse had been sacked for the alleged theft of $300, which had been recorded on surveillance cameras inside the facility.
After she had been sacked a colleague wanted to go to her home to find out how she was. She then discovered the incredible mess and stench in the apartment and the 50+ cats. Subsequently she has been charged with nine counts of animal cruelty. She has also been charged with theft. And her boyfriend, Jerome Junior Vaughan also faces charges according to News 7 Miami.
Note: This is a video from another website. Sometimes they are deleted at source which stops them working on this site. If that has happened, I apologise but I have no control over it.
Saving Sage Animal Rescue are relieved that she has been found out and the cats have been rescued from her home. In the statement they said that “It is unimaginable that a fellow rescuer would be responsible for such horrors.”
As I say in the title to this post, she was a willing volunteer in the business of animal rescue and she rescued cats from hoarders and then placed those cats back in another hoarding environment of her making. It is astonishing and it indicates a faltering grasp on reality by Michelline Toulouse.
It looks like she needs some help as well as punishment. My personal opinion and my research indicate that cat hoarding is a bona fides mental illness of a specific type and it emanates from the inability to make a decision about releasing oneself from the objects that you have in your possession. It’s a mental health problem which stops people from divesting themselves of objects because they’re not sure whether it’s a good idea or not. And therefore, they keep them to the point where hoarding is established and they can no longer cope. However, cat hoarders are also blind to the cruelty of their actions which is through neglect.