Brookhaven addresses animal hoarding problem

November 9, 2011 8:18:28 PM PST
Officials in the Town of Brookhaven are addressing what they call a growing problem of animal hoarding in the area.

Uninhabitable and condemned.

The home on Malba drive in Shirley housed one of the worst cases of animal hoarding, Brookhaven officials say they have encountered.

"Everything from a cow, pigmy goats, Yorkshire pig, pheasants, hens, rabbits, and chinchillas," an animal official said.

Many of the animals were living with four people in a stench filled 1,400 square foot house.

"I could not believe the amount of creatures that emerged from that house," said Kristin Broderick, a neighbor.

This year alone and in the Town of Brookhaven, animal control officials say they've handled five large hoarding cases.

In Mastic they found 45 to 50 cats.

The case in Shirley had farm animals and numerous others.

In Yaphank it was 70 cats, Center Moriches 75 cats, and in Sound Beach 60 cats.

"In my view we have almost reached epidemic proportions," Brookhaven Town Supervisor Mark Lesko said.

In each of those cases, Town Supervisor Mark Lesko says support personnel include police and fire responders, health and building officials and numerous volunteers.

"So it becomes a major diversion of time, costs, resources, and money at the end of the day," Lesko said.

It's also a strain on a bulging shelter where a very active spay and neuter program is helping to relieve the problem.

In many hoarding cases all of the animals are taken from the home.

But in other cases, some of the animals are left in the home and the shelter tries to work with the owner.

"We'll go in and help them to the best of our ability so they can retain their animals or at least half of them," an animal official said.

Robert Barrett recently claimed that he was not hoarding but breeding and showing 70 Turkish Angoras.

Shelter officials disagree and were working with him after discovering his situation.

As for the overall problem?

"We should all be sitting down at the table and coming up with a strategy to deal with this because it is becoming more prevalent as time goes on," Lesko said.