Trenton woman turns over 10 dogs, five kittens to animal rescue, worker says …

By Amanda Ippolito

A woman who called a local cat rescue for assistance with her pets turned over 10 dogs and five kittens to animal rescue groups on Tuesday.

Annie Trinkle, executive director of the nonprofit Animal Alliance, which assisted with the woman’s dogs, called it a severe hoarding situation at a small apartment in Trenton.

“They were in horrific conditions,” Trinkle said, with the dogs in need of medical treatment for skin infections, severely matted hair and malnourishment. The matted fur left some unable to see, breathe or defecate.

The owner reached out to Trenton Cat Rescue after her cat had five kittens. When Lisa Tusay, a volunteer with Trenton Cat Rescue, visited the home to transport the kittens, the owner said that she also had 11 dogs and needed assistance. Tusay then reached out to several organizations before receiving help from Animal Alliance.

Tusay said the owner moved to Trenton two years ago from a rural area, and that the situation may have been “perfectly fine” at her previous home. The woman started with one dog and agreed to take in a friend’s dog when she was moving, Tusay said the owner told her. She also welcomed an abandoned dog into her home and because they were not fixed, they reproduced. The owner was eventually unable to find homes for the puppies, and moved to her Trenton apartment with all 11 dogs.

“She has this huge heart,” Tusay said, noting that the situation simply got out of control and she was unable to afford proper care.

Tusay worked closely with the owner to carefully remove the dogs from the home and brought them to Animal Alliance, which agreed to rehabilitate the dogs at its clinic in Lambertville. In some cases, matted fur left the animals unable to wag their tails. One dog’s eye was matted shut, and others had their ears stuck to their faces. The volunteers at Animal Alliance found that many of the dogs were unrecognizable after being shaved and groomed.

“That’s really the best part of our job,” Trinkle said. “It’s a huge amount of discomfort, and they were just so happy to unload all of that.”

The dogs range in age from 2 to 5 years and weigh between 10 and 30 pounds. Seven are ready for adoption, but it could take months for three others to be properly socialized. One was returned to the owner, as allowed by her lease, after it was neutered, groomed and vaccinated.

Prior to adoption, Animal Alliance assures that all dogs are spayed or neutered, groomed and bathed, fully vaccinated, dewormed, tested for heartworms and examined by a veterinarian.

Those services were provided at no cost to the owner for the dog returned to her, as she is on public assistance.

“I think that now that she has only one mouth to feed one and one to take care of, she will be able to provide that animal with a better life,” Trinkle said.

Tusay said the mother cat was returned to the woman as well after it was neutered.
Animal Alliance also offered her a lifetime supply of free haircuts at its clinic to help prevent future neglect.

“They get in over their head,” Trinkle said. “And they don’t know how to stop, when to stop, what to do to break the cycle.”

She noted that Animal Alliance recently visited with a home with 60 cats.

“The hoarding (does) not happen because the person loves animals,” Trinkle said, adding that hoarding is often caused by a psychological issues.

Compulsive hoarding affects approximately 700,000 to 1.4 million people. It is considered a form of obsessive compulsive disorder and often accompanies other mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder.

Animal Alliance helps with many hoarding cases, in addition to rescuing animals from other forms of abuse or from shelters, where they may be euthanized due to overpopulation.

The group places them into temporary foster care, spays or neuters the animals, restores them to health and readies them for adoption.

It runs a low-cost spay and neuter clinic in Lambertville to help combat overpopulation.
“Our No. 1 priority is saving animals in our own backyard,” Trinkle said.


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