Skip to comments.200 Dead Cats Found in N.J. Woman's Home
Posted on 05/23/2005 3:38:11 PM PDT by Clemenza
A woman who founded a "no-kill" animal shelter was charged with health code and animal welfare violations after 200 dead cats were discovered rotting in garbage bags in her backyard.
Marlene Kess, who has built a reputation in Manhattan as a caretaker of homeless and dying cats, had 48 cats inside her house, including 38 in one room, authorities said.
Out back, 200 vermin-infested cat corpses were stuffed into garbage bags and apparently were going to be buried in a large hole that had recently been dug, said Sgt. Joseph Bierman of the state's Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
The cats were discovered after neighbors complained about the stench.
"Oh my God, it was awful," said Michael Fowler of the Associated Humane Societies. "The smell was horrible."
Kess, 56, is the founder and executive director of Kitty-Kind, which runs one of New York City's few no-kill shelters.
She said the cats died of natural causes. State SPCA spokesman Matt Stanton told The Star-Ledger of Newark an investigation into the death of the cats is "ongoing."
A longtime resident of Greenwich Village, Kess moved to East Orange in July.
"I take very good care of them," Kess told reporters Friday. "People who know me know there's no cruelty involved."
Kess was cited for health code violations, including keeping an unlawful number of animals, harboring dead animals and causing an environmental hazard with the corpses. The SPCA, which enforces the state's animal cruelty laws, charged Kess with 38 counts of failing to properly shelter cats.
Authorities are allowing Kess to keep the 48 cats in her home because she promised to separate the sick animals from the healthy ones, Bierman said.
Doesn't look like a "no-kill" shelter to me....
Good grief. What is it with aging American women and dead cats?
I believe someone else posted this or a similar story last week.
Animal hoarders or collectors, which is what this woman appears to me, have an actual mental illness. So I feel for this woman. She thinks she is doing the right thing with these cats, but it's excessive. She is trying to save the world, and it's not possible for one person to do.
I wonder what her Freeper name is?
If they starved to death,
then she technically didn't
really "kill" the cats . . .
A: A good start.
I agree with you, it's like they've got to save the world by collecting huge numbers of dogs or cats. They can't possibly take care of all of them, but they're crazy and they think they're doing good because they're humanitarian animal lovers. Meanwhile most of the animals have a terrible short life, but that doesn't register.
In that house, you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a...well...you know.
I like your way of thinking!
Although the majority of animal hoarders are older women, men are also hoarders when it comes to just about everything else. It is a mental illness and is said to have started at childhood. Besides animals, people wll hoard newspapers, magazines, MacDonalds bags, styrofoam, things they pick up in the trash, etc. until it fills their homes, garages, and basements. They are very similar to the bag people on the streets. The only difference is they have a home.
I hope my loved ones and myself are never struck with such a mental illness. (So far, so good.. :-)
A lot of Freepers
have tangled with posters who
seemingly want to
who are terminally ill.
Freepers have wondered
at the deep fury
such posters respond with if
their goals are questioned.
Is it possible
"actual mental illness"
might be at work that
in hopeless imperatives
to "save" what you can't?
Very funny, Mister.
I'm reminded of a joke with the punchline, "a tragedy."
I think you are chumming, but just in case:
Is there some org that I can join whereby if I begin this form of behavior I'm immediately dragged into field and executed... please?
Typical PETA whacko. They are all the same.
112. The Hidden Tiger
gs: Ronnie Barker (Cheshire) Lyndon Brook (Dr. Manx) John Phillips (Nesbit) Michael Forrest (Peters) Stanley Meadows (Erskine) Jack Gwillim (Sir David Harper) Frederick Treves (Dawson) Brian Haines (Samuel Jones) John Moore (Williams) Reg Pritchard (Bellamy) Gabrielle Drake (Angora)
The mauling to death of several members of the committee of PURRR (the Philanthropic Union for the Rescue, Relief and Recuperation of Cats) exposes Steed and Emma to a diabolical scheme to take over the entire country.
b: 04-Mar-1967 w: Philip Levene d: Sidney Hayers
FNL - Hi again. I think you are correct about the mental condition, but I think it may be a variation of OCD. People make the mistake of thinking obsessives are just horrific hand-washers. It has really different manifestations. I know someone who claims to be claustrophobic and yet fills the space around them with so much cr@p they can barely navigate the space in which they live.
Fluffy is pleased ....
And Moses Kitty screams "LET MY PEOPLE GO !!"
Writing in Haku, taking off from an article concerning 200 dead cats in a back yard....was it really worth the effort?:)
You're probably right about the illness being some form of OCD. I know from what little I've read on the subject is that it seems to be somewhat poorly understood. As I said, the animal hoarders do tend to start off with seemingly good intentions (and they really believe they are doing something good), but then it just gets out of hand. It's unfortunate, but counseling and other treatment may help.
That's not how you herd cats.
I guess starvation is completely natural.
I have two relatives who have exhibited animal hoarding, although there aren't any dead ones stashed anywhere. It's been really sad .. both are elderly women living alone. One has children, the other doesn't, and the children have tried talking, cleaning, etc.
The Michael Schaivo Animal Shelter.
I get it!
I'm sorry for your relatives. And it's tough for family members to get the relatives to someone who can help.
A neighbor came very close to this situation. At one point, she had something like 40 cats. I believe someone got her to seek some help before it all got out of hand. I know she still goes for some sort of counseling or therapy. But she's now down to 8 cats (which she can manage since she has a large house and the financial means)...the rest I believe were sent to shelters. She does from time to time trap some wild ones, take them to a vet and have them spayed/neutered, but she doesn't keep them. At least now, she doesn't have a house full of cats.
Your relatives' loneliness may be something contributing to this. Seems to me that most hoarders are alone. Like I said, I don't know if anyone knows for sure what causes this...perhaps there are a myriad of causes...who knows?
There is a perfectly reasonable explanation for all those dead cats. The Lady was running a maggot farm as a supplier to the German eatery we read about yesterday.
This answers a question asked by one poster: "Where do they get the maggots?"
"What do you think's in the burgers?"
Ga-a-a-g!! I thought the white stuff in burgers was fat.
Enough said, cats are varmints, (excepting of course viking cats}.
My neighbor is an old widow lady and keeps stray cats.
I finally had enough and am now "thinning" the population.
Most of these people have no one who looked out for them. Many of them are very lonely. If your family keeps in touch and you have friends who will look out for you, you'll be okay. I think more of us are collectors than we care to admit. Perhaps it's a sense of security or continuity. Heck, I could be in that boat if I haven't had to move so much. And I'm older than this lady.
"Your relatives' loneliness may be something contributing to this. Seems to me that most hoarders are alone."
A chicken or the egg question if I ever heard one. Most likely they were eccentric to begin with, which drove people away and reinforced their isolation patterns.
Your correct that some of it is loneliness. But it can be a symptom of senile dementia, OCD, and even Alzheimer's. I worked with elderly people and many were hoarders of just about everything. The most unusual was the lady who refused to let the Sheriff remove a dead horse from her parlor. She was pretty handy with a shotgun! But seriously, it can start out with something as simple as accumulating newspapers that they're going to read some day. Some how it gets out of hand.
There was once a kitty named Fluffin
who begain to decay and body started puffin
What a terrible pity
because that poor lil kitty
woulda gone nice with some muffins.