CARY, N.C. (WNCN) — Animal control is still removing pets from a Cary home, one day after they removed dogs, cats, reptiles, and hundreds of rats. It’s all part of an animal cruelty investigation.
Neighbors say the unidentified woman who lives in the home is devastated that her animals were taken. The home has been deemed unsafe. Experts say it’s common in situations like this, that the people involved don’t believe their behavior is dangerous.
More than 250 animals were all living in a home in a quiet Cary neighborhood. It strikes Geralin Thomas as an all too familiar situation.
“I am horrified when I see animals being neglected and unfortunately I think animal hoarding is one of the most egregious forms of animal abuse,” said Thomas.
Thomas has spent her career helping people who suffer from hoarding disorders. She’s a professional organizer who worked on the popular A&E show “Hoarders” for five years. She helps people today who want to re-organize their homes and their lives.
“I do not work with anybody anymore unless they’re working with a therapist and the patient has to call me,” Thomas said. “I will no longer reach out and call them because they have to want help.”
Authorities say they are investigating this as an animal cruelty case. On Tuesday, animal control removed hundreds of dogs, cats, rats, and reptiles from the home.The unidentified woman involved has not yet been charged and while this investigation has not specifically been labeled a hoarding case, Thomas says criminal charges won’t stop someone from doing it again.
“They make room for the person, they clear out the house and clean out the house and get the animals out and then there is this compulsive behavior that the person will typically go out and bring in more animals so it’s not necessarily helpful to just go and clean out the house,” said Thomas.
Neighbors say the woman who lives in this home loves animals so much that she wanted to rescue every one that crossed her path.
“That’s very normal thinking for a person who is an animal hoarder,” Thomas explained. “They see themselves as saving animals from whatever ailments they think are out there and they bring them into their home and then they cannot stop accumulating animals.”
Thomas has seen what hoarding does to animals in an up-close and personal way. She rescued her dog pip six years ago from a hoarder.
“He was malnourished,” she said. “He came from a house with an elderly lady and she had 20 cats and 8 dogs.”
Thomas says there is no cure for hoarding and the chance of relapsing is extremely high. She says the only way to overcome it is to work together with an organizer and a therapist.
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