February 2, 2012
On January 26, an ASPCA Mobile Spay/Neuter Clinic was parked outside a single-family home in southern Brooklyn, assisting a woman with 18 blue-nosed Pit Bulls. M., a Tobago native, brought home the first dog with wonderful intentions—but things quickly spiraled out of control.
It started when M. couldn’t turn away from a grey-and-white Pit Bull living on the streets of her neighborhood. She took in the bedraggled dog, whose ears had been almost entirely snipped off, and named him JoJo. Later, M. bought another needy Pit Bull, this one female, from a neighborhood kid trying to raise money for schoolbooks.
At the time, M. couldn’t bear to spay and neuter her dogs—she feared putting them through surgery—so it wasn’t long before her dogs began to multiply.
M. soon found herself living with 13 full-grown dogs and five puppies, most looking just like JoJo. The dogs preferred to stay outside, so she built them dog houses in her backyard. They were visible from the street, and a concerned acquaintance called the ASPCA.
But Humane Law Enforcement Agents found no evidence of cruelty or violation of the law. At M.’s carefully maintained home, they found well-cared for and well-loved dogs, though perhaps too many for M. to handle. The Agents referred M.’s case to our Cruelty Intervention Advocacy (CIA) program, which works with hoarders and overwhelmed rescuers in New York City.
When CIA Manager Jennifer Sarasky first reached out, M. was hesitant. Would the ASPCA seize her dogs? Sarasky assured her that we wouldn’t. So, like all CIA clients, M. welcomed our help; the last litter of puppies, she said, had left her feeling overwhelmed.
Soon, Sarasky and M. were making plans. Once they’re old enough, the five puppies will go to a suburban shelter and be made available for adoption. And the adult dogs, now spayed and neutered, will stay with M., who refers to them as “my kids.”
CIA will continue to monitor the case and help M. keep her dogs healthy through professional advice, support for veterinary care, spay/neuter, animal placement and supply donations. To learn more about hoarding intervention, visit CIA’s page. Stay tuned to ASPCA.org for updates on the program and M.’s dogs.