Putting an animal hoarder in charge of animal control is like hiring a crack addict to run police drug enforcement.
Yet that's what appears to have happened in the borough of Berwick in Columbia County in northeastern Pennsylvania.
Animal rescue workers raided the home of Jinese Loughry, the borough's animal control officer, this week and found 64 animals - 40 dogs and 24 cats - inside her small house.
The Animal Resource Center shelter took in the animals, most suffering from severe matting - their fur so thick with feces and urine some could barely move, according to news reports.
Whose animals were these? Strays or surrenders Loughry promised someone she would place?
There is no word yet on whether criminal charges will be filed. We certainly hope state dog wardens will issue her citations for running an unlicensed kennel. Likely these animals had no rabies shots either.
The stench could be smelled by passersby on the street which led to a neighbor calling authorities.
“It was just horrible. Our people went in with masks. I didn’t wear a mask when I went in. I had to put one on and I still couldn’t breathe. It had to be years that the feces was building,” Linda Bird of the Animal Resouce Center told WNEP.
Bird said she thinks Loughry meant well.
“I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes. It makes me very sad because you realize she had a good heart and was an animal lover who has gotten herself way out of line,” said Bird, whose animal population suddenly doubled as a result. No doubt there will be significant vet bills as well.
People always try to dismiss these hoarding cases by saying "it got out of control." Why do individuals, who by all evidence severely neglect their animals, get this pass time and again?
Donations can be sent to: Animal Resource Center 301 A Boone Road Bloomsburg, PA 17815
To adopt an animal, call 570-854-1909 during the day or 570-356-2387 in the evenings.
To volunteer at the Animal Resource Center, call 570-784-3669.