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Those who love their pets tend to enjoy all animals. Our animal owners are no different. Check in on News-Herald staffers Robin Palmer and Cheryl Sadler as they share their own animal tales and announce upcoming events in Lake and Geauga counties.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Re-arrest of Oregon rabbit hoarder begs question: Can anything be done?

I once lived in a studio apartment - yes, that's one room - with three rabbits, two cats, two degus and a hamster.

I remember thinking our living situation was OK. I don't advocate for it today.

But my, how much worse it could have been.

Forty-seven-year-old rabbit hoarder Miriam Sakewitz was arrested again yesterday when police who broke into her Oregon hotel room and found her holed up with more than a dozen rabbits - eight adults and six babies, one dead.

This was in violation of her probation. Sakewitz had been forbidden to have animals for five years after police found her keeping more than 158 rabbits in awful conditions and nearly 100 dead ones in three freezers in 2006. This site is a good collection of old stories.

Rabbits multiply if they're not spade or neutered, hence "at it like rabbits." Mine were all fixed. But by definition hoarders can't perceive their inability to keep higher-than-usual numbers of pets without proper care for them. They don't get it.

Take the January case of Peter Bordwell, who collected 156 rabbits and three kittens. They'd been living in inches of feces and mess. Two had to be euthanized.

Or this one, of 20 small breed dogs and two puppies found inside a station wagon in Pottsboro, Texas. Their incoherent owner had locked the doors and refused to come out, but the air in the car had many times exceeded the harmful level of ammonia caused by of urine and feces.

Nobody wins with this phenomenon - not the owners, however loving; not the pets; especially not the animals born into such an existence. Educate yourself just in case, one day, you can help a delusional pet owner before it's too late.

-- Sandra M. Klepach,


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