Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Animal Hoarder fights to keep 23 cats

A WOMAN who shares her house with 23 cats and dogs is fighting council demands she get rid of half of her menagerie. 
Invalid pensioner Jennifer Martin has 11 more pets than she is allowed under Whittlesea local council animal laws in north Melbourne.

But she said her pets were her family and it would break her heart to part from any of them.
"These animals have been taken in by me and some of them have taken three or four years to socialise," Ms Martin said.

"Why would anyone think of taking them from me when we are family. All this worry has stressed and heart-broken me."
Ms Martin, 55, claims she has more than enough money, room and love to go around. Since her own home burned down in January, she has been living with a friend.

"We have seven dogs each in our own names and there are another nine cats," she said.
"I have already given away a few but the rest are my family and they are not going anywhere."
Refusing offers from an animal shelter to help the cats and dogs find new homes, Ms Martin instead hopes the public will pay $25,000 in boarding fees.
Jennifer Martin
Jennifer Martin hopes the public will pay $25 000 in animal boarding fees for 11 of her 23 pets.

Whittlesea Council bylaws allow a maximum of four animal species per property.
The council has threatened to take her to court because the number of animals at her property poses a health risk.

Local laws manager Wayne Bullock said the council had tried to work with Ms Martin to reach a compromise.
"In this instance we have concerns over animal welfare as well as health concerns for the property occupants," he said.

"Due to these concerns, council has invited and has been accompanied by representatives of the RSPCA on a site visit to this property. Further assistance from the RSPCA may be sought."
But Ms Martin isn't giving in. "They are my pets and my family and I'm not giving them up for anyone."

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