Who, age What Where When Last Known Address
Ivan G. Issette, 63 95 dogs, 7 birds seized

Brunswick, MD

May 5, 2011  
Patsy L. Issette, 65 95 dogs, 7 birds seized

Brunswick, MD

May 5, 2011  
Type of Crime Other Crimes #/Type of animal(s) involved Case Status Next Court Date /Courthouse

95 dogs, 7 birds



Officials from Frederick County Animal Control have filed charges in connection with a case of animal hoarding discovered in Brunswick.

Acting on an anonymous tip, officers on May 5 removed 95 dogs and 7 birds from a house in the 100 block of East A Street, rescuing them from conditions that Animal Control Director Harold Domer said were unfit for animal or human habitation.

"The ammonia smell from urine and feces was overwhelming," Domer said.

  (Photo courtesy of Adam Fried/Frederick News Post)

One puppy was found dead at the house, and another dog had to be euthanized after a veterinary evaluation. A third dog could not be caught and remained in the house for several days, when it was finally removed from the house, Domer said.

A criminal summons was issued for Ivan G. Issette, 63, and Patsy L. Issette, 65, charging them each with 17 counts of animal cruelty, according to court records.

"There is a state law that basically states a domestic pet owner must provide veterinary care, water, food in sufficient quantity, space and protection from the elements for animals that are under their care," Domer said. "That does not have appeared to have occurred in this case."

Domer said the maximum penalty for animal neglect is 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine for each count.

None of the dogs appeared to have received any veterinary care or were spayed, neutered or housebroken, and they were suffering from severe flea infestations, Domer said.

While some of the dogs had lost weight, Domer said none were seriously emaciated.  "The vast majority of them were of appropriate size and weight," Domer said.

Domer said it was the largest case of dog hoarding he has seen in the county, although he said there have been cases where more than 100 cats have been rescued from homes.

He said hoarders generally start out with a few animals and that conditions gradually deteriorate as more are added, in many cases without the owners being fully aware of it.

Animal hoarders generally believe they are acting in the best interest of the animals, Domer said.  "It just grows and grows," he said. "They get accustomed to it, whereas you and I would not."

The large number of dogs in this case appears to be in part the product of breeding among animals already in the home, Domer said. Most of the dogs are terrier/Chihuahua mixes.  "We've definitely seen many similarities between the dogs," Domer said.

Domer said the dogs are improving physically and emotionally and that some will likely become available for adoption soon. Several have already been sent to foster homes, as have the 7 birds.

Domer said the large influx of animals has placed a considerable strain on the shelter's resources, nearly doubling its dog population. But staff and volunteers have stepped up to help deal with the situation, he said.  "We've had a great response from the volunteers at the shelter that have come in and assisted with this massive undertaking," Domer said.


Frederick News Post