Dr. Fogg & Sir Daniel presents..

Too Many Pets?

In Daniels articles on August 22, 2010 at 11:09 pm

Is there such a thing as too many pets?

How many pets do you have?   As for me, I have four.   I wish I had more time to spend with them all as I know the time I do spend with them they cherish..   But what about people who have no one else to love and nothing to offer but time??   There is nothing wrong with them having pets?  Is there?    And what if even their time was limited.. 

This is the story of Theresa Benke.   Mrs. Benke lives on public assistance and has lost contact with her “surviving siblings in Michigan.”  She has no family and is very poor.   But she does have a house.   However, because of no money, she has no electricity or water.  No refrigerator or stove..   Yet she has cats.   Many many cats.   They are her only company now that no one visits her.   She cares a lot for these pets of hers however in September 2007, animal-control officers removed more than 20 animals from Benke’s home. “It appears she has reverted back to animal hoarding” wrote the officer in charge of the case, Dave DeKruif,  he said he did consider the pets “criminally neglected.”

The home was a disaster.  The cats were not being fed and there was animal feces everywhere.   DeKruif wrote to the state attorney’s office to file charges against Mrs. Benke but then, after a later visit, he had a change of heart..

“Benke had cleaned the home, fed and watered the remaining pets and opened her doors to provide cross-ventilation…  Ms. Benke exhibited genuine concern and love for all of her aforementioned pets. Her misguided actions were not of a criminal intent..”

Part of what changed his mind was the fact that Mrs. Benke “has Stage 2 colon cancer and was diagnosed with a year or less mortality if not punctually medically treated by chemotherapy. Benke’s pets are her solitary source of companionship.”

From here the story goes forth to June 16th 2010.   Mrs. Benke is now in the hospital for a short stay, it is over 100 degrees outside, one of the hottest days of the year..  Mrs Benke asks a nurse if she will “check on my pets for me and make sure they are fed..”

The nurse did not expect the sight that awaited her..  Countless pets, starving and in very sick condition.. No food or water..  Junk everywhere and the smell inside the house was over powering..   She managed to rescue nine kittens and one mother cat that day but she had to leave the rest of the pets behind as she couldn’t take the smell.   She called animal control however at this point Mrs. Benke did not allow any more rescues.   All of the rescued kittens died within a couple weeks.

After a lengthy fight in court,  the city has decided to allow Mrs. Benke to keep three pets and they helped collect money to get her electricity turned back on..  But that isn’t good enough for some people who feel she should not be allowed any pets at all..  Regardless of the fact she is dying of cancer..  As she has proven over time she can not take care of them.

The city claims they are trying to make the best of a bad situation..

However, the one of the woman who was involved with the first rescue says she knows what the city thinks..  “’This is gonna fix itself. Mrs. Benke is going to die.’ But that’s not good enough for me.”

Is it right to tell a dying woman she can’t have as many pets as she wants because she has shown she can’t take care of them?   Are we hurting the pets by allowing her to take them in or would they be just as good off in an animal shelter waiting to be euthanized? 

I know those poor animals deserve a better home and that poor lady deserves a family to keep her company..    I know tonight, when I talk to my pet, I know how lucky I am to have him and how lucky he is to have me.  I know if I were in this ladies situation, I would want to spend my last hours with someone that loved me..  Regardless if it had has claws or barks…

~ Daniel

  1. This is a tragic case, we have these in Britain too. The woman obviously needs help and its a pity the local community cant help her. This would seem an ideal project for those who have broken the law to actualy give something back. We have a scheme here called community service where those who would normanly go to prison can do work in the community insted. let them clean out her place. regularly.

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