Animal Hoarders Fill Homes With Dozens of Pets

"The dogs are really loud," said Lindsay, Janice's daughter. "They're all barking at once. The smell is pretty horrible." Janice has not seen her grandchildren in months.

"I mean as much as I love my grandkids, and believe me that's a lot, but I also love my dogs too," Janice said. "You know you've seen these guys grow up from puppies, you know, and you've taken care of them."

Lindsay eventually called on Dr. Karen Cassidy, owner and clinical director of the Anxiety and Agoraphobia Treatment Center in Chicago, to set up an intervention. The goal? Convince Janice to give up all but two dogs and one cat.

Animal Hoarder Intervention

During the intervention, Janice said: "Seriously, I don't think I can pare down to two dogs and one cat, because yeah, I've spent so much time with them and there's certain ones that I'm like really, really super close to."

Lindsay responded: "But see that's, that's where it gets me, because you spend more time with the dogs than you do with your daughter and your grandkids. And don't you think that's more important?"

"Well yes, it is more important," said Janice.

"But you're picking the dogs," said Lindsay.

Cassidy intervened.

"You know, honestly speaking, if you were looking for a home for an animal -- so let's say you were running a pet shelter. Would you pick your place?" said Cassidy.

Janice began to cry.

"Mama, we're going to be all right," said Lindsay.

Animal Hoarders: 'Unconditional Love'

It's a painful process. Humane society volunteers filled an entire tractor trailer with animals as Janice learned to let go.

"I felt like it was pulling on my heart cause I wanted to give them one more hug goodbye," she said after the animals had gone. It had been almost four months, but that moment was still tough to think about.

"I felt good for the dogs -- I knew I did what I had to do, but it was hard because I loved them," Janice said.

Janice has moved into her daughter's home with just one cat and two dogs.

She's getting a divorce and says her life is better, but she still misses those dogs.

"When you think about it a dog will love you no matter what, and when you look at it, they say, dog spelled backwards is God, and He gives you unconditional love, and so do they," Janice said.

Janice said she didn't think the term "animal hoarder" applied to her.

"I don't think that applies to me, because it wasn't something I chose to do," she said. "It wasn't something that I just went out and got that many dogs because I decided I wanted to start gathering all these things, you know? It wasn't like that. Mine just snowballed. ... I didn't go out and initially buy 100 dogs."

Don, meanwhile, faced possible jail time for abuse charges. He finally surrendered to animal control. Workers found dangerously high levels of ammonia from all the urine and several gruesome surprises -- including dead cats.

After a cleaning and new carpets, Don was reunited with his wife, Linda.

But not all cases are so cut-and-dry. Bonnie refused to give up any animals, though she did install a doggie door so the animals could go to the bathroom outside.

Janice said she gets the same amount of love from each one of her pets.

"The love I get from them, [it's] unconditional," Janice said. "It's definitely unconditional love, because they love you no matter what. They're there. I talk to 'em, you know. It sounds funny as it is, but I talk to 'em. And they know. They know I would do anything for 'em."

Janice said she missed the pets she gave away, however.

"I always miss the others," she said. "I'll always miss 'em."

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