Warning: This one is not for the faint of heart.
A woman who was missing is now believed dead, possibly eaten by the "dozens of hybrid wolf-dogs" she kept in her backyard, according to NBC News. Authorities found a human skull and a jawbone on Patricia Ritz's property in Kentucky -- and as many as 50 dogs -- when they visited after neighbors reported not having seen her for days.
The dog were hungry. Investigators believe Ritz died of an illness and the dogs consumed her remains to survive.
"I think it was just one lady that really wanted to save them all," Tracey Ward, a county animal control official, told NBC News. "When you don't spay and neuter, they're going to breed. It's not going to be just one or two puppies ― it's going to be seven, nine, 12."Fifty may seem like a lot of dogs, but to Ritz, it was nothing. She had a history of keeping far too many dogs to properly care for, with a string of animal cruelty charges and convictions extending back 25 years.
In 1986, she ran into trouble with at least 50 dogs, and received a year's probation. Other convictions came in 1997, when she had 120 dogs, and in 2002, when she had 38 dogs.
NBC reports that according to the Adopt-a-Husky rescue, in 1999, 159 of 184 dogs found on Ritz's property were euthanized, and 34 more were euthanized in 2003.
Of the 50 dogs found this time around, many are puppies, and others are "extremely pregnant." Some were in cages and many were running free. Most were thin and hungry, while a few were dead.
WFIE. "There absolutely was relief that this will never happen again.""After the sadness, there was relief," Mary Beth Kolb of Adopt-a-Husky told
Animal control is still recovering the dogs and getting them the vet care they need. They're also looking for volunteers in the hope of getting the dogs to an animal sanctuary, according to WFIE.Death is nothing to celebrate, no matter how much we may disagree with the actions of the person. But I completely understand the comment above about being relieved at the news of this woman's death.
This is a case that I find very interesting and I think we get to understand the mind of this type of abuser. Hoarders are unique abusers because they believe they are helping the animals. That they are providing some sort of care and correct environment that no one else can provide. Unfortunately for the animals, this is never the case. The person is mentally ill and has no understanding of the hole they have dug themselves into. Nor do they understand the poor condition of their animals.
The most unfortunate part is that a majority of these animals cannot be rehabilitated for one reason or the other. Where at one time they had the chance for a new life, once in this hoarder environment for an extended amount of time, that chance is gone. There are animals that defy the odds and make it through and are wonderful. I have had the amazing experience to train some of these extraordinary dogs. But that is the point, they are extraordinary, not the norm.
No matter the breed, all dogs, all animals deserve to have a second chance at life when the first one was ruined for them. The story above makes me so sad for all these dogs that this one woman destroyed. Now there are 50+ others whose fate is unknown, some of which are puppies.
If you see abuse of any sort, hoarding, hitting, starving, mistreatment in any way, please report this. I don't care if this is family, friends, neighbors or a stranger on the street. Animals can't speak, it is our job as humans to be their voice.