Jail Time, Psychiatric Care Urged in Apparent Hoarding Case

PETA Calls For Vigorous Prosecution of Alleged Abuser Reportedly Caught With One Malnourished and Two Deceased Dogs on His Property

For Immediate Release:
January 15, 2020

Contact:
Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Middleton, N.H. – Today, PETA sent an urgent letter to Strafford County Attorney Tom Velardi asking that his office vigorously prosecute a cruelty-to-animals case involving apparent animal hoarder Albert Colburn. The felony charges filed against Colburn come after authorities reportedly discovered two deceased dogs and one malnourished dog at his property in February 2019. Because bail conditions prohibit him from harboring animals, two additional dogs were reportedly removed from his property.

Colburn was previously convicted on 11 charges of cruelty to animals in 2010 after officials reportedly discovered 16 neglected animals—including horses, dogs, and birds—as well as so many deceased animals that an SPCA officer on the scene reportedly stated that he “stopped counting.” Colburn was sentenced to three years of probation and prohibited from owning animals, but he still allegedly applied for a service animal permit.

“Hoarders have a compulsion to warehouse animals they can’t care for, and they’re nearly always repeat offenders—unless authorities step in,” says PETA Vice President Colleen O’Brien. “PETA is calling for any convictions in this case to come with jail time, counseling, and a prohibition on owning animals that’s closely supervised by law enforcement.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org.

PETA’s letter to Strafford County Attorney Tom Velardi follows.

January 15, 2020

The Honorable Tom Velardi
Strafford County Attorney

Dear Mr. Velardi,

PETA is an animal protection organization with more than 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide, tens of thousands of whom reside in New Hampshire. This letter concerns a case that your office is handling involving Albert Colburn of Middleton. News sources indicate that he was convicted on 11 charges of cruelty to animals in 2010 after officials reportedly discovered 16 neglected horses, dogs, and birds as well as numerous deceased animals on his property. An SPCA officer on the scene reportedly stated that this was “the worst case of animal cruelty and neglect” he had ever seen and that he “stopped counting” the number of deceased victims because there were so many. The defendant was sentenced to three years of probation. However, we understand that despite the conditions that had been set prohibiting his ownership of animals, he proceeded to apply for a service animal permit. He now apparently faces felony cruelty charges after authorities reported discovering two deceased dogs and another malnourished one at his property last February. We also understand that two additional dogs were removed from his property in 2019 because the conditions of his bail don’t permit him to harbor animals.

Colburn may be an animal hoarder. As you may know, hoarders generally profess to care for their animals. However, a psychological addiction to warehousing them supersedes any legitimate concern for animal welfare, and when combined with typically constrained or nonexistent resources, what results is massive animal suffering and properties that are often ultimately condemned because of the human health hazards they pose. The “hoarder syndrome” is not rare—it’s pathological, and rates of recidivism approach 100%. Only specific sentencing provisions (or the conditions of a plea agreement) can prevent repeat offenses.

We respectfully ask that, if convicted and in addition to serving the maximum period of incarceration allowable, the defendant be ordered to undergo psychological counseling at personal expense and be prohibited from owning animals for as long as possible. We also urge your office to seek an order providing for regular supervision by local law enforcement to ensure compliance.

Thank you for your time and consideration as well as for the difficult work that you do.

Sincerely,

Kristin Rickman
Emergency Response Division Manager
Cruelty Investigations Department

For Media: Contact PETA's
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