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Animal hoarder beyond Canadian law

  |   July 10, 2009 at 9:37 AM
MONTREAL, July 10 (UPI) -- Canadian animal rescue officials say they can't prosecute a Montreal woman for keeping hundreds of small animals in her apartment under old laws.

Acting on a tip Monday, the Montreal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals went to the apartment of an unidentified woman and found a menagerie of more than 200 rats, rabbits, cats, dogs, lizards and hedgehogs, The Gazette newspaper reported Friday.

Workers seized 93 rats and three rabbits from the apartment that SPCA director Alanna Devine described as "pretty horrific," the newspaper said.

She said the other animals were left behind as the woman was "reluctantly cooperative."

Canadian animal care laws date back to the 19th century and the SPCA would have to launch costly legal action to prove the woman willfully was harming the animals, the report said.

Pathology expert Gary Patronek told the Gazette animal hoarding is like an addiction and often the perpetrators aren't aware they're doing something wrong.

"There's some big hole in their psyche, and they're trying to fill it with animals," he said.

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