The only thing on this planet that is worse than child abuse is animal abuse. I say that because at least children have cognizance of what’s happening to them and have some ability to fight back (if you’ve ever been kicked by a toddler or had your hair pulled, they’re pretty bloody strong!) These breeders of Clarence, Buffalo NY not only allowed their four children to live in filth and be neglected, but they also hoarded animals that they knew damn well they couldn’t care for!
The property of Matthew (37) and Amie Burkley (36) was raided after receiving a tip that four horses had died a few weeks ago. Animal control officers described the home as something out of a horror story. The house absolutely honked of animal shit and piss. Officers found a small pig, six dogs, numerous cats, prairie dogs and guinea pigs inside. More than two dozen other animals and livestock were found existing in a tumbledown metal barn outside, sick and starving. That’s a whole lotta caca being produced!
Two of the four children were home at the time of the investigation and they helped officers identify and round up the critters. The kids weren’t sick but they were underdressed for the chilly weather and were outside with no shoes and socks on. Still, living in a house full of animal shit and possibly mentally ill parents is not in the best interests of kids. The four kids are aged from 15 years down to 7 years. They’re now in the care of their relatives.
3 dogs had to be euthnanised and some horses may also had to be put down. The couple have been in trouble before for keeping more animals than they could provide for. It was found that there was only half a bale of hay that was supposed to feed all the live stock. To give you an idea of how inadequate that is: my sister used to have a pet rabbit. We’d give her half a bale of hay per fortnight and she’d devour half of it and poo on the rest of it. That would only feed a rabbit for two weeks, not various llamas, horses, goats, chickens and geese. Geese shit stinks by the way.
The breeders have expressed remorse over the events and did have good intentions for the animals. But as the old saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. They allowed animals to die from malnutrition and lack of veterinary care, and their children were forced to live in a home full of animal crap. Animal hoarding is a mental illness and often the animals are neglected, along with any children living in the home with the hoarders. Often hoarding stems from feelings of loneliness, but the breeders have four children to keep them company. Hoarders are also a danger to their children as they will often lash out if the child has the sense to throw anything away (or in this case sell or give the animals away).
Luckily no dead children and most of the animals were saved. The breeders been charged with least 5 charges of animal cruelty and four counts of endangering the welfare of a minor. They will appear in Clarence Town court at a later date. The town is working with other agencies to help rehome the animals and a sign has been placed on the Burkley’s door saying “Unfit for Human Habitation”.
I used to have quite a little menagerie of animals. We had a cat, a rat and a rabbit. Unfortunately the rabbit died a few months ago, but our animals were always healthy, had plenty of food and lots of exercise. We even took the rat to the vet after we found a lump on her (unfortunately it’s malignant) but we cared about our animals enough to get them vet care when they needed it. Animals, like children need care and attention. Neither the children nor the animals in this story got that.