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Authorities concerned for pet owner's wellbeing

Posted June 22, 2009

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— Wilson County animal control officers had to euthanize two dogs and three cats seized from a Wilson home last week.

Now, authorities are also concerned for the animals' owner and are trying to figure out who has jurisdiction to get her to leave the house.

Officers with the Wilson County Sheriff's Office Animal Enforcement Unit on Thursday found trash and feces throughout Ellen Hamm's residence at 412 Deans St.

Ellen Hamm home Seized animals from Wilson home are euthanized

They seized three cats and three dogs. All but one had serious health issues that veterinarians were forced to put the animals down.

On a return visit Friday, animal control officers found rats inside traps that were set to catch more cats. Officers also reported approximately 40 rats scurrying across the floor.
"She bought two pet rats, and they got away from her," said Wilson County sheriff's deputy Toby Myrick.

The investigation is ongoing, and Hamm, 56, has not been charged with any crime.

Authorities said they believe Hamm had good intentions but might have gotten overwhelmed taking care of the animals.

"She just cared for the animals, and she got overwhelmed," Myrick said. "She just started with one, then two and just kept going."

Because she is unwilling to leave her house, the sheriff's office is working with county agencies, including social services, the health department and the city of Wilson, to determine the best way to get her from the home.

Authorities are also working with the house's owners to determine a course of action.

"Our main concern now is to help her get out of that house and into better living conditions," Myrick said.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • Weetie Jun 23, 2009

    This is such a sad situation. Where is her family? Friends? Maybe she got sick and cannot help herself. To think otherwise is a shame. I agree...she needs help. Either a new beginning if she is mentally able or somewhere she can be taken care of if she is not able to do it herself.

  • FoxtrotUniformCharlieKiloakaCALM Jun 23, 2009

    eesh, and just think, she goes shopping in the same stores you do, not washing her hands (and heck if she did I don't think it would help). it's hard not to be a germ-freak with stuff like this!

  • FromClayton Jun 23, 2009

    "Our main concern now is to help her get out of that house and into better living conditions," Myrick said.

    Why? She did it herself. Quit wasting my tax money on this nasty person. Just let her live there until she dies. NO more tax money should be spent on her.

  • dwf1205 Jun 23, 2009

    So, they're trying to find a way to kick her out of her own house?!? This all despite the fact she has been charged with no crime?!? Even in the event she's charged/convicted of a crime, she has a right to personal property. This tyranny is unjustified! You have to read with wonder about how, in this story, they talk about "who has jurisdiction to get her to leave the house." If authorities can take her property because they "fear for her safety", it won't be long before they come and take my or your property as well, for equally unjust reasons. If I were her, I'd defend my property, with lethal force if required, from all invaders!!

  • mom2threecld Jun 23, 2009

    devilblue, i do home health , and you'd be surprised how some people live and survive. it is horrible and we have to call APS and get them involved.usually it's health issues either mental or physical, or both

  • mom2threecld Jun 23, 2009

    its called APS. the police or anyone else can call adult protective services on this woman and they should. aps is not just for people in question of care or abuse by someone else but also people that need protection against themselves. she may be mildly retarded, had a stroke and have impaired decsion making skills, etc. the list is endless. it may not be just neglect to the animals, she could have some real issues also.

  • kidsrn Jun 22, 2009

    I feel sorry for the poor animals that were euthanized (they didn't ask to be kept by a "well meaning" person who couldn't care for them properly) and also the homeowner. Gosh, if that was my house that woman would be eager to go with the Dept. of Social Services after I got through with her!

  • All child molesters should die Jun 22, 2009

    I don't feel sorry for her, one bit. I feel sorry for the five animals that lost their lives. Had sad for them!


  • wcumom Jun 22, 2009

    She is 56 years old and unless her health is horrible I see NO reason this woman would choose to live in such filth.I have never in all my life.I hope the Homeowner cleans this home up and maybe this woman can go live in government housing if she isnt already.Pitiful,I don't feel sorry for her.

  • teacher-mom Jun 22, 2009

    Why would anyone buy rats (or mice)?