Local News

Owner: Seized Chatham animals were not mistreated

Posted July 16, 2015
Updated July 17, 2015

— The owner of about 190 animals seized in Chatham County after a raid by animal protection groups on Wednesday said her animals were not badly treated.

“Did they look bad to you? No, they did not look bad to you,” Stephane Joostema told a WRAL reporter. “Cruelty is the most insane word to use for someone like me.”

Local and national animal protection groups started planning the raid after repeated attempts to help Joostema resolve a hoarding issue failed, said Leigh Anne Garrard, director of Chatham County Animal Services.

Some of the animals were in need of veterinary care, said Erica Geppi, state director for The Humane Society.

“I think the thing that will hit people the most was the sheer volume of animals," she said. “There was just a lot of unsanitary conditions and neglect of care with them."

Joostema said improvements were being made to the animals’ living conditions – efforts she said were hindered by Wednesday’s raid.

“I do not want to go in because they wrecked the whole place,” she said.

No charges were filed against Joostema as of Thursday evening.


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  • Gail Dragon Jul 17, 2015
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    I can't see where anyone could take care of 190 animals properly, let alone provide medical care and food.

  • Paul Jones Jul 17, 2015
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    I said it was video of other raids. The "protection" lady was referring to the dogs in that video as if they were psychologically harmed. It wasn't 190 animals in that case and the lady lost all credibility with the dogs bouncing around. My point is that you can't trust those people. You also can't trust child protective services for the same reason. Both have employees that will stretch the truth.

  • Fourtyseven Cole Jul 17, 2015
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    All 190 animals were shown bouncing and playing in the grass? Wow. Big yard.

    You're making judgement based on a clip in a video that doesn't tell the whole story. You don't know if a large number were being neglected, if their living conditions were littered with their own feces, if they were being fed properly. 190 animals is a heck of a lot to take care of for any professional, let alone one woman.

  • Paul Jones Jul 17, 2015
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    This lady is likely telling the truth. I've seen seen videos of animals taken in other animal raids where the animal "protection" people asserted that the dogs taken were mistreated and in shock, yet the WRAL video showed them bouncing around and playing in the grass. The video and the "protection" lady's words were clearly at odds.

    Sometimes, people just don't have better things to do.