Monday, July 18, 2016

Oklahoma: Accused animal hoarder Heather Scyrkels talks to FOX 25: 'What else are we supposed to do?'

OKLAHOMA -- For one woman in Lindsay, Okla., trying to take care of animals is more than a hobby, it's a passion.

"I tell my daughter, 'We can't save them all, but the ones that come in our little world, we can damn sure try to save,'" she told FOX 25.

Scyrkels' 2012 animal cruelty arrest photo

The woman wanted to speak with us on a condition of anonymity. As of Thursday, she's an accused animal hoarder.

She has already been identified as Heather Shawna Scrykels (aka Heather Shawn Scrykels) and her daughter has been identified as Helena Gabrielle Scyrkels.

"What else are we supposed to do?" she asked. "People won't spay and neuter, so we either take them into our homes or let them die."

The problem is, according to city ordinances in Lindsay, a person can't run a rescue inside a residential home. When the Garvin County Sheriff's Office came knocking this week, they found 108 animals inside the woman's home and in the backyard.

According to the sheriff, that number included dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets and other exotic animals. Two local animal hospitals and the Bella Foundation stepped up to rescue the animals. They spent nine hours clearing the home.

City law allows for up to four pets inside a home.

"I know it's breaking the rules, but I'm not trying hurt anyone," she said.

Red flags right there - she thinks she's merely in trouble for not being licensed rather than repeatedly hoarding and neglecting animals. She is doing exactly what she got busted in 2012 for doing -- hoarding animals, neglecting animals and being cruelty to animals. Animals have been suffering and dying at her hands FOR YEARS.

The woman described for FOX 25 how she cares for the animals, gives them their shots and tries to find new homes.

She noted it's much harder to adopt out kittens than puppies.

Sheriff Larry Rhodes described the conditions as deplorable and horrific.

"I observed kittens in crates where there was feces in the water they were drinking," Rhodes said.

FOX 25 was allowed inside the home and also noticed a strong smell of urine, feces and an abundance of flies.

"While she was trying to do the right thing, she was going about it in the wrong way," he said.

FOX 25 asked the woman how she would respond to people calling her an animal hoarder. Her response was to look into her adoption history.

Animals she starved back in 2012

A search warrant filed with the Garvin County Court Clerk, though, paints a much more negative picture of her history.

She was cited by Lindsay Police a few years ago for having too many dogs. Court documents show she also plead guilty to willfully and maliciously neglecting 22 horses from food, water and shelter in 2012.

Once the investigation is complete, the Garvin County District Attorney will decide whether to file criminal charges.

(OKFox - July 17, 2016)