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A bit of a conundrum

August 3rd, 2010, 03:30 PM
Hey all. As the title states I have a bit of a conundrum that I am not sure how to deal with. I could use some brainstorming to give my daughter some help with an issue she is having. She has an acquaintance, let's call him Max, who is not quite on the up and up with animals. She isn’t quite sure what is going on with him but has been getting bad vibes. Let me try to explain. Sorry if it gets a little long. By now you should all be used to it. :D
Max has been a single dad with full custody of two kids (who he doesn’t treat the best). He has one dog, mixed breed, he's had for quite some time. It's known to have a few aggression issues. He also at the moment has at least one cat. In the last couple of years he has adopted three other dogs and I think she said he has also had three or four cats come and go. What he does is to adopt a dog or cat but suddenly the pet will be sick and mysteriously die. That’s weird enough but the weirdest part is that either the day before or the day after the animal dies a brand new one is adopted. There is always a somewhat believable story of major health issues so she ends up feeling sorry for poor Max. It’s almost as if Max has found a new pet he wants and finds a way to have the ones he has euthanized. For some reason the first dog is never the one who “gets replaced” even though it is the one with issues.
My daughter has always been an avid animal lover and is very intuitive. She has the feeling that the original dog may have killed at least one or two of the other animals or hurt them badly enough that they had to be euthanized. She also gets a feeling that Max may be doing something to harm the animals but has no proof.
Her issue is now he wants her to go with him and his new fiancé to the shelter to “check out” the animals. She feels as though another one of his pets is about to meet it’s doom and wants no part of it. :( She does not want to go but he is a good friend of her husbands. Her husband sees nothing wrong with what has happened. She would like to report Max to the proper authorities but is not sure how to go about it to ensure he is never able to adopt an animal from the shelters again. It would be nice if they could get some real evidence against him so he could be charged and not allowed to have pets for quite some years. Maybe he would grow out of his abusive behaviour. So…. give me some suggestions on what she could possible do to stop this man.

Floppy Dog
August 3rd, 2010, 04:13 PM
OH Phooey! (In substitution of expletive that shouldn't be used in a forum!)

Not to long ago I read an article posted in the "pets in the news" section about the new science of forensic vetrinary medicine. After considerable description of cases in which this has been used (Pheonix the Pitt Bull who was set on fire in Chicago, I think, was the one that stuck with me), the article went on to describe sumething I found truly nasty to think about. It seems that families in which abuse or neglect is an issue are more likely to have a larger number of pets (more than the average 2-3 of multi-pet households) and to cycle through the pets at a very rapid rate. On average, new pets are introduced about 1 per year and most don't survive or run away within 2 years. Abuse or neglect of the pets can be used as a controlling or punishment factor to the humans in the household (eg. beat the dog to punish or terrorize the child). It was a very scary article to read.

I don't have any real, practical advice to give you, except to contact your local animal protection service. But I don't know how many "teeth" they have to investigate. The other angle is to report to the child welfare authorities if "Max's" treatment of his children constitutes neglect or abuse. Most provinces in Canada require that you report any suspicions of child abuse or neglect to the authorities.

One question, does "Max" always go to the same vet and shelter? If yes, any good vet worth his/her salt would report any suspicious circumstances/injuries to the authorities.

August 3rd, 2010, 04:21 PM
I have reported to AS before and asked to be anon. they have my name and number but would not disclose it. Maybe she need to let the shelter know ahead of time and have them really question him about his past pets and find out the vets involved because I am betting there is more than one. Just tell him it is the usual reference questions. I would definitely report him I agree sounds a bit convienent one dog dies and gets replaced

August 3rd, 2010, 04:39 PM
14+,what a terrible situation to be in for your daughter and the animals of course.
Is she sure he gets all these pets from shelters,or does he answer dogs/cats for free ads:confused:
If he goes to the shelter,I would without question go there ahead of time and report what she knows,report the suspicious nature of the animals dying or being dumped and ask they don't give him anymore animals.
He might be as evil as getting a thrill from seeing cats/dogs getting killed by his aggressive dog and then he buries them,I doubt he takes his animals to the vet.
Chances are too,if he abuses animals,he also abuses his kids.
Maybe I am letting my imagination run wild,but there are evil people out there.

August 3rd, 2010, 05:37 PM
I agree with the others, have her go to the shelter and let them know what is happening in that household. At least the shelter has some background and they can make the decision on whether to allow this man to adopt a pet.

If you daughter is friends with "Max's" fiancee, would she talk to her about reconsidering marrying this man? It would be pretty scary if he moved from killing his pets to killing his wife when he wants her replaced :eek:

I am like Chico, I don't trust people :evil:. If her gut is telling her something is wrong it probably is.

August 3rd, 2010, 05:43 PM
Thanks for the suggestions thus far. I appreciate them. Doing what I do it is very hard for me to listen to my girl's story and not want to rip Max's head off!
To answer some questions - Max is very careful to not physically abuse his boys to the point where they would have bruising. It is more mental abuse and the occasional smack or arm grab from what *Beth* told me. They live in a fairly large city so he goes to a couple of different shelters. The timeline would be far enough apart that the shelter would think things were on the up and up. He has also bought at least one of the pups from a byb. As for vetting, we never really talked about whether or not vets were in the picture. I will ask her when I talk to her sometime within the next day or so.
She would really like to find a way to have him charged with something but that is difficult without proof. He is very careful.
When we talked about it yesterday our concerns were about the same. If the shelters get to the point where they don't adopt to him then he would simply go to free ads or breeders or even rescues. :shrug: :(

August 3rd, 2010, 08:58 PM
That sucks 14+ ! It's a tuff one ....because it's hard to get proof , and if your daughter tries to make him understand that pets are not toys that you replace when you get tired of them ... he probably won't listen. :frustrated:

She could talk to people in shelters around but .... he's just going to turn around and get pets some place else. :frustrated:

This man shouldn't have kids nor pets. I feel for all of them :(

August 3rd, 2010, 09:05 PM
Gonna see if I'm reading this correctly;

Has *Beth* (your daughter :shrug:) ever approached Max's fiance and nonchalantly struck up a conversation regarding all the animals that have come and gone? :shrug:

Man, tough predicament 14+ but agree with all below in that your daughter should confidentially speak with the shelter and address her concerns.

August 3rd, 2010, 09:46 PM
Ok, so everyone is in agreement that *Beth* needs to speak to the shelters he may go to in the area. I am quite sure she is willing to do that as long as she won't be implicated. She does not need that. How would she go about talking to any possible breeders,answering ads in papers, rescues, etc? There is no way she can phone and speak to each and every one of them. :shrug:
klm - quite obviously Beth is not my daughter's name. I know she does not want her name bandied about freely. The issue with this fiance is that she really is a "new" fiance. They haven't even been dating that long. Maybe a total of two or three months. My daughter has met her once. As I stated it's Max and my son in law who are friends.
Frenchy - there are a lot of people out there that need to get that message!! :thumbs up
Keep the ideas coming folks. I need all the different possibilities I can get!

August 4th, 2010, 05:42 AM
14+ it almost sounds like Munchausen by proxy,,,but the proxy is an animal instead of a child. It isn't as uncommon as people think and many of us here actually know someone showing the same symptoms. I agree with the others that your daughter needs to talk to the gf if for no other reason than to keep an eye on the situation , possibly document the amount of animals adopted, then replaced by another, it may help to make it so Max,,can't adopt again. Unfortunately there are so many " free to good home" ads he'll be able to find an animal elsewhere.

August 4th, 2010, 08:26 AM
As usual I have no sound advice......but I do know some Hells Angels 14k....:evil:

August 4th, 2010, 08:32 AM
As usual I have no sound advice......but I do know some Hells Angels 14k....:evil:


August 4th, 2010, 08:47 AM
14+ it almost sounds like Munchausen by proxy,,,

That is pretty terrifying. If I'm not mistaken, it's a cry for attention (pretty sick way to go about it). Sympathy from an audience of some sort is what the person seeks.

14+, all I can recommend is your daughter record as many details as possible, and find concrete information to back up her suspicions. Not sure if just going with all that to a shelter would help but I'd certainly be going to the police.

August 4th, 2010, 08:54 AM
As usual I have no sound advice......but I do know some Hells Angels 14k....:evil:

:laugh::laugh: I'm glad you got my back hon!!! :grouphug:
You gals have been giving me some wonderful advice. :grouphug: to you all. I have to head off to work but will be checking in when I get home. Thank you all so much!!!!
If any "experts" in the field (hint "Ethel" ;)) would like to give their two cents worth I'd appreciate it. :D Maybe as someone who works in that line they may know how far my daughter can go. :shrug:

August 4th, 2010, 08:56 AM
In 2001, researchers identified a subset of this condition, involving pets, not children, as the primary victims. In the case of the pets, the animals presented with contrived illnesses or injuries, inflicted by the owner. In a study in the United Kingdom, up to four per cent of pet illness and injuries were suspected of being related to this disorder, with others suspected but not confirmed. In one case, a dog suffered multiple incidents of poisoning at the hands of his owner. Further investigation by authorities revealed that several of the owner’s other pets had died under mysterious circumstances.

Interestingly, the perpetrator is often described as a veterinarian’s dream client. Predominantly female, they are generally of above-average intelligence, and have a keen grasp of medical terminology. They have researched medications or ailments, and can speak easily with the vet about their animal’s condition and the various treatment options available. After dumbing down diagnoses all day, being able to speak concisely and frankly to a client is a relief to many.

August 4th, 2010, 09:18 AM

The term Munchausen syndrome by proxy (MSBP) was first coined in 1977 by pediatrician Roy Meadow when he published a report on a new form of child abuse. MSBP usually describes the deliberate production, or feigning, of physical or psychological symptoms in another person who is under the individual's care. This pattern of behavior usually involves a mother and young child; however, there have been cases of MSBP involving illness produced or feigned in other adults and even in pets.[1,2]

August 4th, 2010, 09:21 AM
:laugh::laugh: I'm glad you got my back hon!!! :grouphug:


If any "experts" in the field (hint "Ethel" ;)) would like to give their two cents worth I'd appreciate it. :D Maybe as someone who works in that line they may know how far my daughter can go. :shrug:

I'll call her 14k :thumbs up

August 4th, 2010, 09:54 AM
14+, this is a very sad situation, for pets and for kids...

The only thing I would suggest is that "Beth" be extra-careful about how she goes about it. Last thing she needs is for things to get ugly. Not only that, but unfortunately, unless she has proof, he could probably take legal action against her, if he finds out she is out "to get him".

He sounds like a sick insividual, but hey, what do we really know about whats going on? Not hunches or feelings, but facts? That his animals mysteriously die and get replaced? I know it feels wrong, and raises the hair on the back of your neck, but will it hold in court?

I would say the best course of action IMHO is to have a casual chat with his new fiancee and really drop little clues, rather than out and blame him. She may get her panties in a bunch and run and tell him... Otherwise, she will be noticing strange things and rather than tell him - she'd be your source. I think that would probably be best, for she can see things first-hand.
:grouphug::grouphug::grouphug: and :goodvibes::goodvibes::goodvibes: to "Beth"

Dog Dancer
August 4th, 2010, 10:22 AM
14+ is there any chance that your daughter's husband would speak to this guy? He's the connection there, maybe he could help. At the very least maybe he could say he doesn't want "Beth" to get involved as it is too upsetting for her. If you daughter can get her hubby on side maybe he could spend some time there and get some proof of bad things happening. What a sad situation this is.

August 4th, 2010, 02:14 PM
14+ it almost sounds like Munchausen by proxy,,,but the proxy is an animal instead of a child.

Aslan - I think you hit the nail on the head!:thumbs up

I just wanted to say that I have infact warned shelters about certain people we have seen in rescue that have applied for animals. The shelters do take note, but since there is no mugshot of the person(s), they may fall on someone who volunteers and does the adoption. That person will actually adopt from larger establishments but may be recognized or known by smaller ones where their application is intercepted.

I don't know what to tell you except that this person may also suffer from other ailments such as mental imbalance (Bipolar), major depression, and/or low self esteem. Not that I am trying to make excuses for this so called 'person' but just to put a 'face' on him. Got to tell you...I worry for that kid! (just a side note - I am not implying that people with mental issues are all like this obviously...or I would have a mugshot of my own!)

The truth will eventually come always does as someone will give somewhere down the line. This person does not have real friends, and when one gets pissed off - the authorities will be contacted for the animals and the child. Time will tell.

August 4th, 2010, 02:57 PM
Max sounds like a complete douche-head. I agree with the others, have her go to the places he's adopted the previous pets and tell them her concerns. Maybe she can also write a detailed letter and send them to various places alerting them of the jerks history with the pets he's had before.

August 4th, 2010, 04:28 PM
Thanks everyone. I am reading everything with interest. Munchausen is an interesting theory. Very interesting theory actually. I will be talking to my daughter later on tonight. Please continue with the suggestions. :thumbs up

August 4th, 2010, 04:41 PM
Munchausen by proxy is a disorder where the person seeks attention for being the caregiver of someone they made sick (child, pet, etc). Is this guy looking for any sympathy from others about the deaths and losses of his pets? Or is it no big deal to him?

If it's not a big deal to him, it's not MBP. If he plays it up and tells people the sob story, etc or makes out like he is so hard done by because of the deaths of his poor, beloved pets, how he tried valiantly to care for them - that might be MBP.

August 4th, 2010, 09:31 PM
Well, I spoke to my daughter tonight. She is going to try to put together a list of all of the pets he has had over the last couple of years and their "illnesses" and go to the shelters in the area. She is a little dubious about it but feels it's something she should do. She would also like to hear any ideas on how to get the word out to breeders and rescues. There isn't much to be done about bybs and adverts.
For now she is going to hold off on talking to the fiance. She doesn't know her well enough to know how she would react and does not feel it's something she should do. She would like to thank you all for your help and, as I said, would love any information on how to turn this guy in or at least get the proper authorities watching him. So, on behalf of my daughter, thank you all. :grouphug:

Munchausen by proxy is a disorder where the person seeks attention for being the caregiver of someone they made sick (child, pet, etc). Is this guy looking for any sympathy from others about the deaths and losses of his pets? Or is it no big deal to him?

If it's not a big deal to him, it's not MBP. If he plays it up and tells people the sob story, etc or makes out like he is so hard done by because of the deaths of his poor, beloved pets, how he tried valiantly to care for them - that might be MBP.

Thanks driver8 for that info. You are right. From what I understand of Munchausen the sympathy is what drives these individuals. From what DD has said a couple of times, especially with the cats, the old cat has just been replaced quietly with not much said. The only way they know there is a new one is because my SIL has come back from a visit and told me DD that there was a new cat there and what happened to the old one. As I said at the first it's normally a believable story...... cat was sick with cancer, kidney disease, etc. With the dogs he does seem to want a little sympathy but even then it's basically "dog doed of -----, I got/am getting a new one." and then not much more said. :shrug:

One thing is for sure. Now that there is some attention being brought to this person he will not be able to keep up doing what he is doing for long. :fingerscr

August 5th, 2010, 07:02 AM
Or maybe he just a psychopath who has no empathy and does away with his animals when he feels he has had enough of them :shrug:

August 5th, 2010, 07:11 AM
14+ it isn't so much sympathy they are looking for as it is attention. Unfortunately we'll never know what their input is with their vet. It is the going to the vet with poor fluffy and getting the attention from the vet when they can see something is wrong with poor fluffy but can't figure out what it is,,or when fluffy gets worse and or dies. All of which gets the person attention and yes in the end sympathy. The sympathy is not what the op is seeking so much as the attention they get from the animal or person being sick and no one being able to figure out what is wrong.

Or as Love4 said they're just an out and out psycho or sociopath.

August 5th, 2010, 02:55 PM
What a sad situation :( and kudos to your daughter for noticing and caring enough to help. :grouphug:

Is there some way she can talk the situation over with his vet to get his/her insight?