Local I-Team: Hoarding history of women accused of dropping dozens of animals off at Memphis Animal Services

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – We’re learning more about the woman charged in Tuesday’s animal cruelty case where 30 animals in a hot moving van were dropped off at Memphis Animal Services.

 The Local I-Team has uncovered Mary Winstead has a history of hoarding animals.

Within the past week, Jackson, Tennessee, Animal Control went to the home where she lived with her mother and took two dozen dogs. Wednesday, they seized seven more that were left behind.

Between the dogs taken from the home in Jackson and the ones dropped off in Memphis, we’re talking more than 60 animals.

 Mary Winstead remains in jail on animal cruelty charges.

It all began Tuesday morning, when Winstead and her mother pulled up to Memphis Animal Services with two moving vans filled with cats and dogs.

A relative told Local 24 News the women have always hoarded dogs and cats, and having 30 or 40 dogs living in the house wasn’t uncommon. The relative says the animals were fed, but never taken to see a vet for shots.

“Hoarding can take different forms. Some people hoard items, some people hoard garbage, some people hoard animals,” said Dr. Ted Bender, CEO of Turning Point.

 Bender is with Turning Point Addiction Treatment Center in Southaven. He has experience working with hoarders. 

“You’ll often find these dwellings are incredibly filthy, animal feces everywhere. There’s fleas all over the place,” he said.

 The sounds and smells are what brought Jackson animal control to the house within the past week, where they found 30 dogs outside. When the women arrived at Memphis Animal Services, they claimed they had been evicted. They had an additional 30 animals in two moving vans, several of which were dead.

“With animals, there is a distorted belief that you are caring for these animals and these animals wouldn’t survive without you and you are trying to take them in. But what they don’t realize is that they are actually hurting these animals,” said Bender.

Winstead is expected to be in court Thursday. Her mother is in the hospital with an unknown medical condition. She has not been charged.

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