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Marshall resident appears on Today Show to discuss animal hoarding

Friday, January 14, 2011

Marshall's Carolyn Root made one of her first public appearances on the Today show Friday morning to speak about her experiences and strains as a recovering animal hoarder.

"We would spend $350 a week on dry dog food," Root told Today show host Meredith Vieira.

The financial strain of taking care of more than 80 dogs sometimes reached up to $20,000 per year.

"I figure I spent $200,000 feeding dogs. It's starting to mess with my head," said Ronnie Root in a clip of the Animal Planet show shown on the Today Show.

"I guess I just kind of overlooked (the financial strains) because it wasn't an issue," Carolyn said. "We would get behind on our bills every month but it wasn't an issue. Feeding the dogs was an issue."

At one point, Carolyn said she would rather give up one of her kids than one of her dogs.

Tim Root said it reached a point where he stopped talking to his parents.

"Physically, financially, emotionally it was taking a toll," said Tim Root. "It was something I would not support any more.

Carolyn is now a recovering animal hoarder. While the Animal Planet television show, Confessions: Animal Hoarding, was shooting in Marshall, Carolyn chose to allow the Humane Society of Missouri to take 71 dogs and place them for adoption.

Carolyn told Vieira that the issue started for her while volunteering at the animal shelter.

"This started 16 years ago. I would volunteer for the shelter and I was the only one volunteering at the shelter. Everyday I would go in and there would be dogs missing," Carolyn said.

"Because they had been euthanized?" Vieira asked.

"Yes, And I got to the point when people would bring them to the door .... I would put them in my jeep and take them home."

All of the dogs except for 11 have been adopted. Two of the dogs still live with her and nine do not.

As for the strains of recovering, Carolyn said, "It's hard. I know that there are animals out there being abused day after day and I guess I tried to save all I could. I think hoarding is a harsh word. I would prefer maybe saving. I love them babies. I love them."

The episode featuring Carolyn's struggle is scheduled for broadcast Feb. 4.

Contact Patrick Nolan at

pnolan@marshallnews.com


Comments
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I would rather be around the animals than people,dogs are just dogs unless they are mean and aggressive,and if they are its because someone made them that way

-- Posted by nancy007 on Sat, Jan 29, 2011, at 9:50 AM

I think the reason that it is important to know if they were compensated in some way is because they have said that no one in the community would give them help.

If they in fact received compensation, it sheds a different light on that particular statement.

Again, I'm pretty sure they didn't do this for money or fame, but it is an important piece to the story.

-- Posted by koeller77 on Fri, Jan 21, 2011, at 8:41 AM

Thank you red dog and Baby got back :)

-- Posted by mizzou21 on Fri, Jan 21, 2011, at 8:03 AM

I think people here are missing the whole point. Mrs. Root has a problem - an addiction. It was a good thing that she did in saving animals and it turned into a problem. Just like regular hoarding, she found a way to fill her empty nest. Her family found a way to help her by calling in Animal Planet and good for them. They knew people in town would know and judge, but they did it anyway because they loved her.

Just like other addictions sometimes its easier to ask for help from strangers than it is in your own community. Plus people are just starting to realize that animal hoarding doesn't mean your crazy, it just means you ahve an addiction, just like alcohol or drugs. People probably knew but didn't realize it was something she needed help from, they probably thought she could stop if she just "wanted too enough."

As for the Root family. Good for you for doing whatever you had to in order to get help. Im sure it wasn't easy.

-- Posted by babygotback on Thu, Jan 20, 2011, at 6:24 PM

I do not believe anyone LIVING in this community is belittling Mr. and Mrs. Root. The family is well known in this area and the fact is that Ms. Root's compassion for unfortunate animals is recognized and applauded. It is her love for animals that created the situation and it is her love of the animals that has corrected it. Fame has nothing to do with her actions. Does recognizing what she did account for the "fame" label? I think not.

As for the fortune part; why should anyone care if compensation was given for the subsequent publicity caused by the situation? Can anyone tell me why it should be public knowledge? The only reason I can see for anyone to be upset about money here is because that person(s) didn't get any of it.

-- Posted by red dog on Thu, Jan 20, 2011, at 6:05 PM

Miss Marple,

If you had read my earlier comment you would see that the family did not recieve compinsation except for getting rid of the dogs. Which by values the humane society should have stepped in.

Why would anyone want to go through this ridacule in a small community. besides if they did you would probably have people all over the country start hoarding for capital gain. There are shows out there trying to help people that get in a bind or try to help others with out anyone prospering.

I thought community was meant to stand behind someone when they did what was right. Maybe we no longer live in communities anymore, maybe we live in the condemed.

Pat you will be contacted tomarrow about the agency that said to shoot them.

-- Posted by use to live in marshall on Wed, Jan 19, 2011, at 8:32 PM

I have not stated or even suggested that fame or money was the GOAL. The question is whether money or other consideration changed hands. If the answer to that question is no, then why not say so? To continue to say it's nobody else's business suggests the possibility that compensation was probably involved, and if it was, the community has a right to know that.

-- Posted by Miss Marple on Wed, Jan 19, 2011, at 8:06 PM

Miss Marple seriously I have already stated that this wasnt about FAME or MONEY and since this is about my family this is ticking me off that there's people out there that would believe otherwise and you stated this "if the family was compensated in any way for their appearance(s), the residents of this city DO, in fact, have a right to know that." actually being their granddaughter I do not believe its any of your business or anyones as i have already stated. I am done writing on here cus all im doing is repeating my self and I think everyone just needs to drop it and move on to something else happening in marshall im sure theres better things to do then to argue about my family and wait for the show to come on feb 4th then see what people think after seeing what we went through... and again thanks to the people standing up for my family and seeing that it is NOT ABOUT FAME OR MONEY ..

-- Posted by mizzou21 on Wed, Jan 19, 2011, at 6:07 PM

From what I have understood there was no compensation except for the help with the removel of the dogs. i would not think that the humane society would have chareged for this. But yet I also thought that they would have helped when contacted before the show.\

No one has tried to give anyone a black eye. Cheeta wanted answers to questions but she has yet to answer mine. Cheeta said they knew many people in the community that worked with animal rescue, I have asked for a list of these organizations from Cheeta but recieved none.

Also I said the police did not get involved because when contacted most dogs were outside they city limits, out of their jurisdiction.

Now if I wanted to give someone a blackeye I would name the organization or angency that suggested they just go at and shoot them. I did not do this because I see this as a problem that is growing in america and needs to be addressed. As I stated earlier others have posted of animals being dumped in the country in your community.

last lets not focus on who was right and who was wrong, the family or the organizations, lets focus on a way to make this problem go away.

-- Posted by use to live in marshall on Wed, Jan 19, 2011, at 1:26 PM
Response by Pat Nolan/Staff writer:
I would like to know the organization or agency that suggested they should just go shoot the dogs. Please e-mail or call me with the tidbit of knowledge. pnolan@marshallnews.com 886-2233.

I applaud Carolyn for wanting to take care of these animals...I could NEVER work in a shelter, because of the very fact that I would want to take each animal home. I also applaud her for wanting to get help when she realized she was out of control.

That being said, Animal Planet's website on Animal Hoarders says:

"Animal Planet provides safe opportunities to explore the compulsive care-giving, digging deep into desire for love and paralyzing fears of loss to understand how the problem grew so extreme and to provide tools to put a healthy plan into action."

While I don't think they did this for the "fame or money", I think that Animal Planet did probably provide financial assistance in this matter in some way. It would be nice to know for sure.

-- Posted by koeller77 on Wed, Jan 19, 2011, at 1:17 PM

The city of Marshall along with a number of local organizations, named or otherwise, has been given a black eye via national television in this incident, in my opinion, and if the family was compensated in any way for their appearance(s), the residents of this city DO, in fact, have a right to know that. Compensation of any kind considerably changes the tenor of this entire incident and any discussions of it. No one can make any person reveal that knowledge, but that in no way changes the fact that compensation of any description whatsoever changes the story in a very big way.

-- Posted by Miss Marple on Wed, Jan 19, 2011, at 12:55 PM

Miss Marple seriously have you not been reading other comments its really none of your business or anyones.. and its not about money or fame this has been stated many times....

-- Posted by mizzou21 on Wed, Jan 19, 2011, at 12:44 PM

Does anyone know if any member of the family was compensated in any way for their appearance on either Today or Animal Planet? By "in any way," I mean either direct payment or financial assistance with any aspect of the removal or disposition of the animals.

-- Posted by Miss Marple on Wed, Jan 19, 2011, at 6:58 AM

I've read the article, watched the clip of the Today Show and the numerous comments posted about Carolyn Root and her hoarding of homeless dogs. We do have a big animal control problem in our community. We are not alone. Communities across America have the same problems and thousands of unwanted and abused animals are euthenized every day. There seems to be no end in sight. I have visited our local shelter and the one on Sedalia. They do all they can but feeding and providing medical care for these animals takes serious money and they have to rely on donations and volunteers to provide these services. No animals are adopted out that haven't been spayed or neutered and had their shots. The adoption fees charged cover these costs. I'm saying this because many people don't understand why they have to pay to adopt a shelter animal. No one is making a profit. Often, these fees are a deterent for those seeking to adopt. Unfortunately, not all animals are adopted and many have to eventually be killed. Other animals brought to the shelter cant be adopted for various reasons and are simply euthenized.

I think Carolyn Root realised this and simply wanted to help.

-- Posted by collector on Wed, Jan 19, 2011, at 4:51 AM

off the point... sort of... but if these dogs would have been in the city limits (If they were not) and the city fines people $500 for feeding a couple of stray cats, imagine the fine for feeding that many dogs.... if they were proven to be strays...

IF the Missouri humane society was approached to help with this situation and if they refused... All I can say is TYPICAL... they want to push laws and policies that solve nothing, but punish legal and caring people raising dogs but when a REAL problem or situation that needs help comes along they refuse? Typical

-- Posted by mrxray on Wed, Jan 19, 2011, at 3:11 AM

Smokin' Cheetah, you said that "I think I'll just wait until the family can speak freely." well I am the family so what is it that you wanna know that you havn't already been told by me, our friends and the newspaper ?? and also why dont you just wait till the show comes on feb 4th at 9:00 pm on Animal planet to see what our family went through. I don't really think any of our problems is your bussines, does it matter who we called and didn't get help from No what matters is that we got the help FINALLY and we are thankful for it and now our family can move on and be happy together.

-- Posted by mizzou21 on Wed, Jan 19, 2011, at 12:38 AM

Sorry Pat I meant he would

-- Posted by use to live in marshall on Tue, Jan 18, 2011, at 4:45 PM
Response by Pat Nolan/Staff writer:
No worries. Happens more than you would guess.

And I almost forgot to respond to your underground railroad comment. have you never seen an animal riding with someone in the car.

Also I am not saying every animal they had was one that was dumped, but many were. Anyway this is an issue that is going on in our country or there would not be a national tv show to help. It just shows you it does not matter where you live, it can be right around the corner behind your eyes.

-- Posted by use to live in marshall on Tue, Jan 18, 2011, at 2:26 PM

First Cheeta,

You stated earlier you had friends that worked for animal rescues. I asked you to list these places for future reference for folks but have not responed to that yet. Yes there were dogs in the city and country. The family contacted several organizations but recieved no help because they did not think it was an emergency since the dogs were being fed, getting fixed, and had all their shots.

My point after talking with people in the family they recieved a lot of the dogs because people would drive out to their place and drop them off. Also I have noticed in other posts on here that others in the country seem to experience this as well. please list your resources that can help for people in the future.

Last I will not list this group or organization but they actually told one family member they could go out and shoot them to solve the problem.

The Humane society was contacted and would not help at first. maybe they didn't want the bad publicity of not helping on national tv. I have seen the logs and it amazes me how many people and organizations were contacted and the time that was spent.

Last I hope in the end the family will beable to do a story for the democrat and share their story. I commend Pat for reporting with limited access, I am sure she would love to hear and report on both sides.

-- Posted by use to live in marshall on Tue, Jan 18, 2011, at 2:21 PM

I applaud someone for caring for these animals. Yes, we have the Saline Animal League but we all know they do not have adequate facilities for a town the size of Marshall. Those of us in the country have no way to help animals who show up on our doorsteps (aside from adopting them or trying to find someone else to do it - of course my adoptions are free!) as SAL will not take them. I have taken in many, though not to the number the Root family has, but only because many of the ones "dropped off" in the country do not survive long enough to get to my house. I can believe that they asked for aide in adoption of these animals and did not receive it. I have managed to be able to locate homes for a couple who have showed up on my door, but it is hard to do. So until then you either care for them, or you ignore them and YOU become part of the problem. I cannot do that to an animal, they did not ask to be brought into this world. If everyone who ever chooses to have an animal companion would be responsible and continue their care for the lifetime of the animal and provide birthcontrol for them then the world would not need people like the Root family who feel compelled to come to the rescue of the animals who have been abandoned by their "owners". Again, I applaud the family for trying to make a difference in the life of these creatures, and I know they have appreciated the love and care they have received. And shame on all of the "community" out there who has done nothing but criticize them for this.

-- Posted by the26er on Tue, Jan 18, 2011, at 10:31 AM

Time for me to respond I am her bestfriend and i am SICK of all you thinking you know the story, 1st of all to marshmo you say you can't believe she threw that much money away well i don't call that throwing her money away she took care of her DOGS and everybody elses dogs too. now you talk about throwing money away i call cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs throwing your money away and she DOES NOT do that,and Live*Laugh*Love you say you think they paid her to do those shows. My question is ARE YOU FOR REAL? I promise you if she had gotten money she wouldn't have had to give her dogs up and 3rd to the farmers wife yes she did say she would give her kid up for her dogs but something you NEED to know she had 4 children and she raised all 4 of them into healthy, prosperous, young adults and they are all financially stable and now how many families can say that.

-- Posted by animallover on Mon, Jan 17, 2011, at 12:22 PM

I admire the Root family for trying to do the right thing by taking in all of these dogs. I honestly had no idea that this was happening here with this family. I have known this family for a long time, but haven't seen them in years. I wish for Carolyn and her family to mend their relationships and for Carolyn to get the help that she needs to beat this disorder. It would probably be surprising to many just how much "hoarding" is happening in this town. People experience events in their lives that trigger this behavior. I hope that this issue that has triggered this behavior and subsequent consequences with the family will be resolved for the sake of everyone involved.

As for the "community" not assisting with this, our community has limited resources and probably did not know to the fullest extent the animal hoarding. In the future, I would hope that if agencies were asked for help that it would NOT be denied, that they would learn a valuable lesson from this and NOT let this type of thing happen in our commuunity again!!!

-- Posted by RedAngel on Sun, Jan 16, 2011, at 2:57 PM

Once again we pass the buck. I talked to one of the family members last night and she logged everyone she called in your community for help and recieved none. She also called Sedalia and St. Louis and neither would help. it wasn't until Animal Planet came in that St Louis came in to help.

Marshall Police said it couldn't help because they were not in the city limits. Please list the organizations your friends work for so maybe in the future they could help others in your community and another family would not have to go through this public ridacule.

The person I spoke with said it's hard to put their family in the public eye, but they are proud of what their family did to save the dogs not once but twice by calling animal planet.

The family was not allowed to give an interview because of the show on Animal Planet. Heres a thought maybe we should look into a law for people who drop off animals in the country. And in a side note Tim you and your mom looked really good on the today show and did a great job.

-- Posted by use to live in marshall on Sun, Jan 16, 2011, at 11:25 AM

Did not try to offend anyone with the cat comment just stating a fact of where I live. This will probaly be pulled also since my first one was but when you think of community do not the police, the sherrif, and the humane society include community. Why did St. Louis have to come and intervien when you have your own humaine society. Not being critical just being honest. And I apologize about the cat comment.

But let me ask you a question, should not your local media do their own article and get the local truth. It's sad that a family had to go to a national program to get help. But yet that is what we do nowadays in the USA, pass the buck. Just saying maybe we need to take local responcibility where we live.

-- Posted by use to live in marshall on Sat, Jan 15, 2011, at 6:27 PM

Smokin'

I never said they went in to the public to ask for help. I mentioned who they went to in an earlier post and it got pulled for what I believe to be PR reasons in your community. We have seen at least three articles about this family in the Marshall Democrat News but yet I have seen no quotes or comments from the family just all second and third hand here say. That would be thrown out in court. Maybe and I am not being critical but Eric and his staff could maybe interview the family and get there side. I believe these people tried to do the best, that they could while others(and I do know people dropped off animals in the country) were being irresposible and selfish. Who cares if its Marshall, Sedalia, Pittsburg, or New York. This country has a problem and it's time we all accept responcibilty.

PS My family has taken care of 25 wild cats and got them all fixed and we feed them everyday. We can afford this but the situation arose after the chinees resturant closed down the street. Maybe there is a bigger problem for america to look into.

-- Posted by use to live in marshall on Sat, Jan 15, 2011, at 5:57 PM
Response by Eric Crump/Editor:
When the situation first came to our attention, family members we spoke to indicated they were upset and would prefer not to do an interview. We would be glad to have an opportunity to help them tell their story to the local community. Write pnolan@marshallnews.com or ecrump@marshallnews.com or call 660-886-2233.

Hey Smokin' Cheetah I guess I can't post who the family cotacted for help because they remove the post. I will just tell you I know who they contacted and they recieved no help. Again it's a PR banazza to fix everybodys claim they would of helped had they known. From articules before sounds like people did know. Just wish it had not gotton so bad for this family, I wish them the best and hope people can stop judging and start loving.

-- Posted by use to live in marshall on Sat, Jan 15, 2011, at 5:08 PM

thank u use to live in marshall ... Is there really people out there that think its all about fame and money (humm dont think we have seen any money) after seeing the today show and clips of the animal planet show or hearing my comments it has been hard for us and it just nasty and wrong for people to be so heartless and talk crap about my grandparents. Im just starting to get a little ticked off that there is people out there thinking it just for fame and money..seriously!!!!!!!!... thanks to everyone for the nice comments and realizing their hearts were in the right place.

-- Posted by mizzou21 on Sat, Jan 15, 2011, at 5:03 PM

Hey mizzou21 hang in there you sound like the best grand daughter any could ever have

-- Posted by use to live in marshall on Sat, Jan 15, 2011, at 4:57 PM

WOW Marshall removed my post when I mentioned who the family sought help with. Big Suprise, quess I should have known better. You know who didn't offer help don't try to conceal it. This is not about fame or money it's about a family that is doing what is right. Get off all your high horses and accept resonsibility for what happened in your communinty. Not just by two people but by many who dropped off dogs in the country.

-- Posted by use to live in marshall on Sat, Jan 15, 2011, at 4:51 PM

thank you wheresthelove :)

-- Posted by mizzou21 on Sat, Jan 15, 2011, at 4:44 PM

With this being about MY family I think I have a right to a better opinion no one knows the true story but us no one knows what we went through but us and yes everyone does have a right to their own opinion but really no one needs to talk crap or think wrong about my grandma or grandpa their hearts were in the right place and it just got to be to much and we tried doing all we could but had to figure out something bigger and we found the help and we are so thankful for animal planet. This isnt about FAME or MONEY this is about the dogs and our family coming together again and getting stronger.

-- Posted by mizzou21 on Sat, Jan 15, 2011, at 4:37 PM

Okay... Where to begin. First off, I know I'm probably going to catch some heat for sharing my opinions, but I'm fully aware. Knowing that, here I go...

I stand right beside Smokin' Cheetah, who in this community told her "No."? I called the animal shelter and asked if they had room for more than 30 animals. They told me no, but they did tell me they would help with food to feed those animals until they could find housing for them all. Of course, I don't have more than 30 dogs, nor will I ever, I just wanted to see if help was available.

With that, why not get local help? Why make it a nationwide event to get help? I personally believe (again, just MY opinion) it's all about 5 minutes (or an hour on cable TV!) of fame. Not to mention the fact she also appeared on the Today Show. Now, I can't find any evidence to support my claim, (and I'm still searching!) but I'm willing to bet she was also compensated for both shows, as well.

I'm not being insensitive to addiction, as I believe animal hoarding is a form of it. Nor am I saying that taking in stray animals is wrong... Taking in 2 or 3 is okay.... 71, and it's too much.

-- Posted by Live*Laugh*Love on Sat, Jan 15, 2011, at 3:16 PM

She was just trying to do the right thing. If only more people in this town could have that kind of heart...

-- Posted by Elton and Laura fan on Sat, Jan 15, 2011, at 1:26 PM

thanks to you and your grandparents mizzou21, this has had to have been very difficult for your whole family, i hope things go well with this struggle in the future. take care!

-- Posted by wheresthelove on Fri, Jan 14, 2011, at 11:22 PM

thanks to you and your grandparents mizzou21, this has had to have been very difficult for your whole family, i hope things go well with this struggle in the future. take care!

-- Posted by wheresthelove on Fri, Jan 14, 2011, at 11:22 PM

I am very proud of my grandma and grandpa this was a hard time for our family but we are getting through it and it has made us stronger.

-- Posted by mizzou21 on Fri, Jan 14, 2011, at 10:33 PM

This is simply someone who wanted to do the right thing and helped, and ended up in over her head. Thankfully she was able to get some help with animals. Think of all the stories we hear of dead animals found in animal hoarders-or abusers-homes. Don't be so hard on this woman. Her heart was in the right place, and so was her head as she was able to seek help and keep these animals safe and healthy.

-- Posted by Reader101 on Fri, Jan 14, 2011, at 9:38 PM

I dont have kids but Id give any kid up for cats, dogs, ANY ANIMALS! Go Vegan!

-- Posted by EMINEMis the GREATEST EVER! on Fri, Jan 14, 2011, at 8:27 PM

meant not ment

-- Posted by use to live in marshall on Fri, Jan 14, 2011, at 8:20 PM

ment whole not hole. Must be my Marshall education

-- Posted by use to live in marshall on Fri, Jan 14, 2011, at 8:11 PM

Point proved. Another negative. Just glad I am not in Marshall to experience this anymore. Hey Marshmo how many dogs did you drop off. Also I think her son was on tv with her and she has rekindled her relationship with her family. Please read the hole story before you comment. Oh but I guess that's right, this is Marshall.

-- Posted by use to live in marshall on Fri, Jan 14, 2011, at 8:08 PM

Honestly this is just embarrassing, I can't stop shaking my head at the fact that she threw away that much money and a relationship with her family.

-- Posted by marshmo on Fri, Jan 14, 2011, at 7:49 PM

Maybe she made that comment, but how many of us make comments in the heat of the moment and don't really mean it. I think she has faced a hard issue in her life and taken action. Instead of looking for the bad in everything (wow I don't miss that about Marshall) maybe we should see the good she did by taking in dogs people dumped in the road or by giving them up for adoption. I commend this women for standing up and doing the right thing for her, her husband, and her family even knowing that she would be the gossip and ridacule of the people in Marshall. Thank you Carolyn for saving those dogs.

-- Posted by use to live in marshall on Fri, Jan 14, 2011, at 7:39 PM

wow--This lady would rather give up one of her kids than one of her dogs--real problems here!!!

-- Posted by farmerwife on Fri, Jan 14, 2011, at 5:25 PM

it is a struggle.

-- Posted by wheresthelove on Fri, Jan 14, 2011, at 10:47 AM


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