Saturday, July 25, 2009

Animal hoarding not unusual across U.S.


Though neighbors on the Dearborn street where a 56-year-old man kept more than 260 living and dead Chihuahuas may have been shocked to learn what was inside the small house, those familiar with animal hoarders say the condition, if not the magnitude, is not unusual.

No firm statistics exist to describe the scope of animal hoarding, but cases occur regularly across the country, experts say....

"These people are driven to acquire animals ... and quite often they believe in their hearts and souls that they are the only people who can care for a particular group of animals."

In many instances, such as in the Dearborn case, conditions are often filthy and can lead to medical problems for the animals.

"They believe they are saving the animals' lives when in fact when one animal is sick, they're infecting the other animals," said Linda Lawrence, a veterinary social worker at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Michigan State University. "It just does not connect that they are hurting them."

Lawrence researches hoarding cases in order to educate veterinarians about how to detect the behavior..."  More