Editor, the Record:
Over the past three months, the Pocono Record has reported three separate hoarding cases that involved dozens of cats found in squalid conditions in the area. Animal hoarding is a complex and intricate public health issue that affects the entire community and the ASPCA American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) was concerned to read about its prevalence in the area.
Few people or agencies recognize hoarding as a community and social issue, with animals often being the symptom. Animal hoarding is not just about the animals. Usually, the animal hoarder is neglecting his or her own mental and physical needs, and may require assistance. We believe there is a dire need for a multi-agency task force that involves human social services, animal welfare and public health organizations. The common signs of an animal hoarder are deteriorating conditions and a lack of insight that the animals are suffering. Hoarders may have good intentions, but the reality is these animals suffer from lack of socialization, poor health and starvation, as well as other ailments.
Very often animals removed from hoarding situations are not good candidates for adoption, and their fate usually involves euthanasia.
It's important to note that not everyone who has multiple animals is an animal hoarder. A person may have more than a dozen animals, but if they receive regular vet care, food and a sanitary environment, then the owner would not be a hoarder.
Hoarding is a form of animal cruelty that can only be combated by involving the entire community. With the community's commitment, we can raise awareness on this critical issue and begin to make the changes needed to create a more humane society.
DR. RANDALL LOCKWOOD
Senior VP, Anti-Cruelty
ASPCA of New York