Friday, January 22, 2010

Animal hoarding creates even more dangerous conditions


In her 10 years as a professional organizer, Samantha Pointer's worst experience was working with a woman who had 15 cats. Urine and feces covered the house, soaking through the floorboards and eating through the metal on the fireplace.

Cat hair was clumped everywhere; the stench was horrific. The woman didn't even eat in her own house anymore.

"I would have to go outside and take breaks because I was sick to my stomach," said Pointer, owner of Nashville's Get It Together! "It was really mentally draining."

Animal hoarding — a manifestation of the mental disorder marked by the obsessive need to acquire and keep many objects — is often done without ill intention or understanding of its harm. Still, in many cases animal hoarders live in unsanitary conditions where excrement and dander covers the house and ammonia fills the air, creating a dangerous and unhealthy environment for pets and people.

"Oftentimes this is someone who will drive along, see an animal, pick it up and honestly believe they are the only person in the world who cares for this animal or who will provide anything for this animal," Judy Ladebauche, director of Metro Animal Care and Control..." More