Sunday, January 24, 2010

Animal hoarding: How it affects animals

By: Michele Gwynn

Stories abound about animal hoarders in the news. Sometimes hundreds of cats and/or dogs are removed from a residence at once by animal control. The conditions in which these animals are found are typically filthy, completely unsanitary, causing disease and infection in the animals. In addition, these animals never know the loving touch of a responsible pet owner. They exist in an environment where it's survival of the fittest.

The hoarders wrongfully believe they are helping the animals by keeping them indoors. In their mind, the cats and dogs are much better off with them than if they were unclaimed outdoors. The problem is that the animals, because of their sheer number, lack proper socialization skills. In short, they're feral. Between the lack of sociability and the fact that these animals are not house-broken (defecating and urinating on the floors and furniture), the possibility of any of these animals being a candidate for adoption after rescue is nil. "It is likely that up to a quarter million animals - 250,000 /year - are victims." (According to

The sad fact is that animals who are rescued from a hoarder are almost always humanely euthanized.

The ASPCA believes there is a dire need for coordinating efforts between animal control, mental health and social workers, and public health organizations to help combat the problem of animal hoarding. This problem also requires the assistance of family members and neighbors to step up andreport suspicions of animal hoarding...." More