Sunday, February 14, 2010

Prisoners of Hoarding… Pet animals forced to live in over-crowded squalor

By Ginny Symkowiak, BCHS

"Hello, my name is Susie. I am a dog and I live in a house with fifty-six other canines of various breeds, sizes, and needs that are being ignored and neglected. We are all underweight, some of us are so matted, dirty and flea infested that sores have developed under our mats. My toenails are long and curled, making walking for me a painful chore. I have a special friend Bozo, whose eyes are runny and often stuck shut. I regularly need to clean them for him so he can see where he is going."

"We are a pack but not all is well in our midst. Some of us do not like each other and competition for food scraps leads to a lot of noise and bloodletting on occasion. I hide in the closest corner when the rumpus begins. I'd rather be hungry than hurt someplace else on my body. Bozo never fights either he is my good buddy. Sometimes one of us dies and is eaten by one of the tough guys or just left behind the couch to rot and increase the already egregiously unsanitary conditions of our lives."

"You see, our caregiver is an animal hoarder. Although she says she loves us and is saving our lives, she fails to provide us with adequate food, water, sanitation, and veterinary care, and is in denial about her inability to provide this basic care.""

According to the Hoarding Animals Research Consortium, the following criteria are used to define animal hoarding: More than the typical number of companion animals, inability to provide even minimal standards of nutrition, sanitation, shelter and veterinary care, with this neglect often resulting in starvation, illness and death. Hoarders live in denial concerning their lack of resources to provide sufficient care and the impact of that failure on the animals, the household, the human occupants of the home and the surrounding neighbors..." More