Saturday, March 13, 2010

Bird hoarding: An act of unspeakable cruelty

Jennifer Bartak

Hoarding is a chronic condition where a person is unable and unwilling to discard anything, even if it is worthless, useless or just plain garbage. Over the years, the clutter accumulates until there is almost no room to live anymore. The house or apartment itself eventually becomes uninhabitable, and the city may force the hoarder to clean up, or have their home condemned. Landlords can also enforce the person to remove the garbage or face eviction.

People with hoarding tendencies often go back to the same behavior soon after their homes are cleaned up. If the person has children in the home, they may be removed by children’s services. If there are animals in the home, they must be rescued by the BCSPCA.

The most commonly hoarded animals are cats, dogs and caged birds. Most of the time, the person will have unusually high numbers of these animals living in the home. These poor animals are forced to live in horrible conditions, often without proper food, water or veterinary care. They are forced to live in their own filth, and when the SPCA finally does rescue them, many animals must be put down because they are too ill to save. Animal hoarding is a form of animal cruelty.

The saddest part is that once the animals have been removed, the hoarder will most likely begin collecting animals again. Budgies, cockatiels and other exotic birds such as parrots are usually the most commonly hoarded caged bird. These poor animals usually languish in their cages with no food or water until they die. This act of cruelty must not be tolerated by anyone.

No animal should ever have to life-or die this way. It is up to the community to be sure that animal hoarding isn’t happening under their noses.

It is important for the person who has the hoarding behavior to seek help with a qualified therapist to avoid falling back into old habits.

The Vancouver SPCA’s mission is to protect and enhance the quality of life for domestic, farm and wild animals in British Columbia. That also includes bird hoarding. If neighbors suspect that someone in their area is hoarding caged birds or any other animal, they must contact the Vancouver SPCA as soon as possible..."