Thursday, March 25, 2010

Rescue Hoarding - Overview & Information

By Jen Blood


As defined by The Hoarding of Animal Research Consortium (HARC), animal hoarding is defined by:

- More than the typical number of companion animals;

- Inability to provide even minimal standards of nutrition, sanitation, and veterinary care with this neglect often resulting in starvation, illness, and death;

- Denial of the inability to provide this minimum care and the impact of that failure on the animals, the household, and human occupants of the dwelling.

In rescue hoarding, the issue is exacerbated by the fact that the hoarder actively seeks more animals to "save," and recruits other individuals in the rescue community to enable him or her to reach this goal. Monetary donations may be sought, and 501(c)3 federal non-profit status attained. According to HARC, "These cases are particularly difficult to resolve becasue it involves overcoming an entrenched systematic effort to acquire animals, usually with a long history of enabling by a public ill-informed about animal hoarding and easily swayed by claims of good intentions.".."


How can a 501(c)3 rescue get away with hoarding? Aren't there inspections?

Unfortunately, not in most states. Though there is legislation being proposed, 501(c)3 status addresses only the allocation of funds in an organization. Animal rescues are not subject to local, state, or federal inspections, and typically will not face so much as a home visit until complaints are lodged.

I have suspicions about a rescue I know of, but they adopt out animals. Don't hoarders keep all the animals they have?

Not always. Many rescue hoarders have a rigorous adoption process, and will adopt out to the "right" home. Some even start out with a great adoption record that gradually deteriorates as they become more entrenched in the belief that they are the only ones who can adequately care for their animals...."


In a world where much of our shopping, news-gathering, communication, and philanthropy takes place virtually, it can be very difficult to ensure that the causes we support are legitimate. This is not exclusive to animal rescue: most people agree that due diligence is crucial before donating to any cause. Whether you are thinking of giving money to an animal rescue or simply think one you've heard about sounds suspicious, here are some tips from The Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium to determine whether or not you are dealing with a rescue hoarding situation.

According to HARC, rescue hoarders frequently:

-Are unwilling to let visitors see the facilities where animals are kept

-Are unwilling to say how many animals are actually present

-Make little effort to adopt, focusing instead on acquiring more animals

-Continue to acquire in the face of declining care for existing animals

-Claim to be able to provide excellent lifetime care for animals with special needs (paralyzed, feline leukemia positive, extreme aggression) without verifiable resources

-Have a number and staff and/or volunteers inconsistent with the number of animals

-Desire to receive animals at a remote location rather than on-site..." Link