Sunday, April 18, 2010

Shelter Sense / Animal Sheltering Magazine: How to Handle a Hoarder

Handling Animal Collectors, Part 1: Interventions That Work

This article is the first in a two-part series on handling animal collector cases. It first appeared in the May-June 1994 issue of Shelter Sense, published by The Humane Society of the United States.

The scene is a familiar one to virtually every humane agency in the country: A dilapidated house, or perhaps a trailer or even an old school bus, with the smell of urine noticeable from outside...a dark interior, with animals scurrying about, and an overpowering stench that immediately makes the eyes sting and the lungs lock up...tens or even hundreds of animals, usually cats and dogs but sometimes other animals, some in cages or makeshift pens, others given free reign of the place...animals in various stages of neglect, often diseased and emaciated, with afflictions ranging from fleas and ear mites to mange and respiratory infections...feces everywhere, competing for space with open food cans and other trash strewn across urine-soaked floors...almost always, some horrifying characteristic that sets it apart from other cases, such as maggots crawling in animal corpses or dead cats used as bedding...and, finally, the animals' "keeper," an individual who has lost control of the situation, lives in constant denial, and is clearly "addicted to animals," but who doesn't seem to fit any single psychological profile...." More

Handling Animal Collectors, Part 2: Managing a Large-scale Rescue Operation

This article is the second in a two-part series on handling animal collector cases from the July 1994 issue of Shelter Sense, published by The Humane Society of the United States.

When officers for the Brazos Animal Shelter and Humane Society/SPCA (P.O. Box 4191, Bryan, TX 77805) first received complaints about a large number of animals being kept in poor conditions last summer, they weren't entirely prepared for what would come next. Soon, however, those officers and a slew of people assisting them were hard at work rescuing 438 animals confined in filth by their keeper.

Dogs and cats seemingly did not appeal to this animal collector. Instead, his menagerie included 117 rats, 57 gerbils, 49 mice, 39 chickens, 23 hamsters, 17 squirrels, 9 opposums, a European hedgehog, and more than 100 birds ranging from finches to small quail. By the time the shelter had wrapped up the case, it had received assistance from nearby humane societies, several exotic-animal veterinarians, the local game warden and health department inspector, city attorneys, a U.S. Army Medical Center, the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Center, Ryder Truck Rental, numerous other agencies and businesses, and a host of volunteers...." More