Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Hoards, and the hoarding hoarders who hoard them

By Diccon Hyatt

78 cats.

That's the worst house that Ewing animal control officer Rick Moore has ever seen in his year and a half on the job.

There we so many cats that they had chewed through the walls of the house.

The smell was unbelievable, he told me.

There are a number of houses like that in Ewing, and if you live next to one, you probably know it. Cat hoarders often leave food outside their homes, so their houses become gigantic colonies of feral felines and feeding stations for all kinds of other wildlife

Psychologists who study compulsive animal hoarders say that they think they are caring for the animals by feeding them, though often animals multiply beyond the ability of the hoarder to provide proper sanitation. Conditions turn squalid for the animals, the hoarder and neighbors alike.

That's when people like Rick Moore get called to come clean up the mess.

What drives people to gather so many creatures under one roof? No one knows for sure.

In 1999, G. J. Patronek studied 56 cases of animal hoarders in New York City. He found that the stereotype of the "Crazy Cat Lady" pretty much held up. About three quarters of animal hoarders were women, 40 percent were older than 60 and the most commonly hoarded animal was cats..." More

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