It is a cruel paradox.
Animal hoarders, some of the most prolific perpetrators of shocking animal neglect, are people who think of themselves as animal lovers, according to experts in psychology and animal advocacy.
In 2006, domestic animal services officials in Collier County, Fla., seized 31 cats, two rabbits, two dogs and a bird from the home of a woman in a classic animal hoarding case.
According to the DAS report, most of the animals were underfed and sick, the floors were littered with animal waste, and the ammonia smell from cat urine was so overwhelming the investigator described a burning feeling in her eyes and lungs. Yet officials said the owner grossly underestimated the disaster her house had become and the danger to her cats.
The cats, she told an investigator, were her life. She threatened suicide if she were parted from them.
In September in Collier County, a judge banned another woman, Tina Ciancaglini, from owning horses again after DAS officials reported she had consistently taken in more horses than she could feed. They found 34 were malnourished.
Researchers of animal hoarding say dealing with the problem is not as simple as freeing the animals and punishing the perpetrators. Hoarding is a behavioral disorder, not necessarily intentional criminal neglect..." More