Local animal rescuers fear there are hundreds, if not thousands, of pets in Cherokee County housed in overcrowded, unhealthy conditions, and fighting the trend often seems impossible.
Animal hoarding seems to be a growing problem in the U.S., and when the economy tanks, more people give their pets the boot because they can no longer afford to care for them.
Humane Society of Cherokee County board member Lou Hays said animal hoarding is part of a "vicious cycle," one that's especially prevalent in this area.
"I think animal hoarders slowly get into it," said Hays. "They often take in animals that wander up or get dropped off, but they are not willing or able to spay or neuter these pets. Hoarders almost always live in the county, and they usually love the dogs, and want to keep them." Having a dog spayed or neutered can typically cost from $50 and up, Hays said. Without that procedure, animals begin mating, and the population quickly grows..." More