Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Animal hoarding cases strain already overcrowded shelters


There may be no cases for a year and then, all of a sudden, authorities locate an animal hoarder with dozens of pets, which are taken away to already overcrowded animal shelters.

Cary Moran of the Luzerne County SPCA said even one case of hoarding can be big enough to strain an organization that takes in stray animals every day.

This year, in just one week, the SPCA in Wilkes-Barre handled cases involving a woman who was found with 81 felines, another in which 12 dogs and one cat were hoarded in Dupont, and a third where six dogs and three cats were seized in Glen Lyon, she said.

Moran said statistically, cats are hoarded more than any other animal because in theory there are so many stray cats available and cats that aren't spayed or neutered can reproduce multiple times each year. A female cat can reproduce sometimes three times a year, each time giving birth to multiple babies, she said.

"It's Mother Nature's way of keeping them prolific but we don't need any more. Mother Nature needs to cut us a break," she said.

The SPCA, in conjunction with Valley Cat Rescue, offers low-income spaying and neutering to qualifying people based on a certain income criteria, she said. In some cases, spaying a female cat can cost $15, while neutering a male can cost $10, she said.

There are also other resources to obtain low- or sometimes no-cost spaying or neutering that can be found by searching online. A list of vaccination clinics also can be found there.

Lindsey Croll of the Hazleton Animal Shelter said people don't have to look too far to find an advertisement where someone is giving away free kittens to a good home, but sometimes those kittens are going to a home that already has too many cats that aren't properly cared for.

Likewise, strays that don't make it to the shelter are taking up abode in those same homes, and many of those cats are not spayed or neutered and some carry diseases fatal to felines, she said..."  More

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