New York City, 2008- ASPCA'S Humane Law Enforcement agents arrived on the scene to find over 20 Pomeranian dogs in a couple's one-bedroom apartment. The canines were severely matted and the apartment was covered with filth and debris. The couple insisted that the animals were well cared for, despite physical evidence to the contrary, and refused to surrender them.
What explains behavior like this? Is there cruel intent behind it, or is it simply a case of well-meaning people who took on too much responsibility? Are there psychological issues at play? Animal hoarding is a complex and intricate issue with far-reaching effects that encompass mental health, animal welfare and public safety concerns. It has been estimated that there are 900 to 2,000 new cases every year in the United States, with a quarter million animals falling victim. Those “collected” range in species from cats and dogs to reptiles, rodents, birds, exotics and even farm animals.
- What Is Animal Hoarding?
- Why Do People Hoard Animals?
- How Can I Tell if Someone Is a Hoarder?
- Do Hoarders Often Pose as Rescue Groups or Sanctuaries?
- I Have Many Animals—Could I Be a Hoarder?
- How Prevalent Is Animal Hoarding?
- Should Hoarders Be Prosecuted?
- Are There Laws Against Animal Hoarding?
- How Can I Help?
Animal hoarding is a complex and intricate public health and community issue. Its effects are far-reaching and encompass mental health, animal welfare and public safety concerns.
The following criteria are used to define animal hoarding:
- More than the typical number of companion animals
- Inability to provide even minimal standards of nutrition, sanitation, shelter and veterinary care, with this neglect often resulting in starvation, illness and death
- Denial of the inability to provide this minimum care and the impact of that failure on the animals, the household and human occupants of the dwelling
This definition comes from the Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium, an independent group of academic researchers based in Massachusetts. The full definition and more info can be found at http://www.tufts.edu/vet/cfa/hoarding/index.html
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