Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Legal Effects of Hoarding

by John Terrell

Hoarding is a mental issue that involves an unhealthy collection of items. Sometimes the collection is just an overabundance of stuff that overtakes the home, while other times the hoard contains items that are harmful to those living in the home, both humans and animals.
he legal effects of hoarding are one aspect people don't consider until they are faced with the unpleasant consequences. Problems often start when a landlord or neighbor complains about the hoard and initiates an investigation. At this point, city officials and other organizations get involved, as needed.
The Consequences on the Family and Children
Hoarding can be taken to the extreme, to the point where the home is inhabitable due to mold, feces, structural damage, or fire hazards. For this reason, Child Protective Services may be called. Children are sometimes removed from the home until the home is suitable for living in. In addition, Adult Protective Services may also be notified and adult members living in the hoard may be forced to move until conditions improve.
The Consequences on the Home
Renters who develop a hoarding problem face possible eviction. Landlords have the right to protect their property from the damage hoarding incurs. Furthermore, if the home is in bad enough shape or extents into the yard, city fines may apply. The worst case scenario is that the home is demolished, leaving the hoarder without a place to live.
The Consequences of Hoarding Animals
Animal hoarders believe they have an abundance of animals because of their fondness of them. They claim to love the animals. What it really stems from, however, is mental illness. Mistreating animals, including malnourishment, forcing them to live in confined spaces, keeping them in uncleanly conditions or worse is punishable by law.
The legal ramifications for animal hoarding may include steep fines up to $1000, felony arrest for animal cruelty or neglect, psychological evaluation and treatment, community service and a ban from owning animals in the future. The punishment correlates between how many animals were harmed and if the hoarder is a repeat offender. Initial jail time, for example, may be a six month sentence, but if the problem continues they may get up to four years in jail.
Hoarders often don't realize the legal effects their hoarding can initiate. They are in denial that they have a problem and think that their collection isn't hurting anyone. It's only when authorities do get involved that they are forced to make changes..."  Link

No comments: