By Colleen Ferreira
Is it an innocent act or criminal? Or could it be the result of an illness? We're talking about people that have taken their love for pets too far. They are animal hoarders.
Their obsession with animals has become an addiction – so much so that this type of hoarding may soon be classified as a mental disorder.
The animals just want to be loved.
They want a healthy and happy home.
Some of them have come from a rough past of starvation and squalor, and there is really only one person to blame: Their caretaker.
"We picked up 52 Chihuahuas recently,” said Dr. Carol Ecker with the St. Joseph County Humane Society. “We had another lady with 3,000 beer cans in her house.
The puppy that called that place home survived, but lived in filth.
It's a situation that is spreading in St. Joseph County: Dozens to hundreds of animals suffering in silence.
The Humane Society has already seen more cases of hoarding this spring than all of last year.
"This spring we've picked up five different hoarder groups," Ecker said.
People who hoard have more animals than they can care for, and they refuse to let them go.
This past March, more than a dozen Jack Russels were taken from a home in the county.
"This man got overwhelmed with his dogs, he didn't know who was breeding who," Ecker said..." More & photos