Through the years of reading, researching and caring for animals, I have come across many cases of what they call Animal Hoarding. Animal Hoarding is basically when a person becomes obsessed with animals (mostly common household pets like Dogs and Cats) and decides to adopt (rescue) an especially high number of them. As wonderful as adopting is, it becomes a problem when the house is overloaded with them to the point of uncleanliness. In most cases the animals are without enough food/water and some haven’t been properly up to date and cared for medically. This problem is very common unfortunatly and doesn’t seem to get enough attention. As sad as it is to see these animals living under such conditions, unfortunatly the owner is usually under the impression that they are doing nothing wrong, perhaps even feeling as if they are helping these animals. There has been developed a psychological condition for such people called Animal Hoarding/ers. According to Wikipedia: “Animal hoarding is a variant of obsessive-compulsive disorder rather than deliberate cruelty towards animals. Hoarding involves keeping higher than usual numbers of animals as pets without having the ability to properly house or care for them, while at the same time denying this inability. Hoarders are deeply attached to their pets and find it extremely difficult to let the pets go, since they cannot comprehend that they’re harming their pets by not providing the right environment and hygiene. Hoarders tend to believe that they provide the right amount of care for their pets.”
The ASPCA even has a unit that deals with Animal Hoarding cases and people. According to their website most cases they have come across have a sad ending where the animals taken out of the home are too old, sickly or unsociable to be adoptable and are more than likely euthanized. The best advice they give to someone who knows a hoarder and wants to help them and the animals they are hoarding is:
1. Try to convince the hoarder to accept help from the ASPCA Cares team. Animal hoarders are usually worried that these animals will not be returned to them but assure them that the ASPCA mobile clinic is parked outside their home for the entire length of the visit and that the animals will be returned after medical treatment and surgery.
2. Help the hoarder prepare the animals for the mobile clinic visit. On the night before, remove all food and water so that the animals do not eatbefore surgery. Gather cardboard or plastic carriers to contain the cats and enough leashes for dogs. Find a room that can be cleaned and ventilated so that the animals can recover there after surgery. On the morning of the mobile clinic visit, put the cats in individual carriers and leash all dogs in order to deliver them to the mobile clinic, which is usually parked in front of the hoarder’s home. In the afternoon after surgery, help the hoarder remove the animals from the clinic and return them to their recovery area.
3. Stay in touch with the hoarder to ensure that the animals are recovering from surgery. Help the hoarder with medical treatment of sick animals.
My hope in bringing this to attention is to get others to gain knowledge and understanding about this condition. It is something very common and more the likely could be happening right under your nose. Hopefully, the care needed for these animals and one suffering from this condition can be taken care of in the correct manner where everyone involves comes out for the better.