Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Blog the Change- Animal Hoarding

Be the Change for Animals- Blog the Change

Every time I hear the news of a case of animal hoarding, I cringe. Watching video of authorities and rescue groups carry out cage after cage of malnourished and filthy cats and dogs, and sometimes rabbits, snakes or other animals, I feel sick that these innocent pets have been neglected. Sometimes the animals are in such bad condition that they can't be saved.

I believe that the hoarder may start out as well-intentioned, but quickly becomes overwhelmed, and loses sight of the best interest of the pets, to the point that they don't even accept that there's a problem.

How you Can help Animal Hoarding

What is Hoarding?
 Animal Hoarding happens when someone keeps an unusually large number of animals without the ability to properly care for them. The hoarder usually doesn't admit that the conditions are poor and the animals are neglected.

How Can You Tell an Animal Hoarder from an Animal Rescuer
 1. Unsanitary Environment--there may be a smell of urine, or feces may not be cleaned up. There may be insects flying around.
2. Pets aren't getting adequate food, water, and medical attention
3. Pets appear sick, malnourished, with parasites, fleas, or wounds
4. Hoarder refuses to acknowledge overcrowded and unhealthy conditions

If You Suspect a Case of Hoarding, How Can You Be the Change for these Animals?
According to the ASPCA :
  1. Report the Situation - Call your local humane law enforcement department, police department, animal shelter, animal welfare group or veterinarian if you suspect a case of hoarding. You may not want to get the person “in trouble,” but a phone call may be the first step to get them and the animals the help they need.
  2. Consider both the animals and the individual-  While the animals' safety and well being is at risk, the hoarder needs help as well. Your local department of the aging, adult protective services, health departments and other mental health agencies may be able to get the animal hoarder connected to the right services.
  3. Volunteer to help the homeless animals- With the removal of so many animals from a hoarding situation, the burden on local shelters can be staggering. Volunteer your time to help clean cages, socialize animals, walk dogs and perform other such necessary duties.
  4. Support local legislation. Laws that recognize hoarding as unlawful with appropriate punishment and mandatory treatment are necessary. Even though hoarding cases exhibit typical characteristics of animal abuse, they are rarely prosecuted because they fail to show the individual's intent to harm.
  5. Educate others --Help people recognize the signs of hoarding and how they can help.
Join the blog hop sponsored by Be the Change for Animals.


  1. Thank you for this post. Animal hoarding also turns my stomach partly because it sometimes is a case of someone starting out with good intentions. I wish I could give a home to every animal in need too... but I know I can't and I just do what I can in other ways.

  2. Animal hoarding is a very real problem for both the animals and the hoarders. Thanks for showing ways to help.

  3. I cringe too whenever I see these stories. So tragic in so many ways. Thanks for sharing ways to help.

  4. Animal hoarding not only causes great suffering for both the animals and the humans involved, it creates additional burdens in our shelters and rescues. Thanks for providing concrete ways we can help!

    And thank you for blogging the change for animals!

  5. Excellent post. Unfortunately, even after some hoarders have been prosecuted, eventually they are back to hoarding... :-(

  6. I feel so badly myself when I hear of such a case and I can't help but think that this person just got in over their head. Perhaps they feel like they can't say no to an animal in need. I think before they are prosecuted they should definitely be evaluated to determine if there is an underlying mental illness. Sadly mental illness is an underlying cause of so many issues in this country. Great post!!

  7. Education is so key! Animal hoarding is a disease, it is not helpful to animals, but harmful. I,too, cringe when I see news broadcasts and can offer up thanks when these cases are discovered and the animals rescued and brought to help and health. A very informative post.

  8. Several years ago, I worked on a rescue of dogs in a hoarding situation. I didn't go to the house, thank goodness, but I helped intake all the dogs. It was a sight. The poor dogs had matted, tick-full coats, overgrown toenails, and eye infections. They were all food aggressive - probably from having to duke it out over scarce resources. Only one was deemed unable to be rehabilitated, which was a miracle, and all the rest found transport to shelters with space - a miracle, really. But there were no services available for the woman. She lives in a rural community, and there was literally no aid available. Now, so I've heard, she's collecting animals again. This is such an important topic, and I'm afraid the human end does get glossed over far too often, except to vilify the person on the evening news.

  9. Such a great post! I feel so sorry for the animals as well as the human(s). I know a lady who isn't a hoarder (yet) but she doesn't understand that taking care of stray cats isn't the healthiest thing for the cats, her dog, or child. She's always having flea issues, it's so sad, I can't seem to get through to her.

  10. Tough subject for. I am an animal control officer and have had several hoarder cases. There is a particular harder smell that is unmistakable. Even worse, I have a family member who is a hoarder. I tried to reason with him for years -- to no avail. I moved out of state and family members say it got worse. He was arrested for animal cruelty and blamed it on me (it wasn't). He didn't speak to me for years.

    Recidivism is hoarders is nearly guaranteed. Some hoarders are well-meaning individuals who become overwhelmed. Those are the easiest to help. But for others it is a deep-rooted psychological problem.

    BTW, did you know that there are support groups for children of hoarders?


Kelly and Ike say thank you for your comments!