Challenge of Hoarding

It should be no surprise that in situations where human health and welfare are so severely compromised, that the welfare of non-human animals is also often poor. It has been reported that in many cases, reports to human health agencies are often dismissed as either the harmless eccentricities of pet owners, the good intentions of rescuers or shelters, or the mysterious practices of breeders.

Anyone who has ever been involved in a hoarding case knows that this behavior is not about pet keeping, legitimate sheltering or animal rescue, or hobby breeding by fanciers. Legitimate rescuers and shelter operators always keep the needs of the animals foremost, and reputable breeders do not have more animals than they can provide good care for.

In a typical hoarding situation, the hoarder will put their own needs to be surrounded by animals ahead of providing even the most basic care. Although professing great love for the animals, they are often oblivious to serious illness, animals in desparate need of veterinary care, starvation, and even death of the animals. Few if any animals are ever adopted or placed, and new animals are never turned away, even in the face of rapidly deteriorating conditions. There are often substantial efforts to acquire even more pets.

Some hoarders acquire the animals passively because they are "known" as a shelter or good samaritan. Others can go to great lengths, often pursuing extremely clever subterfuge to infiltrate legitimate rescue groups, shelters, veterinary clinics, etc. There have been cases where very well done Internet sites advertising themselves as a "No-Kill" sanctuary taking special needs pets was a front for hoarding. Unfortunately, owners desparate to place an unwanted pet may not ask too many questions, even when the solution sounds too good to be true. Animals rescued form hoarding situations are often too ill, too old, too debillitated, or too unsocial to place through legitimate adoption avenues. Even in the best of circumstances, a large influx of difficult to place pets will overwhelm most sheltering and rescue organizations, making humane euthanasia the sad end to the suffering of hoarded animals.

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Mark Pennington -Mystre Bengals - Founder