Animal Hoarding: Far more Common Than You Think
Most people think of piles of trash stacked to the ceiling when they hear about a hoarding situation, but they don’t typically think of animals. Unfortunately, animal hoarding is far more common than most people would ever guess. According to the Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium they estimate 3,000 to 5,000 new animal hoarding cases annually across the country. Cats and dogs are the most common animals hoarded, and there can be hundreds of animals in the most extreme cases.
How is Animal Hoarding Defined:
Hoarders amass a large number of animals.
Hoarders fail to provide for animals’ most basic physical and social needs, including food, water, shelter, veterinary care, and sanitary living conditions.
Hoarders offer excuses for or deny the abysmal living conditions of their animals and in some cases their children.
Persistence in accumulating and controlling animals.
As a result of living in filthy, cramped conditions animals subject to hoarding are far more susceptible to maladies and disease such as worms, mange, ear mites, respiratory infections, distemper, and other diseases. Aside from the physical toll hoarding places on animals their social needs are neglected, and can be just as harmful. Pack animals such as dogs are often kept separated by gender and severely restricted by chains or kept isolated in small cages for years at a time.
Animal hoarding poses a real risk to humans as well. “Hoarding of any sort poses significant health concerns for both occupants and nearby residents”2 Hoarding conditions make the transmission of diseases such as Salmonellosis and Toxoplasmosis from animals to humans far more likely. At Bio-One Chula Vista we do not enter any hoarding situation without full PPE due to the extreme health risk.
As a community, how can we help? What impact can we make?
* Please contact your local animal rescue to make a donation or volunteer your time
* If you see an animal in distress, contact authorities
* Let the animal hoarder know that it is okay to ask for help
* Contact your local social services department
The Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium, “How Is Animal Hoarding Defined?”
2 Public Health for Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium, “Animal Hoarding And Public Health,” The Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium, accessed 9 March 2019