There have been an increasing number of animal hoarding cases in the news recently.
"It's a fascinating subculture… In their compulsion to love and care for their pets, they've become blinded to the harm they're doing to their health, their finances, family, and ultimately, to the animals.", says Dan Jackson, of Animal Planet’s Confessions: Animal Hoarding.
Approximately 1500 new cases of animal hoarding are discovered each year, according to Dr. Patronek, Tufts University Professor.
Hoarding cases can involve up to 250,000 animals annually.
One of the most prolific cases of animal hoarding involved Barbara Erickson who kept an astounding 552 dogs.
This video from the Humane Society of The United States: Rescued from Squalor: Part 3 references Frost and Steketee, authors of Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things which describe the phenomenon as a severe version of a more general object-hoarding mentality. Most (72%) animal hoarders “are female, well over forty years old, and single, widowed, or divorced. Cats and dogs are the most frequent animals hoarded, and the numbers vary widely but average around forty, with a few cases of well over one hundred. In about 80 percent of cases, dead, dying, or diseased animals can be found on the premises.”
Why do people hoard animals? It is largely unknown why. It can be for a number of reasons.
Some people may simply get in over their heads "rescuing animals" or may even have a psychology disorder.
Kimi Peck was arrested with 55 dogs in a recreational vehicle last month. Peck has previously operated a rescue that was closed down in 2010 where she had 150 dogs confiscated.
There are some things that can be done if you suspect someone may be hoarding animals. Contact the local police or fire department, a veterinarian, the Humane Society, or someone with authority to remove the animals. Help to get the animals adopted after they are picked up. Volunteer your time at a local shelter. Shelter(s) often times are where animals confiscated in a hoarding case will end up. You can also donate money to a local shelter or rescue group if you can't volunteer your time.
Animal hoarding may be a case of too much love, but it inflicts pain, suffering and even death to companion animals. It is especially prevalent in these times where animal shelters and rescues are overflowing with animals.
Model Laws: Animal Hoarding
Animal Hoarders: The Illness and The Crime
Detailed Discussion of Animal Hoarding