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Pet Tip of the Week: What is an Animal Hoarder?

What is an Animal Hoarder?

 Dakota    We’ve all read horror stories about homes filled beyond capacity with dogs or cats. Let’s take a walk through the lives of two of these people.

    Anna is a middle-aged woman. Her children are grown and lead busy lives. Anna takes in a stray cat. The cat has kittens. She does not have the money to have them spade or neutered, so they continue to have litters, interbreeding so that many of the kittens are born with behavioral or physical problems. In the meantime, Anna takes in more strays. She is overwhelmed with their care but can’t let them die. Soon, she has a hundred cats. She loves every one of them but can’t take proper care of them.

   Brian lives in the city. He is single and introverted. He adopts a stray dog. Believing the dog should have a playmate, he goes to the animal shelter. It breaks his heart to see all the dogs there, waiting to be euthanized so he adopts two of them. Someone in his neighborhood hears about his kindness and ‘gets rid of’ his dog by tying the dog on Brian’s door. One of the strays has a litter and Brian can’t bear to deprive their mother of her pups. Suddenly, Brian is struggling to maintain twelve dogs in his one-bedroom apartment, which is now clearly unsanitary and out of control.

   These two case studies are typical of what happens when kindness toward animals crosses a line and becomes animal hoarding. These individuals need help but don’t know where to turn.

   If you know of a person unable to care for multiple pets—feeding, veterinary care for each of the pets, maintaining sanitary conditions—try to reach out to that individual. If he or she won’t accept help, contact a shelter or go to the Humane Society website and let authorities know your concerns. You’ll be showing the animals involved a great kindness in doing so. 

   If you need information on this topic or on any other dog-related issue please feel free to call me at 856.349.2508. There is never a fee for phone or email consultations.

   Next week’s topic will be entitled, “To Walk or Not to Walk”, so please comment about a topic YOU would like to see posted. As always Cleary’s notebook encourages dialogue so your comments are welcome! 

Wado, udohiyu, (thank you very much, in the Cherokee language)

Dawn Watson

Brother of the Wolf, LLC

700 Market St, Gloucester City NJ 08030