Animal Hoarding: True Love or Animal Cruelty?
Have you heard of hoarding?
Compulsive hoarding (or pathological hoarding or disposophobia) is the excessive acquisition of possessions (and failure to use or discard them), even if the items are worthless, hazardous, or unsanitary. (src)
I bet the term “pack rat” comes into your mind.
Here’s a question for you: what instead of hoarding stuff, what if you hoard DOGS?
Not just 3-6… we’re talking 30+ dogs. Living in one HOUSE:
Now, this raises, the question… is this love for animals or is this sign of animal cruelty?
According to Wikipedia:
Animal hoarding involves keeping higher than usual numbers of animals as pets without having the ability to properly house or care for them, while at the same time denying this inability. Compulsive hoarding can be characterized as a symptom of mental disorder rather than deliberate cruelty towards animals. Hoarders are deeply attached to their pets and find it extremely difficult to let the pets go. They typically cannot comprehend that they are harming their pets by failing to provide them with proper care. Hoarders tend to believe that they provide the right amount of care for their pets.
Apparently, there are over 2000 cases of animal hoarding a year in US alone.
Why does it happen?
In New York City, the humane society agents found over 20 dogs in a one bedroom apartment. What did they find? See for yourself:
The place was filled with dog manure everywhere, pee (everywhere), chewed/ripped up furniture, etc. And the dogs? Some of them were dehydrated, malnourished, and had clear signs of damage from fighting other dogs.
Of course, when the couple was charged with “animal cruelty”, the defendants came up with a GREAT argument: WHAT constitutes animal cruelty?
They were fed, housed, and taken care of. Sure, not great, but they weren’t dying left and right.
In fact, ASPCA has this problem when trying to prosecute these people (in order to relinquish the animals under their care): (src)
Should Hoarders Be Prosecuted?
In most cases, criminal prosecution of animal hoarding can be a difficult process and may not be the most effective route. Such cases are difficult to successfully prosecute and, once litigation ends, the hoarder is likely to resume collecting an excessive number of animals unless closely monitored. “Hoarders are like drug addicts—you can’t cure them, you can only prevent relapses,” says Lockwood.
Some say prosecution isn’t the answer because hoarders are often emotionally troubled rather than criminally inclined. “Like many psychological conditions, the causes of animal hoarding are probably multiple and, therefore, assessment of emotions, behavior and thoughts must be multifaceted to point the way toward successful treatment,” says the ASPCA’s Dr. LaFarge. In some cases judges can impose conditions that actually help the hoarder. They can require counseling, for instance, or prohibit the person from having animals.
What is clear is that prosecution alone rarely alters the behavior. “It is essential that key community agencies work together to prevent animal hoarders from harming the large number of animals they gain control over,” says LaFarge. “Social service agencies must collaborate with animal shelters and law enforcement to intervene to save the animals and then follow up with years of monitoring to prevent a recurrence. The general public needs to be educated to realize that the hoarder is not just a nice little old lady who ‘loves too much.’”
If you are reading this post, I am assuming that you’re a pet (well, at least, a dog) lover.
Is this true love or animal cruelty? If it’s cruelty, should these people locked up?
Leave your opinion in the comment box below.