Many of us have had a peek into the bizarre world of hoarding courtesy of reality TV. Collecting piles and piles of household junk is bad enough, but when hoarders collect living animals, the results are extreme neglect, suffering, and death.
According to the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), “It is likely that up to a quarter million animals—250,000 per year—are victims of hoarders. What’s more, records kept by ALDF indicate that in the last four years, the number of reported hoarding cases has more than doubled.”
Alarmingly, as a result of public pressure to avoid euthanasia at all costs, the hoarding mentality has infiltrated animal shelters. MSNBC.com reports that groups calling themselves “rescues” and “shelters” currently account for one-fourth of the estimated 6,000 new hoarding cases annually reported in the U.S. This is just one more way that trying to become “no-kill” before becoming “no-birth” hurts animals.
When animal shelters and rescue groups—such as South Carolina’s terribly inaccurately named Sacred Vision Animal Sanctuary—aren’t themselves hoarding animals, they sometimes farm out animals to anyone who will take them, including hoarders, in order to reduce the number of animals they euthanize.
Here are just two examples:
If you want to help keep animals out of hoarders’ hands, volunteer at your local shelter and note how the shelter screens potential fosters, placement partners, rescue groups and adopters. If something looks wrong, it probably is. Please also spay and neuter all your animal companions—it’s the only real way to prevent animals from being born only to end up homeless or hoarded.