Toilets begin to overflow. Hoarding cleaning is the first step in the process of ensuring the safety of pets and owners that may be trapped in their own homes. The actual number of dogs is not all that relevant – it’s the behavior involved. They don’t just neglect themselves – they neglect their children, and elderly people in the home. Often, people do terrible things for what they think are very good reasons, and much of the time, we need to treat hoarders as compassionately as we treat our dogs. Individuals suffering from this disorder will fill their homes to the brim with many different animals including dogs, cats, reptiles, rodents, birds, and in some cases even farm animals. Animal hoarding is “collecting” large numbers of animals – most commonly dogs and cats – in one place, under the pretense of saving or protecting them. Behavioral issues are also rampant. The laws are woefully lacking, psychological help for hoarders virtually non-existent, and the results of hoarding horrific. What should matter when determining the likelihood that an animal hoarding situation has developed or not is if the animals in question are well-groomed, well-fed, provided sufficient space to grow and exercise, and if they are taught to use the bathroom in safe and sanitary ways. At least 250,000 animals are affected each year. I know my limit. But I’ve also known a man with only four pets whose living situation was such that “hoarding” became a reasonable description. I thought that hoarding would be having more along the lines of 60+ cats. Repeated offenses can result in the offender being charged with a higher level of misdemeanor, which would carry a higher penalty. The ALDF (Animal Legal Defense Fund) requested and received a ban on the defendants’ owning any animals for a period of 10 years. This issue is multifaceted and we have to take into account mental health, safety of the animals and the person involved, even public health safety. The animals are so ill that they will not respond to veterinary treatment, and they are so traumatized that they are highly unlikely to be adoptable. The following criteria are used to define animal hoarding: An individual possesses more than the typical number of companion animals. Veterinary attention is also virtually non-existent when large numbers of dogs are crowded, and disease proliferates. The lack of sanitation in the home can lead to any number of human health problems, including respiratory issues, parasite infection, and general lack of hygiene. Hoarders are overwhelmingly attached to their dogs. Animals collected range from cats and dogs to reptiles, rodents, birds, exotics and even farm animals. In fact, according Jacey Burch of Local 10 News in Florida, many cities do not have pet or animal limit laws on the books at all. So, how many dogs is too many? Very few states actually consider animal cruelty to be a felony, and the penalties may be no harsher for multiple cases of animal neglect than for a single case. Basic hygiene is neglected. Hawaii, however, specifically prohibits hoarding, and sets a specific number – any more than 15 animals (dogs and cats only are considered; there are no provisions for birds or reptiles) constitutes hoarding if the animals are not properly cared for, and can … The offender may face criminal charges at the State Attorney’s discretion. Because of repeated urination and defecation, his skin was scalded. Sometimes, the stress of trying to look after so many dogs, coupled with the effort that it takes to maintain the delusion that nothing is wrong, spills over into actual abuse. I agree with him. Many animal hoarders report that they were abused as children, so this is the basis for the theory that animal hoarding may go hand in hand with attachment disorder. Often the floors, and even the countertops, of homes where hoarding has taken place, are covered in layers of trash and feces that are inches deep. PLEASE READ MY DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO. It also threatens people living in the home where hoarding is taking place, and their neighbors. Hoarding seems to be strongly connected to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and is sometimes considered a type of OCD. The problem with this, though, is that it does not take into consideration the level of care being provided to the animals. Often, OCD sufferers feel an overwhelming need to take certain actions to be highly responsible for something in their lives. Often, insects and rodents find this a very pleasing environment, and this just makes matters that much worse. Animal Hoarding: The hoarding of pets and animals is believed to be a mental illness. Here are a few red flags if you suspect someone you know is hoarding cats or any type of animal:. So, where is the cut-off between someone who is simply dog-obsessed, and a person who is a hoarder? Hoarding is one of the most egregious forms of animal cruelty, affecting tens of thousands of animals – mostly cats and dogs – in communities nationwide. First of all, you can contact your local ASPCA or Humane Society. Insects and rodents are also attracted to a property that has succumb to animal hoarding. At its most horrific, animal rescuers have entered homes to find it littered with corpses in various stages of decay, some even cannibalized by other starving dogs. Hoarders may also resort to very dangerous methods of heating their homes when their electricity is cut off, putting everyone in the home in danger. What is at issue is the inability of the owner to take proper care of the dogs, and the refusal to admit that the animals are in poor health and the home is toxic. No specific number of pets defines a hoarder of animals over a regular pet owner. Of course, hoarders are delusional. THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. Then they just go back to hoarding. Fortunately, there are signs to look out for when it comes to potential animal hoarders. If you cannot afford to keep all of the cats in clean litter, with clean food, you have too many. Hoarding cleaning service providers are not equipped to determine how many animals are too many. With all this attention being afforded to hoarders of all stripes (reference a veritable media explosion on the discussion of animal and non-animal hoarding), I've noticed a trend towards a demonized depiction of the so-called, "crazy cat lady." As of 2013, animal hoarding has been recognized as a mental illness and is listed in the DSM-5 under “Hoarding Disorder.” Animal hoarding has a negative impact on the animals. Childhood trauma may also be a factor in hoarding behavior. I’ve talked about breed bans in The Truth About Dog Bites and Should You Get a License for Your Dog, and I do worry that when governments at any level start telling citizens how many dogs they can have, breed bans may be the next step. Hoarders are not just too unable to care for their dogs; they are also incapable of taking care of themselves, or any humans who may live with them. You can also offer to help walk the dogs, and maybe even bring over a bag of dog food from time to time. Hoarding is about not being able to give that quality of life to all pets in a person’s care. Animal hoarding is actually a much deeper issue than just having lots of pets. Animal hoarders are subject to prosecution if they fail to provide a proper level of care for their animals. Recent research suggests that nearly 1 in 5 compulsive hoarders have non-hoarding OCD symptoms. If it was 30 cats in a trailer, then yes, of course it’s too many. The person responsible fails to take action to correct the deteriorating condition of the animals and their housing. In most states, failure of care is considered to be an act of omission, not commission, and, as such, is a misdemeanor. Of course, it’s not all good news, either, because that means that hoarders can claim to be breeders, and get a multiple pet exemption. As previously mentioned, it is probably a variation on OCD, but it can also be an indication of an attachment disorder (an abnormal attachment to animals or an inability to bond with humans), and can also have its roots in dementia (we’ve all heard of the “crazy cat lady”), and even sometimes in addiction. And it does not provide for a ban on future ownership of animals. I’ve always been worried that I might cross the line and be considered a hoarder. As of the time of writing, only Hawaii and Illinois have laws that specifically relate to animal hoarding. The hoarder may more easily form close bonds with animals rather than people. Unlike Illinois, though, Hawaii does not mandate psychological counselling. The ASPCA’s position on hoarding is that there is no specific number, but that you slip over into hoarding when you have more animals than you can reasonably care for, and at the same time you deny that you’re in out of your depth. If you could spend 24 hours a day cleaning your house and still could not keep up, you have too many. And that no one will ever feel that they can’t ask for help, and be treated kindly. They can investigate the situation, and might even be able to get the hoarder the help they need. Although it is considered animal cruelty, the prosecution process is lengthy, difficult, and usually not very effective, as hoarding is a psychological issue. Percent how many animals is considered hoarding animal: offender may face criminal charges at the State Attorney’s discretion clothing... 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