Bizarre 'Pet Hoarding' Surges

Many hoarders start as rescuers, experts say

By Emily Rauhala,  Newser User

Posted Sep 3, 2010 5:04 AM CDT | Updated Sep 3, 2010 5:41 AM CDT

(Newser) – You've heard of hoarding, but did you know it applies to pets, too? Experts say a growing number of Americans are hoarding large numbers of animals that become more and more difficult to take care of as they overwhelm their owners. Tragically, 25% of pet hoarders started out as rescuers running legal and nonprofit clinics, finds AP. Animal care can fast become animal cruelty, experts say, when people take in too many and can't provide the basics.

"The root of it is really nothing to do with animals. It's to do with people's heads and how they work," explained one animal cruelty expert. Dementia, addiction, attachment disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder often play a role. In one case, a Pennsylvania woman known as the "cat saint" took in 7,000 cats in 14 months, turning her home into a "death camp for cats." (Click here to read more about compulsive hoarding.)


Riverside County Animal Services officers and employees with some of the seized dogs from  the Best Buddies Rescue in Aguanga, California.
Riverside County Animal Services officers and employees with some of the seized dogs from the Best Buddies Rescue in Aguanga, California.   (AP Photo/Riverside County Animal Services)
Members of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (spcaLA) Humane Officers fill a trailer with boxes containing 30 cats and kittens from an East Los Angeles home.
Members of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (spcaLA) Humane Officers fill a trailer with boxes containing 30 cats and kittens from an East Los Angeles home.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Puppies are seen at an emergency shelter.
Puppies are seen at an emergency shelter.   (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Is this dog trying to escape a house full of dogs?
Is this dog trying to escape a house full of dogs?   (AP Photo/CTK, Vaclav Salek)
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