Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Pet Hoarding on the Rise

A rash of hoarding discoveries has hit the news this month that has left authorities pondering the cause. Whether it be a dog breeder out of control or simply a kind soul with good intentions feeding the ever-growing population of wild domestic pets. Is it a sign of the times? Should a pet "hoarder" in Oregon face charges for feeding wild dogs who come to eat their cattle? 100 dogs were found by Oregon authorities last week and the farm owners were charged with animal cruelty.

Another hoarder/breeder was found to have 100 chihuahuas living and 150 dead in his home. It appears he is fit for trial. Since he methodically selected for the best in breed by euthanizing the ones he didn't want and in some cases feeding them to the fittest dogs.

I do believe there is a mental illness involved in hoarding. I have witnessed my own late cousin, who did not have nor could afford a pet, severely disabled by the need to save every single piece of paper, magazine, receipt, file, book, record, notebook, old equipment, clothing, photos, thousands of VHS tapes, piles and piles of boxes. This is all in a 10 x 20 foot room.

As for pet collectors I have witnessed a few. Usually these people are very intelligent. They are more than willing to sacrifice cleanliness and sanitary conditions to house a multitude of pets. They are of the rescuer archetype, as am I. They believe strongly in caring for these animals and will do anything for them. It is difficult to turn away a creature that needs help. The person has an inner loss. The person was not rescued. The person was abandoned. The person is needed for this higher purpose. Death of an animal in their care is devastating. But death is a part of life. And a good life, shelter and food was given to this pet.

I do have very many clients with multiple pets who may be pushing the legal limit but manage to maintain sanitary humane conditions for all. These folks seem to have a grounded sense of practicality and are releastic in their ability to maintain the herd.

Yes I have anonymously reported a client for what I felt was inhumane and dangerous conditions. Well I guess not too anonymous now.

I always like to use a rule of thumb that seems to work in the field. 1 pet per 400 square feet.

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