Release By: Lt. Deron McMaster
The Sheriff’s Office investigates numerous animal abuse and neglect cases every year. Many cases are brought to our attention by community members.
Animal hoarding is a problem that can affect every community in our nation. Typical indicators of animal hoarding are:
• Possessing more than the typical number of animals.
• An inability to provide minimum care for the animals such as adequate nutrition, sanitation, shelter and veterinary care. Oftentimes, the neglect will result in starvation, the spread of infectious disease and untreated injuries or medical conditions.
• People who hoard often deny the inability to provide the minimum care to the animals and the impact of that failure on the animals and the household.
Almost every kind of animal can be the victim of hoarding. Most commonly, companion animals such as dogs and cats are victims of hoarding. Larger animals such as horses can also become victims of hoarding.
Animals that are kept in hoarding conditions will often suffer extreme neglect. This can include lack of food, lack of proper veterinary care, and unsanitary conditions. Hoarding situations will often be characterized by floors, furniture and countertops of the home covered in feces and urine. Animals are commonly confined in crates, cages or other containers. Extreme cases will also include deceased decaying animals along with live animals. The unsanitary conditions often result in insect and rodent infestations.
Hoarding conditions as described above will often bring the risk of disease to both humans and animals who live in the unsanitary conditions. Insects and rodents attracted to the unsanitary conditions can often carry disease and provide vectors to spread those diseases. This in turn becomes a public health concern.
Animal hoarding cases place a tremendous strain on the Sheriff’s Office and our local shelters. Our shelters are already overburdened with animals. The shelters often struggle due to lack of space and lack of funding. When a hoarding case arises, the shelters struggle to handle the sudden influx of a large number of animals. The typical animal coming into shelter from a hoarding situation is malnourished, suffering from illnesses and dental diseases, parasites, and in dire need of medical attention. All of these issues place demands on scarce shelter resources and funds.
Back to List...