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Jun112011

Shirley Animal Hoarding Case. What Happens After the Media Leaves?

Animal Hording has become big news lately. Shows like Animal Planet’s “Confessions: Animal Hoarding” and recent news stories have brought this phenomenon into the public eye. Recently, SuperPaws Dog Training participated with Second Chance Wildlife Rescue in the removal of animals in two Long Island hoarding cases in Huntington and more recently in Shirley . The Shirley case was a big news story. How often do you see someone living with a cow in their house? Lots of news stations were on scene to get the scoop, but why does this even happen in the first place and what happens after the cameras leave?

According to the ASPCA of New York, animal hording is defined as: having more then the typical number of animals, inability to care for those animals in terms of sanitation, nutrition and veterinary care, and denial on the part of the owner that the animals are in distress or need veterinary care. There could be many reasons people horde animals including psychological disturbance or the pervasive belief that they are rescuing and helping these animals. The one commonality among hoarders is that they truly believe that the animals are doing fine and the situation is under control.

As the ASPCA points out, not everyone who has multiple animals is a hoarder. Animals that are spayed or neutered, (or kept in good breeding condition,) who receive regular veterinary care and are in good physical condition with proper nutrition and shelters are not the subjects of hording. Even is a person becomes overwhelmed with the number of animals are still not considered hoarders if they are actively looking to resolve the problem.

Hoarding cases attract a lot of media attention. Because of this, awareness of the problem is increasing as many more cases of hoarding are being reported. It is very important to understand that large scale rescues introduce numerous animals into the rescue system all at once, severely taxing that system. When all the news cameras turn off and the reporters go home, the animals still need care. If you can provide a home, great! If not, donations of food, kennels, blankets, time and money are a huge help. After a news worthy case of hording hits the media, there is usually an upsurge of donations. These donations are greatly appreciated. It is important to understand, however that it may take weeks if not months to rehabilitate and re-home many of these animals. Your local rescues need ongoing support.

Understanding and preventing animal hoarding is one step but the real heroes are the ones who continue to care after the blitz dies down.

Dr. Mary Travers-Smith
www.SuperPawsK9.com



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