Animal Hoarding

Hoarding has become a common term over the past year, with television shows popping up on nearly every network documenting this disorder and how it can destroy someone’s life and home.



One type of hoarding is animal hoarding, which is featured in the Animal Planet show Confessions: Animal Hoarding. We’ve seen news stories about animal hoarding becoming more prevalent over the past few months, including this recent one:

In Jefferson County, Ohio, police found over 100 pitbulls, plus snakes, wild boars, turkeys, ducks, and other types of birds in a home on County Road 23.  The animals were clearly being neglected.  Sheriff Fred Abdalla said this is one of the worst cases he has seen, and the condition inside the home “certainly isn’t livable.”  The homeowner is currently in jail facing a slew of charges because weapons and drugs were also found on the property.  The humane society is trying to care for the hundreds of animals on the property because they have nowhere else to put them at this time.

Dr. Gary Patronek, President of the Animal Rescue League of Boston, founded the Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium, or HARC.  He reported to the Boston Globe that an estimated 3,000 cases involving 250,000 animals are reported each year, but many more go unreported.  While the stereotypical animal hoarder is an older woman who lives alone, this illness affects all ages, genders, and socioeconomic statuses.  In fact, a podiatrist and his wife were charged this month with 39 counts of animal cruelty for hoarding animals in their home in Solon, OH, an affluent suburb of Cleveland.

These animals cannot possibly receive the care and attention they need and deserve living in these homes with hundreds of other animals.  If you  notice a home with a large number of pets, please report it to your local authorities so that someone can check into what is going on there.  A simple phone call can result in hundreds of animals being rescued and adopted into loving homes.

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  1. Posted April 5, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Hey Guys,

    I’m a researcher for the series Confessions: Animal Hoarding, currently airing on Animal Planet, which as you know, tells the stories of people overwhelmed by the number of pets they own.

    If you are concerned about the health of animals in someone’s care and suspect they may be hoarding them, we might be able to help.

    Most animal hoarders don’t see themselves as hoarders, and sometimes don’t intentionally collect animals. Their relationship with their animals has threatened their relationships with friends and family.

    Most of these situations aren’t dealt with until they become criminal. This results in animals being euthanized by over-stressed shelters, and doesn’t address the underlying psychological issues – meaning nearly 100% of people end up in the same situation again.

    We are dedicated to finding comprehensive long-term solutions and believe therapy to be key to this. We can bring in experts to help people and their pets.

    If you or someone you know needs help because animals have overrun their life, visit to learn more and submit their story. Alternatively, contact me directly at or toll-free at
    1 -877-698-7387.

    We will treat all submissions with confidentiality and respect.

  2. admin
    Posted February 13, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Good point Brian. We always welcome our readers opinions on ZoeyStory. In the case of your friend I am incredibly sorry to hear that her home was raided. Unfortunately, as I am sure you know the law sometimes punishes those who were trying to do the right thing. Although a completely different scenario in NYC it has brought to my attention a lot of the issues when “rescuing” an animal. I was getting off the subway and I saw a homeless man with a dog, cat and gerbil. The animals looked pretty healthy and VERY happy but a bit on the skinnier side. I was concerned and called my vet regarding what they would recommend as they worked with numerous animal organizations. Should I call a rescue group that I wasn’t familiar with or do I can animal control? What to do? The veterinarian made an excellent point and indicated that if I were to call animal control regarding the animals looking a “little skinny” they would for sure take the animals out of this man’s care. She indicated that once under their care their chances of survival were low. She also mentioned to me that a lot of people take care of their animals before they would ever take care of themselves and then I understood. I immediately took her advice and went over to the local pet store (no selling of puppies) and bought some dog food, cat food and gerbil food as well as some treats. I took them back to the subway station and gave them to the gentleman who was so incredibly thankful. He immediately opened up all bags and fed his animals and indicated that, “they were all he had.” I still see the gentleman occasionally and each time I always check-in to see how he is doing. He and his pets are happy and healthy. Plus, the vet I contacted agreed to give all his pets regular check-ups. It is a great end to a story that could have easily gone a different direction and quickly.
    Thanks for giving us yet another side to look at….L*

  3. Posted February 12, 2011 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    While there are animal hoarders who do not care for the animals, the authorities use that law to act against animals too.
    A friend of mine had a friend who was convicted of hoarding cats. All the cats were healthy, at least AFTER she’d treated them. She rescued the ones in really bad condition from the streets and nursed them to health. If she took them to a shelter they’d be KILLED.
    Someone told a local shelter who told the police. She was raided. Because ONE cat was ill (it had just been rescued) they destroyed ALL of them and prosecuted her.
    Because she refused to cooperate with a rescue system which kills more animals than it saves, she ended up with a fine in the thousands and a criminal record.
    If you are going to do an article, make it balanced and show both sides of the story.
    Until America stops killing healthy animals “hoarding” is often the ONLY way to save many animals.

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