Should Hoarding Animals Be Considered Animal Abuse?

As average citizens, you may know, generally, refers to when a person “rescues” a larger number of animals than they’re able to take care of. However, many people don’t realize, most cases of animal hoarding transpire because the person has a psychological disorder or has experienced trauma in the past. This disorder causes them to believe they need to have these animals to survive. Usually, they are barely able to take care of themselves, let alone so many more living beings. There are thousands of cases reported each year, and that already ridiculous number is growing steadily. Animal hoarding is animal abuse as well as neglect. Just how much trauma is required to be unstable to the point of abusing what could have been your best friend. Even the idea of it seems ridiculous, yes, everyone has their own issues and opinions, but the way they cope with it is repulsive. Animal hoarding is animal abuse along with neglect. (ASPCA, 2019)

Taking in animals is all fine and dandy as long as you can take care of them and yourself, if you are unable, then it is imperative that you give these animals to people who can. If you can’t care for them properly, then you’re just killing them slowly, whether you realized or not. However, there are people who are in total denial of their inability, they don’t realize that they are just hurting them. These animals will most likely die of either illness or starvation. Many of these hoarders may see themselves as the rescuers of these animals, when, they are causing them harm. Animal hoarders usually have reasons, such as, attachment disorders in conjunction with personality disorders, paranoia, delusional thinking, depression, other mental illnesses. In other cases, the abuse is totally unjustified, they have no reason. Most times, a hoarder will act as if everything is totally under control and others may be totally blind to the animals suffering behind closed doors. (ASPCA, 2019)

The people may neglect to consider the reason as to why a hoarder may do what they do. An abundance of hoarders is usually triggered by an illness or traumatic event, because of this, they develop attachments to these animals very easily. They become so attached that even if they do see that the animals are suffering, there is a low chance that they will get them help, for fear of losing their oh so precious pets. Due to whatever problem they have, they may look at the chaos that usually becomes of a hoarder’s home and feel a sense of accomplishment. But, with this mess, comes disgusting living conditions for both, the hoarder and the animals. The consequences of this are quite sad, in most cases, you may even find animals mummified in the trash and fecal matter. Every year, thousands of hoarders come to the attention of the authorities. Even then, there is a high chance of them becoming defensive and spewing their reasons and using their disability against the court. (Cassiday, 2016)

Animal hoarding is a disgusting crime that occurs far too often. Unlike most other forms of animal cruelty, the animal’s misery will, most likely last for years on end. Roughly 250,000 animals a year become victims of such vulgar acts. That is just referring to the reported cases, the number of which has been steadily increasing as of recently. Studies show that most hoarders turn out to be females, and the most commonly hoarded animals are cats and dogs. Even if treated, the chance of a hoarder relapsing into their old mindset is very high, the most effective solution is to prevent them from owning any animals. The conditions they keep these animals in can, not only harm them, but it also harms the property. The home becomes contaminated with waste and other things. There are, of course, legal actions that can be taken. However, it is extraordinarily difficult to persecute most hoarders due to the mental illness they may possess. However, in most, if not all cases, the abused animals are removed from the hoarder’s “care”. Even with the abuse of illness that hoarders may attempt to play, many states have intensified the punishment in hopes of lessening this issue. (Animal Legal Defense Fund, 2019)

Although I may not agree with it or accept illness as an excuse, animal hoarding is widely misinterpreted. Yes, it may cause more suffering and death than intentional acts of abuse, they don’t realize what they are doing wrong, almost akin to a child. There are many articles on the web that will provide a basic picture of animal abuse, but not many will go in depth. This article also includes words from the authorities. They stated that the conditions that were within these homes were “deplorable” and that they were “knee-deep in garbage and feces”. Most, if not all of the animals that are found in these conditions are too far gone to be helped, many of them end up being euthanized. (A. Taite, 2015) The main issue is that persecution standards of this heinous act are far to low, these people get let go with a slap on the wrist, without proper punishment, they may relapse and/or become even worse. Harsher laws that are solely made to persecute these people should be established, a harsher punishment will usually result in less crime. Many people are fed the lies of the common, stereotypical “crazy cat lady” not the actual crazy cat lady. This misconception leads many to believe that they are those people that take care of a lot of cats, however, most of these ladies can actually care for these animals. (V. Hayes, 2010)

In summary, many of these people remain unpunished, used their illness as a liability. This behavior is cruel and honestly, quite disgusting. To be so cruel to an animal that hasn’t caused you any harm is unforgivable, well, doing this to any creature, regardless of whatever heinous act they committed is deplorable. Nothing, not even criminals should be treated like this, to be forced to live in such bad conditions that their skin starts to rot off their still living bodies, surrounded by waste. If they were left unchecked, the situation for many animals would be exceptionally worse. If they could get away with it without a scratch, they would undoubtably take in more animals without making an effort to hide it. However, I strongly believe these actions should elicit a severely harsher punishment.