Last night I had the opportunity to catch a new show on Animal Planet called Confessions: Animal Hoarding. It was shocking to say the least. We have all heard of animal hoarders….that crazy “Cat Lady”….that kind of thing…. but this gave you an inside look into the psychological reasons people hoard animals.
There was a woman and her husband who hoarded 65 (!!) cats in a small home. Another who had 25 large birds in her home. She had removed all her furniture out of the home to accommodate the cages and had attracted rats by all the bird food lying around. Unfortunately, that woman also suffered from respiratory issues that will eventually kill her yet she still refused to re-home any of the birds.
Then there was another man who had over 20 Chihuahuas living in his home. The noise was deafening and it didn’t appear any of the dogs were house trained. Sadly, they had a bout of Parvo go through and kill 12 puppies. Fortunately, the man agreed to let a local vet take all the dogs for spay/neuter and get them all vaccines. He didn’t allow any of the animals to be re-homed but at least there wouldn’t be any more added to the pack.
The thing that struck me the most is all these folks would say things we all say about our pets……they provide unconditional love….they provide companionship…..”my pets don’t hurt me the way people do”……and that is what really is the heart of the matter. All of these people are damaged in some way. Loss of a parent at a young age, abuse, bad marriages…..and they are all looking to these animals to fill a void in their hearts.
The saddest part of this for me to see is that the animals are really suffering as well. It is not POSSIBLE to provide the kind of love and one on one attention these pets deserve. Of course these hoarders love their animals, there is no doubt of that, but if they really loved them they would see they go to a home where they can get what they truly deserve. Situations like these cause a tremendous amount of stress on the pets. There is CONSTANT competition for food and attention, not to mention the health issues of these overcrowded conditions. Unfortunately, these folks think they are doing a good thing but what they are doing is providing an unhealthy environment for their pets they claim to love so much.
It’s like a train wreck people…..check your local listings for Confessions: Animal Hoarding on Animal Planet!