Many people consider themselves to be a collector. Stamps, books and art are often the passions of one’s collection. Often, these items are worth far more than it appears because of their rarity or the demand for the article. So, do we call a person that acquires a large number of pets a collector? In fact we don’t. The definition of this type of person is a “hoarder.” Animal hoarding is a human behavior that involves the keeping of a high number of animals as pets without having the ability to properly house or care for them. It is not uncommon for an animal hoarder to deny their inability to manage this population appropriately. Animal hoarding can lead to serious dangers to health, both for the pets and the owners, because of the sanitation issues that housing animals entails, as well as the medical needs of domestic pets. Though we understand this behavior to be a human condition, the animals suffer severely.
On a recent trip to the Ashtabula Animal Protective League, 17 small-breed dogs were taken in from a hoarding situation. Now residing at the shelter, these dogs are learning trust and love – and are progressing beautifully. Like a rare piece of art, these pets are worth far more than one might think. And, it is our responsibility to make sure they are treasured like one’s fine china collection would be.