The Truth About Hoarders
Recently there have been a rash of shows and discussions about animal hoarders. You would think they are legion with one on every corner. According to ASPCA, Peta and HSUS they are on the rise and the embodiment of many rescues. Even though they are quite fascinating, nothing could be further from the truth.
The ASPCA and their ilk want you to believe that there is a hoarding epidemic so they can continue to disparage rescue groups because they are doing the kill shelters job for them and creating life saving that tarnishes kill shelters. For those that didn’t know – the ASPCA, HSUS and Peta benefit financially by and through kill shelters.
HSUS has found hoarding to be such a problem they funded a Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium for years. Although I have searched the entire site as well as their 60 page manual, there is nothing substantive in terms of any statistics, there are none listed. I did find out that they blame hoarding primarily on no kill shelters which is probably one of the main objectives of the site.
Elsewhere on their page they do mention there are 1700 cases of hoarding on pet-abuse.com but no correlation to hoarders. HSUS also makes money from heart wrenching drama ridden busts of alleged hoarders. Some of those alleged hoarders are now successfully suing them for fraud and illegal removal of pets after it was found that HSUS did not have legal cause or warrant to do so. (More on one of the HSUS culprits Scotlund Haisley here)
According to well known animal enthusiast, Steve Dale and the ASPCA there is a fine line between hoarders and rescuers, with rescues comprising a quarter of the estimated 6,000 new hoarding cases reported in the U.S. each year. I have seen the number of hoarding cases range reported as anywhere from 700 – 2000 per year from HSUS financed researcher Dr. Gary Patronek’s 1999 study of 54 cases, and up to this largest number according to the ASPCA. Where does the ASPCA get their unsubstantiated statistics? No telling but one can check www.pet-abuse.com and discover that in the last year they compiled statistics 2010, there were only 146 hoarding cases across the country not 700 and not 6000 cases, with no reference made as to how many were involving rescue groups.
Not only is there a huge thick berm separating the hoarders and rescuers but they aren’t anymore related than a pedophile and a day care center. Hoarding is a mental illness and has nothing to do with legitimate rescues. Hoarding affects anywhere from 700000 to 3 million people per year according to various experts, and that would be all hoarding not specifically animal, affecting less than 1% of the US population. Animal hoarding has been reported to affect only 40% or less of overall hoarders.
Dr. Randy Lockwood, ASPCA’s senior vice president of forensic sciences and anticruelty projects made the unscientifically proven observation that 20 years ago, fewer than five percent of hoarding cases include rescues and shelters. This prompted people like Steve Dale to ask “So what’s happened in 20 years?”
The real answer is that television has created these hoarding shows that bring in millions of dollars in advertising and fascinate millions of viewers, but proves nothing nor purports to be about legitimate rescues. In fact the shows always make it a point to state that hoarding is a mental illness affecting a tiny portion of the population.
I suspect this ad may be the real motivator to increase a false hysteria over hoarding, where the ASPCA is asking you to donate to become a “guardian” to help end hoarding. How one can do that just by making a payment is unclear. Note nothing on the ad refers to rescues groups at all?
We are told that “Being kept by a hoarder is a slow kind of death for an animal” and this time Dr. Lockwood states that there are perhaps 250000 animals affected by hoarding each year. NO citations to any credible statistics but a few very prominent places on the ad to donate NOW immediately. And he also lets us know that “Animal hoarding has become one of the most pressing problems we face today in animal welfare.” I guess Dr. Lockwood didn’t get the memo that the most pressing problem is the needless killing of cats and dogs to the tune of 3 million or more when we know how to end shelter deaths, and it’s being done at over 79 open admission shelters in the country. www.nokillnews.com
The reality is the growth in the amount of rescues, in addition to more spay and neuter has brought the death rate down in shelters from 20 million per year to 3- 4 million per year in the past 20 years. Rescue groups are responsible for the overwhelming majority of all life saving in today’s kill shelters.
Don’t believe this new twist on the old tired refrain that shelters have to kill animals due to the irresponsible public who are now also cloaking themselves are as irresponsible rescuers aka hoarders.
The truth about hoarders is that animal hoarders are mentally ill and a few do pose as rescuers, but they are a tiny portion of the rescue population. What has significantly grown is the save rate of pets in shelters due to the vast increase in legitimate rescue organizations.
By Alison Hector, Esq.