It’s not easy to know if someone in your area is a hoarder. Some people may just have an unkempt yard, have several of the neighborhood cats hanging out, or just be older and unable to keep up with cleaning and tidying things. People who hoard animals usually start off with good intentions. They may be the ones who take in the strays, feed them, and care for them. However, without proper limitations on what is possible and financial stability, the animals and the person can suffer.
There are several signs that may indicate someone is an animal hoarder:
1: The animals in their care are above and beyond what can be manageable and may be even into unknown numbers. They may not know how many cats, dogs, or other animals they have and you may see different ones all the time in the windows, sitting in the yard, or lingering around.
2: The house looks messy, unkempt, and has dirty windows, clutter, and maybe even broken furniture. The external areas of the house may have a lot of trash and items that are worn out.
3: A strong smell of ammonia may come from the house. This can be due to urine from the animals that live there. The person may not be able to keep up with keeping their yard, letterboxes, and other areas of the house clean from feces and urine.
4: The animals in their care may not look healthy. Some might be thin, others could be lethargic, and they might be well socialized. The animals have never gone to a vet and could be suffering from parasites, diseases, or other health problems.
5: The person who owns the house and animals may not be social as well and may appear to be neglecting him/herself.
6: The person may believe that all the animals are happy and healthy. While the animals may be used to living there and acclimated, their health and the person’s are in question.
If you think someone in your area may be an animal hoarder, call your local humane society and ask for help. The person who is hoarding needs help to remain financially stable, be able to take care of his/her health, and be able to live in a clean and safe environment. The animals may also be able to be socialized and find new forever homes with the help of humane societies, shelters, and the staff and volunteers who work there.