Animal “hoarding” is when someone is housing more animals than they can adequately and appropriately care for. It is a complex issue that often encompasses mental health, animal welfare and public safety concerns.
When a hoarding case is discovered and an owner is cooperating, a rescue coalition is often formed among several partner organizations. The coalition must move quickly not only because the owner can change their mind, but also because the animals are usually sick, malnourished, and fighting for their lives.
Berkeley Humane recently joined with two other organizations to relocate eighteen dogs that were living inside a small trailer outside Reno, Nevada. A volunteer from Nevada drove six dogs to Sacramento and met one of our transport volunteers at a rendezvous point. The dogs were then driven directly to our hospital for medical exams and treatment.
Not surprisingly, none of the dogs had been receiving anything close to adequate veterinary care. They also had internal and external parasites, including flea infestation and advanced dental disease which meant several of them needed multiple dental extractions. None had been spayed or neutered.
It is important to note that treating their medical conditions is only one aspect of caring for pets from hoarding cases. Another concern is they are usually under socialized. This is where the expertise of our volunteers and staff really comes into play. Each of the six dogs received complete behavior assessments and are now on their own individual recovery plans. They are slowly learning to trust humans and are consistently rewarded as they come out of their shells. They’re becoming more social every day and when they are ready, no matter how long it takes, they will be made available for adoption where they can start again with a new loving family.
It takes time and resources to retrain a pet who has lived through so much trauma. The resources and support you provide means that these dogs will have the best opportunity at a new life in a new home and for that we are all so grateful.