Is it my imagination or are the incidences of animal hoarding increasing? Maybe we’re just hearing more about them as the media picks up on it.  This past week in the Philadelphia area, 2 homes were raided with over 150 animals confiscated.  One home had 30 dead animals in the freezer.  Ick!  What’s going on here?

I have a theory.  Have you noticed the increase in advertising about homeless pets?  While this is a very good thing, I believe that it could be inspiring more people to try to help and some of those people have hoarding tendencies. These people start with good intentions but then quickly become overwhelmed. 

I had the opportunity last year to tour a woman’s house after she was arrested and 40+ animals were removed.  She obviously loved the animals because they were all up-to-date on their vaccinations and they were spayed and neutered.  However, she must have spent every dime on her animals because the house was literally failing down around her.  Junk was piled from ceiling to floor, and the only pathway to walk was covered in urine-soaked and feces-covered paper.  The smell stayed in my nostrils for days.  The lady showered in the backyard with a garden hose because the indoor plumbing no longer worked.  I could go on for pages about what I saw.  Witnessing this home touched me with such deep sadness that I’ll never forget.

The woman’s love for the animals was not in their best interests.  Yes, she saved their lives but many of these pets were terrified.  The dogs never got out of the house for a walk; the cats hid amongst the debris.  It was a prison.  I spoke with a psychiatrist  about the underlying mental illness that causes hoarding.  Some people have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), forming personal attachments to things. They believe that each and every thing has a value and even can become part of their identities.  Hoarders can be difficult to detect because they can seem to live a normal life outside of their homes.  But one tip-off for family and friends is a refusal to allow anyone into their homes – for obvious reasons.

I’m one of those people who wants to help as many animals as possible but I know that I could not manage more than a couple. I chose instead to make an impact through my writing to hopefully educate people to adopt, spay/neuter, train your dog with positive methods and other things.  My next book will be along those lines.

Meanwhile, Puppy Mill Dogs SPEAK! has hit a minor technical snag which I am hoping will be resolved in a couple of days.  If all goes well, I’m still looking for a July release!