an­i­mal magic

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Dr Anne Fawcett Dr Anne Fawcett is a lec­turer in ve­teri­nary sci­ence at the Uni­ver­sity of Syd­ney and a vet at Syd­ney An­i­mal Hos­pi­tals In­ner West. Read her blog: smal­l­an­i­maltalk.com

LOTS of us live with com­pan­ion an­i­mals and care for them. Coun­cils have dif­fer­ent by-laws about an ac­cept­able num­ber of an­i­mals per res­i­dence.

An­i­mal hoard­ing usu­ally in­volves keep­ing mul­ti­ple an­i­mals – some­times dozens, oc­ca­sion­ally hun­dreds – with­out be­ing able to pro­vide ap­pro­pri­ate care. Hoard­ing causes suf­fer­ing to an­i­mals, many of which go with­out proper food, wa­ter, en­rich­ment or nec­es­sary vet care. In a study we per­formed at the Uni­ver­sity of Syd­ney, 100 per cent of hoard­ers’ prop­er­ties housed an­i­mals that needed vet care but weren’t get­ting it. Some were crit­i­cally ill.

It’s also an is­sue for the hu­mans in­volved, as hoarder prop­er­ties tend to be squalid and haz­ardous to the health of the oc­cu­pier, the safety of vis­i­tors and some­times neigh­bours. De­spite be­ing un­able to care for an­i­mals, hoard­ers of­ten per­sist in ac­quir­ing more. An­i­mal hoard­ing is now recog­nised as a men­tal ill­ness.

Even where hoard­ers are pros­e­cuted for an­i­mal cru­elty, many re­of­fend. Dif­fer­ent hoard­ers have dif­fer­ent mo­ti­va­tions for col­lect­ing an­i­mals. If you sus­pect some­one is hoard­ing an­i­mals, con­tact the RSPCA or An­i­mal Wel­fare League for ad­vice.

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