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.