Animal hoarding is not about animal sheltering, rescue, or sanctuary and should not be confused with these legitimate efforts to help animals. It is about satisfying a human need to accumulate animals and control them, and this need supercedes the needs of the animals involved.
Animal hoarding is a poorly understood phenomenon which transcends simply owning or caring for more than the typical number of pets. It affects every community in the United States, including Monterey County. It has serious consequences for people, animals, and communities. It is cruel to animals, it can devastate families, it can be associated with elder abuse, child abuse, and self-neglect, and be costly for municipalities to resolve. Without appropriate post-intervention treatment, recidivism approaches 100%.
HARC uses following criteria to define animal hoarding:
In a typical hoarding situation, the hoarder will put their own needs to be surrounded by animals ahead of providing even the most basic care. Although professing great love for the animals, they are often oblivious to serious illness, animals in desperate need of veterinary care, starvation, and even death of the animals. Few if any animals are ever adopted or placed, and new animals are never turned away, even in the face of rapidly deteriorating conditions. There are often substantial efforts to acquire even more pets.