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Shelter Medicine: Handling Large Scale Raids

Preventing dire situations from becoming disasters

Preventing dire situations from becoming disasters

If animals are ill, veterinary staff should make every effort to accurately diagnose the problem and determine if neglect, or some other factor related to the housing and care of the animal, contributed to or caused the problem. MICHELLE RILEY/THE HSUS
The readers of Animal Sheltering probably need no introduction to hoarding, and most veterinarians I lecture to have had at least one encounter with a hoarder as a client. Sooner or later, most of those in animal care and control will confront a hoarding case, and the challenges these situations present can be enormous.

For those new to the field, hoarders are defined as having more than the typical number of animals, coupled with an inability to provide appropriate care for them. The behavior is believed to be part of a greater psychological problem linked to obsessive-compulsive disorder. Many hoarders have been found with more than 100 animals in their homes; many fail to provide adequate food, water, and shelter; and most are seemingly oblivious to the unsanitary environment and deteriorating health of the animals. It is common to find starving, sickly, or dead animals at hoarding sites, many with health problems so severe that their conditions meet the statutory definition of animal cruelty. Animal control is often called in on these cases because of complaints from neighbors of noise and odors coming from the house.

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