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What Happens to Hoarders?

Study finds inconsistencies in handling of cases

Study finds inconsistencies in handling of cases

Ever wonder what happens to an animal hoarding case once it leaves the headlines? Are the offenders penalized? Do they receive counseling? Is there a standardized process by which these cases are resolved? Although the answers to these questions, outlined in a recent study, are sobering, they provide a roadmap for improving our collective response to animal hoarding (“Long-Term Outcomes in Animal Hoarding Cases,” Animal Law, 2005).

Researchers included Colin Berry, Colorado program coordinator for The HSUS; Gary Patronek, V.M.D, Ph.D., of Tufts University; and Randall Lockwood, Ph.D., who was with The HSUS at the time but is now at the ASPCA. The team reviewed 56 hoarding cases from 26 states to determine how they were adjudicated. Among the findings: cats and dogs were the most frequently hoarded animals; at least one dead animal was discovered on the property in a third of the cases; the primary defendants in 41 of the 56 cases were charged with at least one misdemeanor count of animal cruelty; and nine cases involved felony animal cruelty charges.

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