September 11, 2009
ASPCA Rescues 25 Dogs from Queens Hoarder
On August 19, the ASPCA, NYC Animal Care & Control and the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals worked in tandem with local police to rescue 25 dogs from an animal hoarder in Queens, NY. After a carefully planned intervention led by the ASPCA, the hoarder, a man in his mid-50s, voluntarily relinquished the dogs.
While neighbors had long been complaining to each other about the excessive barking and horrible smells coming from the house, it took several years for anyone to contact authorities. Officials were finally tipped off after a neighbor complained to various city agencies about the constant barking, vile stench and the ever-increasing number of animals in the residence.
The dogsmostly Beagles, Miniature Pinschers and mixes of the twowere living in squalid conditions and suffering from an array of medical conditions including parasites, fleas, overgrown nails and mange. Four of the dogs are pregnant.
"Hoarding situations are complex and depending upon a number of factors, including the mental health status of the hoarder, they may or may not be referred to the criminal justice system," says Allison Cardona, ASPCA Director of Disaster Response. "It is vital that authorities be notified of hoarding situations so that steps can be taken to ensure the protection of the animals. This kind of problem will not go away by itself. It will only get worse. That is why people need to speak up!"
The ASPCA also worked closely with Adult Protective Services because, as in many of these cases, the hoarder himself was in need of medical attention. "Like many psychological conditions, there are probably multiple underlying causes for animal-hoarding behavior. These are not situations that can or should be handled by animal welfare agencies alone," explains Cardona. "The ASPCA will continue to work with Adult Protective Services to monitor this man's behavior. Without intervention and monitoring, the relapse rate for hoarders is 100 percent."
The surrendered dogs are recuperating in several shelters, and ASPCA animal behaviorists are currently working with seven in particular. "These dogs have never been socialized, walked on a leash or run around in a yard," says Cardona. "Their future pet parents will need to be especially caring, patient people, willing go the extra mile."
For more information on animal hoarding, visit ASPCA.org.
Do you Twitter? Use this hashtag to tweet on this article: @aspca and #HoardedDogsRescued