To be honest, it's not always easy. While the elderly tend to be more at risk, animal hoarders range in age and can be men or women. The one commonality between all hoarders is their failure to grasp the severity of their situation.
Here are several signs that may indicate someone is an animal hoarder:
- The individual has numerous animals and may not know the total number of animals in his or her care.
- The person’s home is vastly unkempt with dirty windows, broken furniture, holes in wall and floor or extreme clutter.
- There is a strong smell of ammonia, and floors may be covered with dried feces, urine, vomit, etc.
- Animals are emaciated, lethargic and not well socialized.
- Fleas and vermin are present.
- The individual is isolated from his or her community and appears to be neglecting him or herself.
- The individual insists all of his or her animals are happy and healthy—even when there are clear signs of distress and illness.
If you think you know an animal hoarder, please pick up the phone and call your local police department, animal shelter or veterinarian to ask for help. A phone call may be the first step to get a suspected hoarder and the animals the help they need.
For more information about animal hoarding, see our Hoarding FAQ.