Staff and volunteers of the Elmbrook Humane Society will be blogging about what's going on at the society, as well as other observations about life in Wisconsin.
The mission of the Elmbrook Humane Society is to promote the human-animal bond through adoption and education, to provide shelter to homeless animals, and to prevent animal cruelty and neglect. EBHS services the city of Brookfield, the villages of Butler, Chenequa, Elm Grove and Nashotah, and the towns of Brookfield and Delafield. EBHS shelters unwanted pets and strays, and rescues injured domestic animals and wildlife, provides resources for individuals with companion animals and provides Humane Education to schools and civic groups.
Visit our web site at www.EBHS.org.
It is raining cats at EBHS. Today we took in 10 cats from a hoarding situation in a home where there were 180 cats. The cats are stinky, and some have ear mites, but they are all friendly and once they have been cleaned up, and are spayed and neutered and receive medical treatment, they will be made available for adoption. This hoarding situation was bad, but since the animals seem to be placeable this tragedy will not be made worse by having to euthanize the animals, which is the unfortunate result of many similar cases.
Many people are quick to condemn animal hoarders. It is very difficult for most of us to understand how someone can go from one or two animals to 180, while living in the conditions that 180 animals create in a home. There has been extensive research done on people who hoard animals and there are three types of personalities found in hoarders:
1. The Expert: This is a person who feels that they are an expert in animal care and need to be in control of the animals they have in residence. These people tend to reject outside concern, help and intervention.
2. The Rescuer: This is an individual who feels that they are the only person capable of providing the proper care and home for an animal in need. Often these individuals start off with one animal in the hope of rescuing and then rehoming the animal, but find that they are unable to let that one go, so they get another and the same situation arises which leads to a cyclical bringing in of animals and none are ever let go.
3. The Overwhelmed Caregiver: These are the most common type of hoarder, and they tend to be more socially isolated and the animals fill up the void in their lives. The hoarding in this situation is usually triggered by a change in circumstances, such as the death of a spouse, or retirement.
Animal hoarding situations are very emotional on so many levels, and it is not the job of a Humane Society to judge people that hoard. The people and the animals in these situations need our help, and that is what we are committed to doing. If you have a relative or neighbor that you are concerned about, please first understand that hoarding is a type of obsessive compulsive disorder, and they honestly cannot help themselves. Simply removing the animals from a home is just the first step in a long path that a hoarder must take and they will need support and care so as not to repeat the cycle again. There is an extremely high rate of recidivism with hoarders, so it is critical that there is ongoing support and monitoring by family and friends.
We can all do our part to protect animals and help hoarders by notifying the local humane society and authorities if you suspect someone might be hoarding animals. Also, if you are considering surrendering your companion animal to a private rescue, make sure to visit the residence where the animals will be kept to make sure it is not a hoarding situation.
Hoarding situations prove that it is all too possible to love animals to death.