Raising awareness against hoarding animals

By Sunni Blevins - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Animal rescue groups hope a Virginia hoarding case will raise awareness about a danger that could be happening in your community.

A Beford man could face animal cruelty charges after authorities rescued 99 dogs and cats from his home.

Richmond Animal League actually has several cats available for adoption right now that were rescued from a home in Powhatan county after a hoarding case.

The authorities who responded to that Bedford home say this is the worst animal hoarding case they've ever seen.  Nearly 100 dogs and cats living in deplorable conditions.

Captain Mike Miller from the Bedford County Sheriff's Office says "he may have thought he was doing a good thing, but the problem is at some point and time it's a bad thing. You can't attend to this many animals at one time."

A Roanoke-based animal rescue group is now helping those pets, who all have health conditions but none severe enough to be euthanized.  Amy McCracken with RAL says these type of cases are happening all over Virginia and the country.

McCracken says, "it happens in urban communities; it happens in rural communities. Our guess is that with as many animal hoarding cases that are out there it's happening in every community somewhere on some level. "

Experts say hoarding isn't always easy to spot, but there are some signs to be on the lookout for, especially social isolation.

McCracken says, "someone who's become more and more of a recluse, more signs that there are more animals there like a smell or the noise; those are the things that you should alert your county animal control too right away."

Neighbors brought the Bedford case to light.  Though it's believed the man living here truly felt he was helping these animals, that's a job that's way too big for any one person.

McCracken says, "there's no way that one person could take care of 50 or 100 animals. It's not safe for the animals. Their disease becomes widespread. There's no waste management control. It just can't happen."

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