Hoarders. Are they protecting animals or hurting them?

Over the weekend, a story came out in the local news about a woman who’s a former animal rescuer and how she’s been charged with animal cruelty.  Come to find out, 60 of the 93 animals in her home had to be euthanized because they were ill.  

My first thought was that she probably thought she was rescuing the animals (most were cats; 3 were dogs), but when push came to shove, she simply didn’t have the money or resources to feed all of them.  A good Samaritan whose good deeds came to a horrendous end.

I can empathize with what this woman has gone through and why she felt the need to take in so many animals.  I volunteered for a rescue service for more than a year, answering emails for them, and there were many times that I would have taken an animal that someone was trying to turn over to us.  The irony is that we couldn’t take any animals since we were a small, volunteer-run organization with no “home office.”  Instead, we rescued from the shelters, but only when one of our foster homes had space for another animal.  As a result, the animals we fostered had a solid foundation, usually learned some basic commands, and were in much better condition when their forever homes finally found them.

I do remember one particular email that I received on a cold January afternoon.  A woman had bought a Havanese pup from a breeder.  Nine weeks old, black/white/brown, and full of mischief, the pup would have made anyone who saw it say, “awww.”  In her email, the woman’s anguish came through clearly.  She had paid $900 for the pup, plus all of the food, toys, and accouterments necessary to make a home for the little guy.  But less than two weeks after bringing him home, she lost her job and was being forced to move in with her daughter — into a home which didn’t allow pets.  The woman simply wanted someone to take and love her pup.  No money was necessary.  Just give him a good home.

My heart broke for both the pup and the woman, and I wanted desperately to take him in.  At the time, I didn’t have Izzy, but I had dreams of having a pup like the Havanese, and here was my chance.  Unfortunately, I already had a cat and lived in an apartment complex where one pet was the rule.  My cat, Jojo, was 18 years old, blind and deaf, and I knew she didn’t have much longer to live, but bringing a pup into the house (secretly–which I was ready to do) would not have been fair to her. 

I often wonder what happened to that woman and to the pup, just as I’m going to wonder what’s going to happen to this woman who is probably brokenhearted that her plan for rescue has resulted in her arrest.

If you want to read the full story, cut and paste this link in your browser:  http://www.examiner.com/article/former-animal-rescue-head-charged-after-90-cats-found-her-nc-home


  1. This is incredibly sad. So many cats and dogs need good homes, and perhaps this woman had good intentions when she started taking in these animals, but when two-thirds of the animals in her care had to be euthanized, then those animals have suffered a horrible injustice.


  2. You’re absolutely right, Miranda. I think she got in over her head. I’m just surmising here, but it’s possible that she started out by trying to rescue animals that had no hope and then realized she couldn’t care for them all. I can only hope that people do the right thing and neuter pets so that we can maintain the population.


  3. I am caring for 21 rescued animals in our family property. I do want to take in more, but the place is full. Most of the animals, except 3 cats that are waiting to be integrated, and a very talkative mynah are allowed to go free at certain times of the day. It’s a drain on my resources and caring for them takes so much time, but I have a relationship with each one so it fills my heart. You just have to know when to stop. It breaks my heart everytime I turn my back on an animal.But we have to do it, for the sake of the animals.


    1. I applaud you, Rosanna! I know what you mean about having a relationship with each one and about how tough it is to turn another away. Wish there were more people like you who knew when to stop. I think that the woman I wrote about just couldn’t . . . and it’s sad when that happens.


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