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kelpiegirl

Too many dogs, over dogged...

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With the popularity of the program "Hoarders", I got to thinking the other night, about the dog people I know (myself included). What do you all feel is the line between lots of dogs, and hoarding? Is there a line? Is there a clear deliniation? I bet if you ask non-dog people, there would be no distinction....

 

My feeling is that if you have the resources/funds, and time to handle the # of dogs you have, and give them a quality life, whatever that may be, then, I believe that you are not in the hoarding realm.

 

The other thing, is that I have been watching "Pitbulls and Parolees" lately, and this woman and her band of helpers have about 200 Pitbulls at the rescue. I can't help but wonder if this is a bit "over the top"- meaning, this woman has got to be so overwhelmed every single day- is this a life for HER? Has she lost herself? What do you all think?

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The line for me is the individual (or rescue group's) ability to not just address physical needs, but also mental needs of the animals in their care. Obviously it's a hoarding situation when animals are living in filth, but I also think you are on the mild end of hoarding if the animals are crated for 23 hours a day, you can't spend time with them individually, and you aren't providing a place for them to express natural behaviors. If all you animals have major behavior issues that aren't actively in the process of resolution or they all need meds for behavior issues, then there's something wrong as well.

 

I tend to be pretty skeptical of most "no-kill" places because of my concerns about the animals' mental needs - sure the physical may be just fine, but is it humane to ignore the fact that there is a mental aspect to animals that needs to be taken into consideration, too?

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I feel that it is not only important to provide the animals you are caring for a quality of life but also yourself and your family.

 

I used to help a woman that raised, trained and raced Standardbreds, she had hoarding tendencies. The horses were all cared for reasonably well, there was room for improvement but her quality of life sucked, it was too much for her physically and mentally, but it was really difficult to let go even though some of the horses could have been utilized as saddle horses. She also suffered from the "Hooves of Gold" Syndrome, basically any horse she owned was worth way more then it's true value. Some of the hoarders that I have run into are willing to sell, but they way over value their product or they make such high requirements on buyers that no one would be good enough for their horse/dog.

 

I really could see how easily it could be to become a hoarder, you just get to that point where you justify keeping them all, they all have value but you still need more because none fill the need you have or you feel that you can't turn any away because you think you can fill their need.

 

Anyway, I guess IMO the number of animals a person has is not the key, to me it is about the mental and emotional state of the person with the animals. When you get into large numbers you almost have to operate things more like a business with a willingness to cut out dead wood, if you can't treat things as a business you are better off keeping your numbers to a minimum.

 

Deb

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I used to run into a lot of really flaky people in rescue. It seemed to me that there were several red flags – the really screwed up people tended to be in “all-breed” rescue, they tended to pick animals that were going to be difficult to re-home because of old age or multiple physical and behavioral problems. They would also spend a lot of time telling you how evil/cruel/ heartless the average person connected with the animals she rescued was. And people who showed these tendencies seemed to have more animals than they could handle. The result was crowding, insufficient vetting and inability to let go of the animals. They would usually be compensating for emotional black holes in their own lives, and become desperate if anyone tried to help them see that they were not only compromising any hope of a normal emotional life for themselves, but transferring their neediness and anxiety to their charges – which of course made them even more difficult to place.

 

There are many hard-working and sensible people working in rescue, and I don’t mean to minimize the work that they do in alleviating suffering and giving animals a chance for a good life – but burn-out is all too common, and the burnt-out ones don’t always take a time out when they need to.

 

I found a really handy way to tell if rescue is what you should be doing is this:

If you feel that you are a person who has good quality of life and you can share some of that with an animal or animals that need help, then go to it.

If you think that you want to save all the animals that have been victims of the same cruelties that make your life so hard and miserable, then run – don’t walk away from rescue.

 

I was once friends with a retired teacher who lived alone in a 5 bedroom home with about a dozen cats and dogs in need at any given time. She had 5 pets of her own, and some people saw her as a nutball. But Florence was a happy person with a rich (though somewhat hectic) life, both social and domestic. She and her home were clean and well-maintained (and she wasn’t rich!) The animals she helped were happy, healthy and clean, and she rehomed them wisely and surprisingly quickly. She got very few “returnees,” although her charges were always placed with that option. There are those who would say she was a hoarder – but I don’t think so. She was simply a woman who knew how to make herself useful, and she derived a great deal of personal satisfaction from her chosen lifestyle.

 

Unhappiness is the hallmark of a hoarder. Self-righteous, strident, fearful people are not happy. When these people get into rescue it can get very ugly.

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Reading this thread has given me yet another reason to live without television. I had to use The Google to find out what the show was. Why in the name of all that is good would someone make a television show holding the victims of mental illness up to ridicule? Because that is what hoarding -- whether it's dogs or newspapers used adult diapers -- is: a mental illness. "Hey! Look at the crazy person living in his own filth! Ha ha! We are so much better than he is! What a total loony!"

 

What's next? "Cutters: young women who seem to have it all but are filled with self-loathing! Watch them squirm as they wrestle with their body image and low self-esteem!"

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I think people can have more dogs than they can handle without actually being a hoarder. Some just don't have the time or resources to handle a single dog, let alone 2 or 3. Dogs are not exactly cheap to maintain correctly, and when you add on the cost of unexpected trips to the vet they can get extremely expensive.

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As much as I would like to have another dog 2 is about all I can handle and still be true to both of them. Owning a working dog is a tremendous responsibility and one I take seriously.

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Actually hoarding animals has a precise definition. It is when someone has more animals than they can care for. And true hoarding is pretty rare. These people really care for their animals but are in denial about the fact that they can't care for them well. They think they are taking good care of them. It is really a type of OCD and is a true mental disorder. It's really very sad.

 

I think a lot of other people aren't hoarders they just end up with too many dogs kind of by accident. But as long as they have the funds and ability to take care of them well then who cares? And if those animals take up their whole life? Well, that is their decision to make. No one else can make that decision for them.

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Reading this thread has given me yet another reason to live without television. I had to use The Google to find out what the show was. Why in the name of all that is good would someone make a television show holding the victims of mental illness up to ridicule? Because that is what hoarding -- whether it's dogs or newspapers used adult diapers -- is: a mental illness. "Hey! Look at the crazy person living in his own filth! Ha ha! We are so much better than he is! What a total loony!"

 

What's next? "Cutters: young women who seem to have it all but are filled with self-loathing! Watch them squirm as they wrestle with their body image and low self-esteem!"

 

Good point. I cringe when I see the commercial for that show, I certainly could never watch it. Poor people.

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She also suffered from the "Hooves of Gold" Syndrome, basically any horse she owned was worth way more then it's true value. Some of the hoarders that I have run into are willing to sell, but they way over value their product or they make such high requirements on buyers that no one would be good enough for their horse/dog.

 

Very interesting, I'd never herad the term before. I guess it could be applied to anything that a "hoarder" might have.

 

Bill,

I have watched this show with interest and no judgement. I feel for these people. The reason I watched was I caught a promo and it looked so much like the place I moved into it caught my attention. Now I understand what happened to this place. The man that owned it was a hoarder with 40+ acres. He had filled this whole place with "priceless" (some truly priceless but mostly junk) things. It's now eaiser for me to understand what/who I'm cleaning up after which in turn makes the job seem less horrible. I can also see where this man started going wrong or into true hoarding behaviors. The beginning mess that we got to way after we started had some since of purpose and order, but what he ended his life with was total chaos. It's like the tv program x40acres.

 

I am so proud of myself that I'm more than 80% finished. I will be truely grateful and satsified when I can have the man's daughter come for a visit and she will get to see what this places true potential is.

 

I think a true hoarder has mental disablities that someone who happens to have to many dogs or other animals will never have. Anyone can end up with to many of anything but, a hoarder has way more issues to deal with other than just to much of something.

JMHO

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Actually hoarding animals has a precise definition.

 

Where exactly is that definition? Where is it in the pschychology journals and texts?

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Where exactly is that definition? Where is it in the pschychology journals and texts?

 

Here is one definition. I'm sure there are others. This is from Tufts. Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium (HARC)

 

1. More than the typical number of companion animals.

 

2. Inability to provide even minimal standards of nutrition, sanitation, shelter and veterinary care with this neglect often resulting in starvation, illness and death.

 

3. Denial of the inability to provide the minimum care and the impact of that failure on the animals, the household, and the human occupants of the dwelling.

 

Illinois Law incorporting this definition (510 ILCS 70/2.10) Public Health Report.

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Here is one definition. I'm sure there are others. This is from Tufts. Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium (HARC)

 

1. More than the typical number of companion animals.

 

2. Inability to provide even minimal standards of nutrition, sanitation, shelter and veterinary care with this neglect often resulting in starvation, illness and death.

 

3. Denial of the inability to provide the minimum care and the impact of that failure on the animals, the household, and the human occupants of the dwelling.

 

Illinois Law incorporting this definition (510 ILCS 70/2.10) Public Health Report.

 

I fit number 1 though. I have more than the 'typical number of companion animals' just by having as many dogs as I do. What is the 'typical number anyways'? If someone's animals are well cared for then it's not really my business how many they have.

 

I heard about this show just a couple days ago and it also made me sad. Hoarding is a disease. I couldn't watch a show like that at all.

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I fit number 1 though. I have more than the 'typical number of companion animals' just by having as many dogs as I do. What is the 'typical number anyways'? If someone's animals are well cared for then it's not really my business how many they have.

 

I heard about this show just a couple days ago and it also made me sad. Hoarding is a disease. I couldn't watch a show like that at all.

 

I would be unhappy with item one being incorporated into a statute. I mean, seven Papillons in a two-bedroom house or apartment is a different kettle of fish than five Rottweilers in a single apartment. No matter how well the Rotties are cared for, they are not going to be appropriate in that setting. Whereas the Paps might feel that they were roaming the Great Plains!

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I would be unhappy with item one being incorporated into a statute. I mean, seven Papillons in a two-bedroom house or apartment is a different kettle of fish than five Rottweilers in a single apartment. No matter how well the Rotties are cared for, they are not going to be appropriate in that setting. Whereas the Paps might feel that they were roaming the Great Plains!

Most people probably would say that a typical number would only be one or two dogs. We are allowed a total of four but most apartments have lower limits - just one or two.

 

I think what makes someone a "hoarder" is not so much the number as the fact that can't care for them but are in total denial of that fact. They think they are taking good care of them even tho the animals may be starving to death and living in complete filth.

 

I think it also said that 75% of hoarders are women. And men tend to hoard dogs and women tend to hoard cats.

 

True hoarding is a mental disorder and a really sad one.

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Laurelin,

I'm guessing that the definition requires a "yes" to all three statements. That is, you'd have to have more than the average number, you'd have to be unable to care for them, *and* you'd have to be in denial about your ability to care for them. Just having more than the average number alone wouldn't classify you as a hoarder. The key is being unable to care for them I think.

 

J.

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I was trying to find some stats yesterday and stumbled across this number; the average dog owning household has 1.7 dogs. So I guess 3 or more dogs would be more than "normal."

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Our county has given second reading to a similar ordinance. I don't get it. The person who violates the ordinance must be unable to realize they're violating the ordinance or - they're not in violation of the ordinance? :rolleyes: Makes my head spin.

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Sally,

 

Good point. I was wondering how one would ever get a conviction since the defendant would have to be incompetent in order to meet the elements of the crime, and would therefore either be not guilty by reason of insanity or incompetent to stand trial, or both. The definition would, essentially, criminalize mental illness. Not the first time in human history such has been done.

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My Brother in law- A sweet and kind man- is mentally disabled. He is a hoarder, of toy tractors.

 

His apartment is filled with toy tractors. Finally we had to move a bunch of tractors to the old house. As there were so many that it was hard to move around.

 

Of course toy tractors are not living, so it does no harm.

 

Except the money he has spent. And the fact if there were a fire it could be a danger trying to get out of the house.

 

But he is touchingly devoted to his toy tractors.

 

Pete and I wonder what to do with the tractors after he dies. He is in pretty poor health.

 

 

On another note- Folks that run dog teams often have many more dogs than average.

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My Brother in law- A sweet and kind man- is mentally disabled. He is a hoarder, of toy tractors.

 

His apartment is filled with toy tractors. Finally we had to move a bunch of tractors to the old house. As there were so many that it was hard to move around.

 

Of course toy tractors are not living, so it does no harm.

 

Except the money he has spent. And the fact if there were a fire it could be a danger trying to get out of the house.

 

But he is touchingly devoted to his toy tractors.

 

Pete and I wonder what to do with the tractors after he dies. He is in pretty poor health.

On another note- Folks that run dog teams often have many more dogs than average.

Gosh. I;m sure there are collectors of toy tractors that would give anything to get their hands on his collection. You might be surprised at how much that collection is worth.

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I was wondering how one would ever get a conviction since the defendant would have to be incompetent in order to meet the elements of the crime, and would therefore either be not guilty by reason of insanity or incompetent to stand trial, or both.

 

I've been wondering the same thing. Has anyone heard of a hoarding ordinance actually being sucessfully enforced against someone who was represented by counsel?

 

It's odd how these sorts of ordinances have sprung up like mushrooms lately. I guess maybe the TV show has got people putting pressure on their local governments? Whereupon, I imagine, the city or county attorney looks on Municode for the nearest example of a hoarding ordinance and copies it off.

 

Still, though - I wonder if I haven't missed something. I mean, the ordinance as written seems fatally flawed to me - but surely if this were so someone would have corrected it by now?

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I have a friend with six dogs, one purebred purchased as a pup from a breeder, and the rest all rescues/shelter dogs. They lead an enviable life as companions, house dogs (they are all Aussie/BC-sized), and so on. I, on the other hand, work fewer hours than she does, volunteer less time, and feel pretty full with three dogs (I might manage a fourth if it was the right dog/pup but absolutely no more). Too many dogs (or anything, perhaps) is going to be somewhat variable with the person, their situation and resources, and what they can and will accomplish with those animals.

 

Hoarders are mentally ill and the situations at their homes is frightening, most of all when it involves living creatures. I think it was well pointed out, though, that rather than the number of animals, it is not being able to provide reasonable care and not being able to see/admit that they are not cared for reasonably that are the deciding factors.

 

Here in WV, it seems that many/most hoarding situations are pretty breed-specific - small dogs in particular.

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Yes, giving the tractors to children to me seemed the thing to do. But we cannot do that till he is gone. He does love his tractors.

 

I suppose there are rare old toy tractors in there somewhere, but I think he would rather let kids have them.

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