I recently attended an estate sale at a house that had belonged to a hoarder.
I’ve been going to estate sales for years and have seen all manner of houses, but nothing could have prepared me for the chaos within this one. Boxes stuffed with papers, photographs, magazines, and old clothes were precariously stacked throughout the home, covering almost every single surface.
There were boxes on the beds, in the bathtubs, in the hallways, and on every piece of furniture. Many rooms had a small pathway amid the clutter, barely wide enough for one person to navigate. Frequently, someone would inadvertently send something crashing down. Some rooms were completely impassable.
Now imagine that those boxes were cages and crates stacked one on top of another, each containing a miserable, sick animal, and that the surfaces were covered not with clutter but with feces and urine. This is the reality when people hoard animals, often under the delusion that they’re “saving” them—and the consequences are devastating.
PETA has investigated numerous animal-hoarding cases over the years and, time and again, has found animals warehoused in deplorable conditions. The investigators have seen cats kept in impossible-to-sanitize wooden sheds and dilapidated, moldy trailers that reeked of ammonia, their living areas strewn with vomit, trash, and waste. They’ve seen paralyzed animals forced to drag themselves around until they developed bloody ulcers. They’ve seen suffering animals deprived of veterinary care—including some plagued with seizures, diabetes, and wounds infected down to the bone.
Hoarding “things” is bad enough. But when animals are involved, intervention is vital. A majority of animal-hoarding cases—at least 57 percent, according to one study—are brought to authorities’ attention by concerned neighbors.
If you suspect that animals are being neglected or abused by their caretakers, even those who appear well intentioned, please be a “nosy neighbor” and alert authorities immediately.