26 dogs rescued: Coastal Pet Rescue sheds light on animal hoarding


SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Between May and June, a local pet shelter encountered three different hoarding situations.

“Two were abandoned by their owner because they recognized they needed help,” said Lisa Scarbrough, director and founder of Coastal Pet Rescue (CPR). “We took six animals from the first house, six from the second but they had more than they wanted to let go.”

Scarborough said the third hoarding incident involved 26 dogs.

“We were contacted by another group to help us and we took 16,” she added.

Scarborough said in many cases an individual or family can provide appropriate care for multiple animals. But hoarding situations are different.

“They think they are doing the best they can but don’t see the negligence,” the CPR director explained. “Usually pets have not seen a veterinarian, if ever. Food, urine and feces sit on the floors because they don’t spend a lot of time outdoors. And inbreeding happens because they are not modified.

According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America (ADAA), the term “pet hoarding” refers to the compulsive need to collect and own animals for the purpose of caring for them, resulting in neglect or accidental or unintentional abuse.

As the ADAA explains, most animal collectors fall victim to their good intentions and end up emotionally overwhelmed, socially isolated, and estranged from family and friends. The problem causes immense suffering to animals and humans.

It also creates a big expense for local animal shelters like Coastal Pet Rescue.

Scarbrough said most hoarding situations CPR encounters involve small-breed dogs, because someone with hoarding disorder can have more living in an indoor space with what they see as comfortably as large breed dogs. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any large dog stocking situations, but rescue usually encounters breeds such as Chihuahuas (mixes), Shih Tzus, Yorkies, etc.

It is difficult to detect an accumulation of animals unless you enter a person’s home. Often, a person with hoarding disorder will not have visitors, so the situation can go unchecked for a long time.

For those who suspect a hoarding situation, contact a licensed animal shelter. If the individual is unwilling to accept help, a rescue can place a welfare call into local animal control or humane enforcement like Chatham County Animal Services.

“I often try to coach people to go the private/non-profit route first, as I’ve seen animals sitting tied up in county court cases for months, if not years, and it sets them back on the road to their new life,” Scarborough said. . “A lot of times these people don’t need jail time or fines, they need resources and help because they will have other problems and challenges.”

If you are looking to adopt an animal from the CPR, click here.

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