Expert: Animal hoarding often begins with rescuing

STOKES COUNTY, N.C. – Animal advocates estimate 1,500 new cases of animal hoarding are discovered each year.

Experts say for many hoarders it’s a symptom of mental illness. Other animal advocates say hoarders start out with good intentions but their desire to help turns to hurt when their desire to help a large amount of animals becomes a financial and physical strain.

“It’s a mental illness and that’s what we have to remember when we come into cases like this,” said rescuer Lori Shore-Smith with the Stokes County Humane Society.

Shore-Smith and many volunteers have been working to rescue more than 60 dogs and puppies discovered at two separate Animal Hoarding cases in less than a week.

“It does make you angry and it pulls at your heart strings,” Shore-Smith added.

Animal advocates suggest if you see someone with more animals than they can walk every day, feed every day and get routine veterinarian visits they could have a hoarding problem.

Experts say family and friends are typically the first to spot the problem and urge them to be the first to stop it for the safety and health of the animals and their loved one.

“They get overwhelmed, they begin to take in more animals than they can possible afford to take care of,” said Marsha Williams with the Guilford County Animal Shelter. “[Hoarders] believe they’re rescuing them and nobody can do a better job of taking care of them then they can.”

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