Monday, August 15, 2016

Is cat hoarding a crime or disorder?

You see it in the papers almost everyday--an older person, usually a woman, has 50 cats. I actually knew a woman who did--she took in feral cats.

This kind of thing gives cat owners a bad name.

Some states, like Oregon in 2015, allows lawsuits for violating the state's animal neglect laws.

This is important, say animal activists, because once a hoarder, a person cannot be counted on to not reoffend.

Stopping animal hoarding is way more than filing criminal charges and taking away much loved, though neglected, pets.

Some say prosecuting is criminalizing a mental health disorder. (In 2013, "hoarding disorder" was added to the Statitical Manuel of Mental Disorders.)

Hoarding disorder is a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder, but hoarders often refuse to or cannot see it as abnormal.

So authorities must decide--help the person or the animals. It doesn't always work out well.

Fining someone who already cannot feed their cats is not a solution. Removing the animals is an option--and a nasty job. But it's not like there aren't more cats that will come around.

We have half a dozen "regulars" in our yard alone. Our one remaining cat (from a total of four--only four) watches them from her cozy deal inside.

I am not tempted to let any ferals in. Never never.

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