Animal Hoarding: Terrifying Numbers! Lots of cases in 2021

Hoarders are losing control of animal husbandry – mostly cats. Imago / Everett Group

Countless Germans have a pet – be it a dog, a cat or a rabbit. them too? Then you definitely know how much time it takes to take care of your pet lovingly. The sad record that animal rights activists currently have is incomprehensible: the German Animal Welfare Association has dealt with the number of cases of “animal hoarding” that have occurred in recent years. This term refers to the disease group of animals. The numbers are shocking – and a sad record.

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Because: In the statistics since 2012, there have not been as many cases as last year, according to the assessment of animal rights activists. The association has learned of 68 cases, which means 4,200 animals have been affected. The math behind it is pretty simple: In each of these cases, an average of 61 animals were hoarded. A study conducted over the past 10 years indicates that there are about 30 thousand animals in 437 cases. And: The number of unreported cases is likely to be much higher.

Animal hoarding: There have been many cases in Berlin

The problem is also in Berlin, of course. Twelve cases are known here – this stems from a parliamentary question posed by the AfD. Each of them leaves animal lovers at a loss. For example, the authorities intervened because someone in their mid-65s had birds and eight cats – and in another case, 300 fish were housed in a house. In Steglitz-Zehlendorf, 52 parrots and 17 pigeons were kept in one house, and 135 parrots in another.

“The numbers are frightening. Behind every case is incredible animal suffering,” says Nina Brakbusch, an expert in animal hoarding at the German Animal Welfare Association. Animal owners often do not notice how poorly the animals are doing. While they may still be taking in more, the animals live in confined spaces in their urine and faeces, are neglected, malnourished and sick. They multiply out of control.”

House full of birds.  Animal rights activists encounter such cases of animal hoarding time and time again.
House full of birds. Animal rights activists encounter such cases of animal hoarding time and time again. imago / perspective

Cats are particularly affected. According to the Animal Welfare Association’s assessment, they were the most hoarded animals of all years. There have been 201 cases where many cats have had to live in degrading conditions. And there were 186 cases in dogs and 186 in small animals, but the latter recorded the record in terms of the number of animals: 10709 were absorbed in all cases.

Animal Hoarding: How Can It Keep Happening?

These numbers make me confused – because I don’t understand how this can happen over and over again. Experts also see “animal hoarding” as a clinical picture – and it is assumed that psychological stress, such as in the Corona pandemic, may worsen the situation. “Often, a blow of fate, such as the death of a relative, deterioration of an individual’s mental health or financial hardship, causes people to slide into a hoarding situation,” says expert Brakbusch. “These triggers could have been more common lately.”

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However, I don’t understand why the pet owners themselves allowed this access. Although, of course, hoarding is harmful to animals, I would at least describe most people who own animals as animal-friendly. How can you completely ignore how poorly animals perform? I also wonder how Animal Hoarders can get away with their addiction to collecting for so long.

Imagine an apartment in which 150 birds live. Not only do they get a lot of dirt – they also make noise. For example, how can the neighbors not notice that something is not right there? Here, too, we as a society are wanted. We should pay more attention to our surroundings, and also look left and right – and not close our eyes when we feel that the people around us are not feeling well. Because in the end everyone suffers in this situation: collectors and their animals – and last but not least the completely overcrowded animal shelters who have to pay for everything.

Florian Tallmann writes about animals every week in KURIER.
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