On August 19, the ASPCA Field Investigation and Response Team, NYC Animal Care & Control and the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals worked in tandem with local police to rescue 25 dogs from an animal hoarder in Queens, New York. After a carefully planned intervention led by the ASPCA, the hoarder, a man in his mid-50s, voluntarily relinquished the dogs.
While neighbors had long been complaining to each other about the excessive barking and horrible smells coming from the house, it took several years for anyone to contact authorities. Officials were finally tipped off when a neighbor complained to various city agencies about the constant barking, vile stench and the ever-increasing number of animals in the residence.
The dogs—mostly Beagles, Miniature Pinschers and mixes of the two—were living in squalid conditions and suffering from an array of medical conditions including parasites, fleas, overgrown nails and mange. Four of the dogs were pregnant.
"Hoarding situations are complex, and depending upon a number of factors, including the mental health status of the hoarder, they may or may not be referred to the criminal justice system," said Allison Cardona, ASPCA Director of Field Operations. "It is vital that authorities be notified of hoarding situations so that steps can be taken to ensure the protection of the animals. This kind of problem will not go away by itself. It will only get worse. That is why people need to speak up!"
The ASPCA worked closely with Adult Protective Services because, as in many of these cases, the hoarder himself was in need of medical attention. "Like many psychological conditions, there are probably multiple underlying causes for animal hoarding behavior. These are not situations that can or should be handled by animal welfare agencies alone," explained Cardona. "The ASPCA will continue to work with Adult Protective Services to monitor this man's behavior. Without intervention and monitoring, the relapse rate for hoarders is 100 percent."
The surrendered dogs spent time recuperating and learning basic behavioral skills in several shelters across the area. ASPCA animal behaviorists worked with seven of the more difficult dogs in particular. "These dogs had never been socialized, walked on a leash or run around in a yard," said Cardona. “There was a lot for them to learn.” We are happy to report that all of the dogs, along with the newly born puppies, have since been released for adoption.
To learn more about hoarding, please visit our Hoarding FAQ.