Expert says pet hoarding is way more common than we think

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Taking in neighborhood cats is always a nice thing until you accidently end up with too many. Experts say, in many instances, pet owners get overwhelmed and unintentionally neglect their animal.

Hannah Nerby has eight cats that she calls family. She quickly realized it could be challenging to afford all these pets, specifically her one female cat Sabrina.

“Cats are more than just the pets of the family, they’re like my children. We have mostly boys and having the one that wasn’t fixed yet kind of threw off the balance,” says Nerby.

And When it comes to having multiple animals, the matter of each pets health becomes an issue. In the city of Bismarck, residents that have more than four pets are required to have a special license.

“Most People that struggle with animal hoarding it happened unintentionally, so this is an accidental case of hoarding and we do find that 30% of people who hoard objects also hoard animals,” says Dr. Renae Reinardy, a licensed clinic psychologist.

Dr. Reinardy has specialized in hoarding for 22 years and was featured on TLC’S infamous show “Hoarders.” She says animal hoarding is way more common than we think.

“About 3500 people come to the attention of law enforcement every year, at least 250 thousand animals are impacted by hoarding behavior,” says Dr. Reinardy. “80% of people struggling with animal hoarding have diseased or dying animals in their home.”

She says some animal owners may not even realize they can’t maintain their pets and love them too much to let them go. Nerby noticed her cat’s well-being was at risk, but the thought of finding her cat a new home, was one of her worst fears.

“I sat down and had a talk with her because they understand us they just choose not to sometimes. And when I told her she might have to go away, she clung on to me and, I said ‘nope I can’t do it.’ This is my baby,” says Nerby.

Putting pets in these environments is not only unsafe, it’s stressful. But, being removed from their homes and owners can also lead animals to being traumatized. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you have the space, time, attention, and money, before things get out of hand.

“These are not malicious people who hate animals, it’s usually quite the opposite. It’s people who don’t have anything else in their lives but animals. They love animals very much but have a belief system that is inaccurate and leads to suffering of animals,” says Dr. Reinardy.

Nerby has been able to get Sabrina the cat fixed so she can now stay at home.

If you have any questions about pet hoarding, visit here.

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