Experts examine hoarding, residents say city ignored complaints

(From "Confessions of an Animal Hoarder" Photo Tim Hardy)

With the busts of two major hoarders in Philadelphia in a 24-hour period last week, talk of the town has turned to people who collect animals like tchotchkes and then fail to provide them with food or vet care, while allowing waste to take over their house. Most would ask how can they let animals - and themselves - live like that?

One friend, whose animal population hit double digits, feared he might be a hoarder and sought out an expert for advice. She asked him: "Do you take your animals to the vet?" Answer: "Yes." Are you ok with finding adoptive homes when the numbers become unmanageable?" Answer: "Yes."

Conclusion: You are not a hoarder. 

The search for answers to what psychologists say is a complex problem is being taken up by not one, but multiple TV reality shows. Animal hoarding also is the subject of a day-long conference at the Bucks County SPCA on July 28. My Inquirer colleague Diane Marder has the story.

Meanwhile, the stench still hangs over the south Philadelphia block where humane agents found 85 Chihuahuas and other animals living in a row house amid several feet of waste last week. Neighbors say they complained for years about conditions at the house, but neither the city nor the Pennsylvania SPCA responded to the plight of the animals inside. More from The Daily News here.

The PSPCA told the Daily News it took a year to gather enough evidence for a search warrant, but one wonders why the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement was not called in immediately to see whether the individual was running an unlicensed kennel. The bureau has the authority to check for required dog licenses and rabies vaccinations.