From Helping To Hoarding: A Slippery Slope For Some

by | 10.26.2019 | 1:58pm

Rescuing a horse is a noble endeavor; to attempt to ease or relieve a horse's suffering is a gut reaction for many human beings. However, there are times when well-intentioned people go astray, taking on too many animals in need of assistance and getting in over their heads. Many times, the horses ends up worse off than when they started.

Social media has offered horse lovers an option of banding together to “save” horses from auctions where they combine forces and finances to bail a horse before he heads to the auction block and, they fear, the kill buyer.

Dr. Jennifer Williams is the president of Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society (BEHS), in College Station, Texas, feels that while those horses at auction could fall into the wrong hands, a horse truly in need of rescue is one that is in a potentially deadly situation: one that is starving or suffering and that could die from the neglect. “Rescuing” she adds, is not simply taking a horse out of a situation you may not care for.

There are three types of hoarders.

The Overwhelmed Caregiver: Some people become overwhelmed with caring for the animals in their possession once a life-changing event occurs, like when a partner dies or a financial situation changes. These overwhelmed caregivers are more likely to be aware that the quality of care their animals are receiving is declining. they may also be more willing to accept help, reports The Horse.  

The Rescuer: Many hoarders start out with adequate financial resources, but because of their inability to say no to an animal, they quickly outgrow their ability to care for them. Rescuers tend to believe they are the only person able to care for their horses. Often these people get more animals once their animals are taken away.

The Exploiter: The most difficult type of hoarder, an exploiter may also show behaviors that are consistent with antisocial personality disorder. They seem to have no emotional bond with the animals in their care and they show no remorse for the suffering animals endure at their hands. Exploiter behavior is also associated with domestic and child abuse and self-neglect.

Hoarding has been linked to other mental health issues, like mood disorders, attention-deficit/­hyperactivity disorders, personality disorders and sometimes obsessive-compulsive disorder. Oftentimes people who are hoarding animals become defensive and socially isolated as the animal's care declines.

Some hoarders may pose as rescues, but without a nonprofit status or adequate numbers of staff to care for the animals. It's imperative that those wishing to support or adopt from a “rescue” do their due diligence and investigate the organization, ensuring that it is transparent and is willing to accept visitors to the property.

If a hoarding case is suspected, the proper authorities should be notified. Oftentimes the law enforcement team will try to educate the owner on proper care; if that fails or if there are animals in imminent danger, the animals will be seized. If the hoarder does not receive appropriate treatment for their disorder, the tendency to hoard again is nearly 100 percent.

Read more at The Horse.

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