Animal Hoarding: Not Just for the Dogs!

Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association (A Humane Society of the United States organization) member, Jyothi V. Robertson, DVM, provides basic instruction on how to recognize the most common signs of animal hoarding in a client situation.  Dr. Robertson recently wrote an article in DVM 360 about how to recognize animal hoarding.

Keeping my eyes peeled for all sorts of animal hoarding because of Dr. Robertson’s article, I came across an animal rescue that I am seriously concerned about.  It’s called the Refuge for Saving the Wildlife, a member of the National Federation of Humane Societies that is run by the HUMANE SOCIETY OF THE UNITED STATES.

Refuge for Saving the Wildlife is a bird rescue in Northbrook, Illinois located in the same state the AVMA is located.  According to an article that was posted on the Refuge for Saving the Wildlife website,  Mr. Rich Weiner seems to have all the symptoms of animal hoarding.  A compassionate, well educated person that probably only wants what is best for the birds.  However, according to Dr. Robertson of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association (otherwise known as the Animal Rights Veterinary Association, a HSUS organization), Mr. Rich Weiner is in need of mental help.

Rich Weiner- house filled with cages

“Rich Weiner’s Rand Garthlite is for the birds.  So is his house.  But he can’t imagine having it any other way, he says.  From the outside Weiner’s Northbrook home looks like any nice, bilevel  suburban house.  But step inside and it is unlike  any other interior the visitor has ever seen.  The walls are lined, dining room, living room, kitchen, with large stainless steel cage after cage.  Each is occupied by a parrot: African greys, umbrella cockatoos, the occasional oddball macaw.  But you are soon charmed by the singular sensation of having SEVENTY birds, from atop their cages, or their doors, politely tell you “hello’ as you walk by.  Some begin to squawk, starting off a chain reaction until the noise level pierces the brain like an auditory ice pick.  The cockatoos slowly life their feathered crests, like gentlemen their hats as you pass (Weiner says it can mean anything from excitement to aggression.)  Pardon the association, but it looks like a minimum-security prison for avian offenders.”

According to Dr. Robertson the three main characteristics of an animal hoarder are:

“1. Overwhelmed caregivers. These hoarders often accumulate animals from the neighborhood. People in the community will drop stray animals off on their stoop because everyone knows they won’t turn away a cat or dog—even though they don’t have the room or resources to care for the animal properly.

2. Exploiters. These types of hoarders tend to be sociopaths. The general public would be shocked to discover they are hoarding animals because their outward persona is charming and charismatic. They often adopt the role of an expert and can be manipulative and cunning.

3. Rescuers. These people conduct animal hoarding in their rescue organizations and animal sanctuaries. Robertson has noticed a shift in trend toward this type of hoarder, especially now that there’s tax-exemption for rescue organizations.”

Mr. Weiner’s tax exempt rescue fits ALL THREE of these “symptoms.”  Someone, please, from Illinois contact someone that will take care of this situation!!!!

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