AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) – Hoarding is a complex issue that can affect mental health, animal welfare, and public safety.
Animal intake numbers at the Aiken County Animal Shelter are not too high right now. However, those intake numbers are expected to grow as the weather gets warmer.
Recently, more than 20 dogs were rescued in Aiken County at a home where the owner was hoarding them. Now several of the dogs are ready for adoption.
“This gentleman had 24 animals that lived inside his house and they were also allowed to roam free,” said shelter manager Bobby Arthurs.
Animals that are victims of hoarding are trickling into the Aiken County Animal Shelter. Right now, the shelter is about three-quarters of the way full.
Arthurs explained, “When he came in (Archer), see this Demodex, non-contagious mange. They’re born with it and it says, ‘hi I’m Archer.'” Arthurs said the conditions Archer was found in was unbearable.
“It’s terrible! Some dogs that have beaten so that they’re afraid,” exclaimed Joanne Goble. She’s a volunteer at the shelter.
Bobby Arthurs isn’t a psychologist, but he believes a big reason why people hoard is that they are lonely.
Arthurs said, “You see a lot of folks who shut themselves out, away from people and they stop talking with their relatives. They stop talking to close family members and they just stop communication. And they just start bringing in these animals and it just starts with a couple. Then those animals start having babies. Then it just explodes to 30 or 40. Meanwhile, the person is still going out collecting more animals.”
“Hoarders, they really think they’re doing a good thing. They can’t afford them. They can’t afford to feed them. They can’t afford vet care. There’s so many of them they put them in the back yard they never have any human contact. And then they’re really hard to get out of that,” said Goble.
Arthurs added, “I can only imagine if I had so many pets that I couldn’t afford to take care of. It just gets beside me sometimes but I see situations that some of the folks are in and I see how easy it can get out of control.”
To adopt a pet at the Aiken Animal Shelter (333 Wire Rd, Aiken, SC 29801), below is a list of their operating hours.
While at the shelter, ask how you can help. They will put you to work.