By Lindsay Pollard-Post
In their fervor to avoid euthanasia at all costs, "no-kill" facilities sometimes enable animal hoarders and others who put animals in abusive situations. Last week, for example, more than 100 dogs and cats were rescued from a West Virginia animal hoarder. The animals were locked in cramped, rusty cages in an old schoolhouse, and many of the animals were sick and starving, lying amid their own feces with no access to food or water. According to one news report, "The animals cringed when rescue workers shined lights onto them."
Representatives from two "no-kill" organizations had visited this facility earlier this year. They found that the animals were living in deplorable conditions and suspected that the woman in charge was in fact an animal hoarder (d'oh). But they and others enabled her to continue hoarding animals: They cleaned up the property just enough to make it pass inspection by law enforcement officials, took a few animals with them, and never looked back.
Like many hoarders, the woman often acquired animals from local animal shelters, which may have been pressured to turn the animals over to anyone who would take them, rather than euthanizing them. This whole sad, twisted situation is another reminder that warehousing animals—that is, handing animals over to hoarders or others who don't have the ability to properly care for them—is not a humane solution to the companion animal overpopulation crisis. The only solution is to ensure that all animal companions are spayed or neutered.