In the past year, animal welfare activists have recorded 59 cases of animal collecting addiction. In total, more than 3,600 animals were affected, as the German Animal Welfare Association has now announced. There was thus at least one case per week. In 2019, the number of cases had been 50. Even if the level of officially reported cases remained similarly high as in previous years, the umbrella organization assumes, according to its own information, a high number of unreported cases. Especially since the Corona pandemic, more and more people have acquired pets.
Lockdown and social isolation may have further exacerbated the problem. "Even if it is not possible to tell directly from the figures whether and how the Corona pandemic is influencing the problem, the increased isolation of people could lead to more cases of animal hoarding in the long term," says Moira Gerlach, specialist for pets at the German Animal Welfare Association.
Above all, people who already had a tendency to keep many animals before the pandemic and who already have underlying psychological problems are susceptible to increased animal hoarding. If animal keeping then becomes an addiction, it is referred to as animal hoarding.The pathological hoarding of animals could then gradually get out of control. The result: more and more animals are taken in and reproduce uncontrollably. "The animals then dwell in their own feces, are malnourished or sick - while the owner himself does not even notice that his animals are badly off," Gerlach warns.
That Animal Hoarding is again a problem in 2021 is shown by the current cases. At the end of July, police in Düsseldorf confiscated 18 dogs. On the same day, 27 cats were taken from a two-room apartment in Haßberge. Just a few days ago, animal welfare activists rescued another 18 cats from a household in Bochum. The animals were placed in animal shelters and cared for there.
On average, 62 animals were found per case discovered. Most often, the collectors, also called hoarders, kept cats or dogs. In their case collections, animal welfare workers counted more than 26,000 affected animals since 2012.The Animal Welfare League called for an overarching central register of animal collectors that can be viewed by veterinary authorities and a pet protection ordinance with clear specifications for breeding and keeping individual animal species. In addition, animal collecting should be recognized as a disease.
Photo by Jametlene Reskp