The majority of the dogs had never been outside before.
When hoarding cases occur, the stories of these horrible situations often come from somewhere in the middle of America, where the distance between houses is much larger than that of California houses. In this case, however, it occurred in a city called El Cajon, one of those making up the County of San Diego.
After a concerned neighbor called to request a welfare check on the animals at the home, police responded to the house and discovered “the worst hoarding situation” they’ve ever encountered. What they found were 78 dogs living in rooms coated in feces and urine, two of which were puppies that had just been born hours before the cops arrived.
The smell of urine was so pungent that officers were only able to step into the house for seconds at a time before rushing back out. After the house was examined, the officers eventually condemned the home.
The homeowner granted a special animal control team permission to enter their house in order to seize all of the dogs. Chief Stephen MacKinnon from the San Diego Humane Society spoke with the resident and commented on the situation.
“He had some life incidents that impacted him and it just got out of control,” MacKinnon said of the resident. “He said he was fearful about bringing this kind of situation forward.”
The majority of the dogs were smaller breeds, including Chihuahua and Dachshund mixes, and most of them were fearful because of their lack of socialization. Many of them appeared to have never been outside before in their entire lives.
One neighbor, Kathleen Garza, said that nearby residents had their suspicions about the interior conditions of the house but did not know that it had reached such proportions. When the resident’s father died several years ago, the resident suffered emotionally and the two already had 10 dogs at the father’s time of death. Since then, the dogs have multiplied without the neighbors understanding just how bad it had gotten.
Animal hoarding is a very serious problem because it not only reflects a person’s faltering mental health, but strongly harms the lives of the resident animals. Homes often turn out covered in excrement, such as this one, which is terrible for the health of all residents. The residents typically cannot care for all of the animals and proper nutrition and medical care fall by the wayside.
In this case, the dogs suffered from skin or respiratory conditions, but none of them seemed to have been abused. It’s evident that the resident truly loved the animals but didn’t know how much they were hurting the animals by possessing so many.
“We work very closely with the mental health community and other social services because we recognize not only do the animals need help, but, very often, the people need help as well,” MacKinnon said.
The animals will likely be put up for adoption in the near future so that they can get a fresh start in new homes.
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