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Animal Hoarders and House Cleaners

Animal hoarders are people with lots of pets and poor living conditions. Although not always apparent, animal hoarders live in a toxic environment putting house cleaners at risk for infection and disease. 

We Ask a House Cleaner what to do if a maid ends up at an animal hoarders house. Should there be an intervention? 

Angela Brown, The House Cleaning Guru talks animal cruelty, animal rights, and cleaning. If there are excess animals lacking care, they’re starving have fleas, or ticks you need to call help. 

Animals need veterinary care and enough food to survive. A savvy cleaner will help the animal get into an adopt a pet program with neutering, deworming, and vaccination. 

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Hey there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer.

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Question: Animal Hoarders and House Cleaners

Today’s question comes from a house cleaner, who goes to bid a house. When she arrives at the customer’s house, there are loose reptiles all over the house and lose birds. Exotic birds, that are pooping everywhere. They are pooping on the computers, and on the furniture, and on the floor, and in the kitchen. There is bird poop everywhere and the birds are screaming and cackling. The snakes are slithering through the poop, and it’s … Wow. Toxic.Animal Hoarders, baby chicks in laundry room

These people live in the city and their homeowner’s association has some rules. They don’t allow them to have their chickens and ducks outside, so they are inside. There are four ducks and several chickens.

Chickens and ducks inside their house, with exotic birds, and reptiles. Yikes.

The house cleaner wants to know, “What on Earth am I supposed to do, and how am I supposed to clean this house?”

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Answer: Animal Hoarders and House Cleaners

Animal Hoarders, snakeThis is a great question. The answer is simple, you don’t. Because when you go into a house that has this much bird poop all over the house, you are walking into a toxic environment. 

Are There Really Animal Hoarders?

Animal Hoarders, bird poop in house

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, animal hoarding is real. And yes, as a house cleaner, you can recognize it.

You’re dealing with feces and vomit and fleas and ticks and all kinds of stuff brought in from outside. Yuck.

You also have snakes that are slithering through it all. They are spreading it throughout the house. Double yuck. 

As gross as a situation as that is, yes, it is animal hoarding. All right, so how do you tell if you’re dealing with animal hoarders?

How Many Animals Do You Have? 

Animal Hoarders, lots of cats

Animal hoarding is when you go to someone’s house and you ask them, “How many animals do you have?” And they cannot give you an honest answer.

They don’t know. The animals keep breeding. You’ve heard of the cat lady or the dog lady? Their animals keep breeding and they just don’t know how animals they have.

What is the Condition of the Animals? 

Are they healthy animals? Or are these emaciated animals that are hungry and suffering? Because if they are not getting the proper care and food, they will be starving. This is animal cruelty.

Animal Hoarders need to take parrot to vetThe next thing you need to find out is; are their shots current? Are these animals vaccinated? Are they neutered or spayed? Have they had a shampoo that removes fleas and ticks and stuff like that, that they pick up from outside? Have they been de-wormed, if they’re dogs or cats?

If the customers cannot answer these questions, they might be animal hoarders.

Who Else Lives in the House? 

Animal Hoarders toxic environment makes child sick

The next thing that you need to look at is; are there children and people that live inside this home? Because if there are, they’re living in an environment with all this poop and toxicity. 

There is a good chance of other sicknesses. The people in the house may have allergies. They could have respiratory problems. Or it could be a whole host of things that are occurring as a side effect from having extra animals inside the house.

Is There Enough Food for Everyone?

Not enough food in kitchen of animal hoarders

Where’s the money coming from that’s feeding these animals? Is there enough food to go around? 

Believe it or not, animals are expensive to feed. It seems like they are so tiny and cute when we find them and rescue them. After a while, they get to be bigger and they demand more food to survive. You bring in a little tiny dog and the next thing you know, he’s 75 pounds.

Growing animals need a lot of food. If they are not getting enough food or the appropriate food, there might be a problem. 

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What Do You Do If I Suspect Animal Hoarders?

Animal Hoarders Have Skinny Dog

You can call your local law enforcement officer. They have a whole entire department that’s in charge of the humane area of animals and animal cruelty. They can send somebody out to check on the property.

You can also call social services. If social services come out, they will check on the people that live in the house. They will make sure the living conditions for the people are up to par. They will also check on the animals. If they must remove them from the house, they will make that decision, as well.

Social Service workers can recognize things that perhaps a house cleaner cannot. Get someone else involved. 

Do They Think They Are Rescuing the Animals?

Animal shelter hosts adoption for animal hoarders

Another thing that you need to look at is a lot of animal hoarders think they are rescuing these animals. 

These people think they are doing a service to the animals and they can take better care of them than anyone else. They see animal shelters as the enemy and might say “Oh if you take my animal to a shelter they’ll kill it, and I’ll never see it again.” They become attached to these animals. 

But the reality is, animal shelters are there to take care of rescue animals. They can help find adoptive families for some of these pets who can give them better care.

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What Causes Animal Hoarders?

Why would someone do this? A lot of times, it’s because there’s a social situation that’s gone on. Maybe there was a traumatic situation in this person’s life. Maybe they took on these animals to feel loved or needed or to give love. As they’ve taken on more animals, they push themselves further away from society. So now we have people who are not well adjusted to the social circumstances of the society we live in. 

As a result, we need to check in with those people on a regular basis. We need to make sure the people themselves are okay, and then make sure that the animals are okay.

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What Can We Do?

Stop animal abuse sign for animal hoarders

In the spirit of giving and caring, we need to look out for people that are animal hoarders. This is a sensitive subject. It ranges in all ethnicities, ages, and socio-economic levels. It is a huge concern.

This is a real problem and you need to report it if you observe this. I am not trying to get anyone’s animals taken away, but I do want to be aware and sensitive and do the right thing. 

Until the proper authorities intervene, it is not a good idea to go in and start cleaning that area. You would be putting your house cleaners and your team at risk.

I hope that sheds a little bit of light. I know it’s a sensitive subject. It’s an awful situation to find people and animals in. But if you suspect animal hoarders, please report it and please get some help. Just in the name of protecting people and animals. It’s a kindness we need to do for our fellow man.

All right, so that’s it for today, and until we meet again, leave the world a cleaner place then when you found it.

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About the Show

Learn how the show came to be, interesting facts about the show host, and other frequently asked questions about the show.

Resources For This Episode

ASPCA / American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals – https://www.aspca.org/

The Humane Society of the United States – www.humanesociety.org/

Animal Humane Society – https://www.animalhumanesociety.org/

Covered in Pet Fur: How to Start an Animal Rescue, The Right Way – http://amzn.to/2xy7L5e

Publicity to the Rescue: How to Get More Attention for Your Animal Shelter, Humane Society or Rescue Group to Raise Awareness, Increase Donations, Recruit Volunteers, and Boost Adoptions – http://amzn.to/2gtdEuD

The Animal Shelter Helper Marketing PlayBook – http://amzn.to/2gtXNMk

Funds to the Rescue: 101 Fundraising Ideas for Humane and Animal Rescue Groups – http://amzn.to/2gbvoO2

Training the Best Dog Ever: A 5-Week Program Using the Power of Positive Reinforcement – http://amzn.to/2xy1Soj

The Art of Raising a Puppy  – http://amzn.to/2yfyCXe

Compassion in Action: My Life Rescuing Abused and Neglected Animals – http://amzn.to/2kEeKbn

Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation & The No Kill Revolution in America – http://amzn.to/2zeaym0

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