It happens more often than you might think: ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement (HLE) Agents receive a call about a New York City resident who, like thousands of hoarders nationwide, is housing more animals than he can care for adequately. The Agents arrive at the scene to find that, while the situation doesn’t violate the law, it has clear potential to become a cruelty case. They also know that in many cases, criminal charges fail to stop hoarding behavior in the long term.
So what can the ASPCA do in noncriminal cases? How can we help the animals involved? Enter our Cruelty Intervention Advocacy (CIA) program, created to assist HLE Agents with animal hoarding cases and to protect New York City companion animals in danger of abuse or neglect.
“Our goal is to resolve animal hoarding cases in a noncriminal matter where appropriate and address other issues that jeopardize the well-being of the animals,” says Fiona Knight, director of the CIA program. “Taking away [hoarders’] animals is not always an effective solution, and our program fills in the gap by closely monitoring each incident to stop it from spiraling out of control.”
The CIA team works with HLE Agents, social workers and local animal welfare agencies to stem hoarding cases that could become public health concerns. The program provides hoarders with education, financial aid that includes Partners in Caring grants for urgent medical care, and (mandatory) spay/neuter services–and to date it’s helped more than 20 hoarders and nearly 200 animals.
Animals surrendered to the CIA program are often transferred to the ASPCA Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital for treatment and re-homed through our Adoption Center and various shelter partners.
To learn more about this complex issue, please visit the Animal Hoarding page at ASPCA.org.