How to handle living next door to an animal hoarder -


How to handle living next door to an animal hoarder

Videos posted on YouTube reveal the seriousness of animal hoarding nationwide. One video shows 40 dogs that were confiscated from a hoarder, while another shows dozens of half-starved cats crying out for food.

But animals aren't the only victims of a hoarder's psychological disorder. The people who live next to or near the hoarder are impacted too.

Miguel and Sylvia Rubalcava say that for three years their neighbor has been keeping 50 to 75 stray cats on his property.

Sylvia says, "He doesn't pick up the feces so as you walk by his house you could smell. It smells really bad."

"The problem is the neighbors' yards, including mine, become their yard…you find feces all over your porch on the sidewalk or walkway, side of the car and you hear them thumping on the roof, falling over to the carport, having cat fights," explains Sylvia. 

Attorney Scott Fisher says a hoarder's animals can be more than a neighborhood nuisance. They can also lower property values and even create a health risk for the people and pets living near them.

Fisher says, "They can spread numerous specific diseases such as rabies, distemper, feline leukemia, are related diseases. They can breed, cause flees and rats to breed as well by the droppings that they leave on neighbors' property."

Miguel Rubalcava says that on several occasions, he and other neighbors have asked the man to take more responsibility for the cats.

"He wasn't cooperative with our suggestions in terms of the cats, in terms of wanting to find shelters, organizations that could help his cats," says Miguel. 

The Rubalcavas say they've called authorities several times, but the problem still exists.

Fisher says, "Sometimes it takes quite a bit of communication with these agencies because they're overwhelmed with similar calls."

Some neighbors have begun trapping the animals. Attorney Fisher says a method called "trap, neuter and release," is a humane way to manage a feral cat colony, like the one in the Rubalcavas' neighborhood.

"It involves the person to trap these animals, bring these animals into the local animal control office for spaying or neutering and then the animal is then released so that population control can limit future breeding of these cats," explains Fisher.

Fisher says you can help keep feral animals off your property by installing motion-activated sprinklers and growing plants like lavender and citronella that can repel cats. It is always best to get city authorities involved, such as animal control, when dealing with a difficult animal owner.

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