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LONG-TERM OUTCOMES IN ANIMAL HOARDING CASES

Colin Berry, M.S., Gary Patronek, V.M.D., Ph.D., and Randall Lockwood, Ph.D.


11 Animal L. 167 (2005)
Publish Date:
2005
Place of Publication: Animal Law Review at Lewis & Clark Law School
Printable Version

LONG-TERM OUTCOMES IN ANIMAL HOARDING CASES

Animal hoarding is a form of abuse that affects thousands of animals each year, yet little is known about how cases are best resolved, the effectiveness of prosecution, and how sentences relate to the severity of the offense. This lack of information has hampered effective resolution and the prevention of recidivism. This study obtained information about the hoarder, animals, charges, prosecution, sentencing, and recidivism for fifty-six cases identified through media reports. The results showed a disparity between the ways different jurisdictions handled hoarding cases, as well as a lack of communication between agencies. Cases generally lacked follow-up, and it was difficult to determine compliance with court-ordered psychological evaluations and counseling. Additionally, none of the shelters that were ordered to receive restitution has yet received it. Shortcomings in state anti-cruelty statutes contributed to poor outcomes, and current prosecutorial approaches often left officials struggling between the conflicting goals of aggressively prosecuting hoarders and avoiding further institutionalization of the animals. Unfortunately, lenient treatment of hoarders in exchange for immediate custody of the animals appeared to contribute to recidivism. More rapid identification of offenders as hoarders and more creative sentencing involving long-term monitoring could simultaneously speed resolution of cases and avoid extending the suffering of animal victims. (pdf file - 143.60 KB)

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