ManxSPCA column: How animal hoarders can be helped

May 15, 2017


As seen on IOM Today


"Have you used the May Day bank holiday to have a good spring clean and general tidy-up?


We can all be forgiven for allowing our houses to get a bit untidy and cluttered, but spare a thought for those people who hoard - not least those who hoard animals - and whose homes become a health hazard.


Animal hoarding is defined as the keeping of a larger than usual number of pets, and the inability to properly care for them, alongside the complete denial that there is an issue.


Hoarding is usually linked to a mental health issue, such as obsessive compulsive disorder, addictive behaviour or dementia, rather than being deliberate cruelty towards animals, and hoarders are usually deeply attached to their pets.


Hoarders generally keep their pets in a domestic environment, although sometimes the individual concerned may class themselves as a ’rescue centre’.


They often believe their knowledge is superior to anyone else’s, and they can display characteristics of antisocial personality disorder.


The ManxSPCA has encountered several cases of animal hoarding over the last few years and it has worked closely with other agencies, such as the Department of Health and Social Care and the Salvation Army, to try to help the individuals concerned and their pets.


The end result has usually been an agreement to remove the majority of the animals (most usually cats) to Ard Jerkyll for neutering and rehoming, leaving a handful of pets with the owner.


Preventing hoarding and all other forms of cruelty to companion animals begins with fighting the overpopulation crisis.

Please ensure that your pets - and those of family, friends - are spayed or neutered.


Overpopulation issues also lead to feral cat problems, and pregnant feral cats and abandoned feral kittens have started to arrive at Ard Jerkyll in the last 10 days.


The kittens’ life chances are good, not least because dedicated staff take them home overnight and bottle-feed them every two hours.


Barry, pictured, was rejected by his terribly thin mother but has fought for life alongside his committed carer, Mike Thompson.


Mike has created a Snapchat site for Barry so that his daily antics can be seen on social media.


We don’t have any kittens ready for rehoming just yet, but if you are interested in adopting a kitten please fill out a home-finder questionnaire (available on the adoption pages of our website or from Ard Jerkyll) and forward it to the cattery team either by post or by e-mail (


Meanwhile over in the kennels the team have been incredibly enthusiastic in their support of Pauline Dolman and her organisation of the first ever TT Dog Walk Challenge that took place on April 30.


More than 30 dogs took part, each walking a mile of the course with their owners, passing on a dog lead as a relay baton.


Roxy, one of our rescue dogs, walked the first mile and thoroughly enjoyed herself.


She came to us as a stray but we have been able to check some records via her microchip and so we know she’s seven years old.


She is a beautifully marked black and white Staffie, who is super friendly and affectionate with everyone she meets.

She generally gets on with other dogs, as she proved on Sunday, and so we are more than happy to introduce her to a potential adopter’s existing dog.


An unbelievable amount of enthusiasm (from both dogs and humans) ensured the TT Dog Walk was a success, and the amount raised of more than £3,500 has exceeded Pauline’s expectations. Well done to everyone who took part.

If you are planning an event to raise funds for the society, no matter how big or small, and you would like some help, please e-mail Kerry on"


To read more about the TT Dog Walk Challenge see this week’s Manx Independent, which is in the shops now.




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