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The Baltimore Humane Society reports that a Montgomery County, Md., district court found Judy Cahill guilty of animal neglect and ordered her not to have any animals in her possession for 10 years.

Considering what this woman was charged with doing, it should be asked: Why 10 years rather than for the rest of her life?

Cahill kept hundreds of dogs over a 30-year period. The Humane Society noted:

“Hundreds of animals are often kept by the hoarder, often for years. The animals are kept in appalling conditions, contaminated with fecal matter and urine. This neglect leads to malnutrition, untreated medical conditions including untreated sores, cancers, and advanced dental and eye diseases and sever psychological stress.”

The Animal Legal Defense League reports a quarter of a million animals – that’s 250,000 a year – are victims of animal hoarders.

The League notes that such hoarding is the No. 1 cruelty crisis facing companion animals in communities throughout this nation. Approximately 72 percent of such hoarders are women, and the most frequent victims are cats, followed by dogs.

Animal hoarding is often considered a mental-health problem.

On July 30, a mass burial of the ashes of more than 200 dogs was scheduled at the Baltimore Humane Society’s Nicodemus Memorial Park.

The Humane Society also noted how to spot a hoarder:

  • keeps an abnormally large number of animals;

  • fails to provide minimal nutrition, veterinary care, shelter or sanitation;
  • fails to recognize the devastating impact of this neglect; and
  • can’t stop himself/herself from repeating this behavior.

The Humane Society also advised that if anyone suspects that someone else is an animal hoarder, local police and animal control departments should be contacted so they can begin an investigation.

Social services like the Animal Legal Defense League can be contacted for help when the owner of large numbers of animals appears to be suffering from mental-health issues.

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