Some people may find this post too upsetting to read. However, after viewing this situation I felt a strong urge to write about it today.
Last night, we watched an episode of Hoarders. The woman featured was your traditional hoarder of junk, clutter, food, garbage and clothing. However, she also hoarded farm animals including chickens! Watching the show was upsetting to say the least. The woman was older. She has 16 children that were taken away by the state due to her abusiveness. She says her hoarding tendencies began when the children were taken away in 1983.
Living on four and a half acres of land, over time she accumlated stuff and animals. With her regular house filled to the brim, she bought a single wide trailer. She filled her single wide trailer with storage bins filled with chickens and traditional collections of hoarders.
I felt terrible for those poor birds. The storage bins had about ten birds per bin. She never cleaned them, so each had about a foot and a half of chicken feces in them. Upon closer examination, some birds were even found dead in the bins with the live birds. Outside, she had similar poor living conditions for ducks, turkeys, and goats. Unbelieveably, they showed her hitting one of her goats during one of her fits.
Over the course of the program, a few specialists were brought in for assistance. They included a psychologist, a professional organizer and in this case animal rescue agents. Over the course of the hour, I heard the psychologist say that this woman lacked the capacity to understand the seriousness of her situation and also the needs of her animals. I watched as this incredibly disfunctional family threw fists at one another. In the end, not much was accomplished. All the chickens were let loose on the property. The house and trailer were barely cleaned and about 5 ailing animals were removed from the property.
As I was falling asleep last night, I could not help but feel like the situation was not dealt with properly. As far as I could conclude, this woman is still living in her uninhabitable single wide trailer with no heat and is still responsible for a large menagerie of animals. As healthcare professionals, the individuals leading the intervention, including the psychologist, should have called the proper authorities. She was under a legal obligation to not only notify Adult Protective Services but also the local Animal Rescue agency. I was disappointed that this incompetent woman was abandoned by those that exposed the situation. However, I mostly felt bad about those helpless animals. Maybe I should write the show.