Animal Advocates Fear Animal Hoarding Could Increase In Tough Economic Times

Jonesboro, AR (KAIT) -- Dozens of dogs and cats have a new "leash" on life  following a shocking discovery in a Region 8 home.  A couple who loved animals wound up with more than they could handle.  It could be a sign of things to come.  Nearly 50 dogs and 11 cats were confined in one home.

"What they actually ended up doing is keeping them in conditions far worse than they had ever rescued them from," said Northeast Arkansans' For Animal's, Wannda Turner.

Turner says she believes those who were hoarding the animals started out with good intentions.

"They began rescuing a dog here and a dog there.  Then, as they rescued more and more dogs, they had to start compartmentalizing them," said Turner.

Turner says the animals were discovered in the 11--hundred square foot home during the ice storm. Officials say crates full of dogs were stacked in the closets and found in the utility room. Cats were even found inside drawers.

"There's a great psychological need that's filled by people that rescue or save things and take them home," said Turner.

Officials say, nationwide, the number of animal hoarding cases is going up, and with the economy in the sluggish state it's in right now, officials fear it could get worse.

"When the economy is low and you can't have things--sometimes getting things and caring for them is a way to fulfill your own needs," said Turner.

Wannda Turner says rather than pressing charges against people who hoard animals, she says NAFA's focus is getting the animals rescued, and trying to help the owners so that it doesn't happen again.

There are signs to look for if you think someone might be hoarding animals--those signs include:

not letting people inside their home

becoming secretive, or covering windows

new arrivals of animals all of the time.