Concerns grow over frequent animal hoards found in Madison County

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MADISON COUNTY, Ind. – One hundred animals were rescued from three homes in just three days.

One home near Chesterfield had 26 animals, including dogs, cats, exotic birds and even ducks. Two homes in Elwood were also raided, one with 39 cats and even a tarantula.

Police made arrests in those cases.

Meanwhile, workers at Anderson’s Animal Protection League were left scrambling, trying to find a place for more than a dozen animals. They’re packed to the brim and still have animals from previous hoarding situations in Madison County.

“This is our sixth hoarding case since March,” said Maleah Stringer, Director of Anderson’s Animal Protection League.

Dogs came in Wednesday from the home near Chesterfield. Many had to be shaved because of matted hair and excessive fleas.

“I don’t think any of these folks who end up in this kind of situation intend to become a hoarder or intend for the animals to get in this condition,” said Stringer.

Stringer’s shelter didn’t get the animals from the suspected Elwood hoards, but she said she couldn’t have handled them anyway because there is no room.

“We’ve got offices that are now used to house animals,” she said.

She said the hoards are overwhelming and consuming resources, but the issues behind them are just as complex, straddling a line on personal right and property rights, as well as ethics and morals, meaning there isn’t a clear fix.

Though she said it’d help if everyone would spay and neuter their pets.

Meanwhile, her staff is left taking care of another group of animals, giving them love they haven’t had and hoping a new set doesn’t come in soon.

“The police department doesn’t have to figure out what to do with these animals. It’s the people in the rescues, the people in the shelters who this is affecting,” she said.

Stringer said the dogs clearly need veterinary care. The best way to help is through a donation to the Animal Protection League in Anderson.

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