Animal hoarding is defined by an inability to provide even minimal standards of nutrition, sanitation, shelter and veterinary care—often resulting in animal starvation, illness and death. Not everyone who has multiple animals is an animal hoarder. There are several signs that may indicate someone is an animal hoarder:
- They have numerous animals and may not know the total number of animals in their care.
- Their home is deteriorated (i.e., dirty windows, broken furniture, holes in the wall and floor, extreme clutter).
- There is a strong smell of ammonia, and floors may be covered with dried feces, urine, vomit, etc.
- Animals are emaciated, lethargic and not well-socialized.
- Fleas and vermin are present.
- The individual is isolated from the community and appears to neglect him- or herself.
- The individual insists that all of their animals are happy and healthy—even when there are clear signs of distress and illness.