An Aurora man pleaded guilty in November to animal cruelty after more than 500 birds, a third of them dead, were found in his house. Before that, more than 40 rotting animal carcasses, including 27 cats, were discovered in a van in Elgin. That case is due in court next month. But legal affairs writer Harry Hitzeman discovered animal hoarding is not uncommon. One expert said much of it goes unreported, but there may be as many as 250,000 cases nationwide each year.
Some other interesting facts:
- The recidivism rate of hoarders is between 99 and 100 percent.
- Hoarders tend to be older woman, and the animal of choice is cats.
- Some say hoarding is a mental illness.
- There have been suggestions for a state or national data base to track hoarders, much the same way sex offenders are monitored.
- Experts have created a "spectrum of hoarding," ranging from the more benign "overwhelmed caregiver" to the "exploiter hoarder" who needs to exhibit control.
You can read the full story in the Daily Herald's edition from Sunday, February 22, 2014, or online at dailyherald.com .