Lubbock Animal Services explains large-scale animal hoarding cases

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LUBBOCK, Texas — Following a seizure of more than 20 dogs near a business in the 500 block of East 34th Street on Wednesday, Lubbock Animal Services (LAS) said Thursday that it receives three to four calls a year regarding large-scale animal hoarding cases.

The director of LAS, Steven Greene, said throughout his time working at the shelter, he has received several calls regarding the property in East Lubbock.

The shelter did not find any deceased animals at that location. Greene noted the investigation is ongoing.

A city ordinance limits Lubbock residents to four adult dogs and four adult cats per household. One litter of each under four months of age is also allowed, but having a lot of pets can be problematic, Greene said.

“If you have 20 or 30 cats or dogs in a home, there’s no way to keep that home [sanitary],” he said, adding, “the sights and odors are horrible when you walk into a hoarder home.”

Cat urine contains ammonia, which can cause respiratory illnesses in humans and animals, Greene said.

He explained that people often have good intentions when they bring new animals into their homes. But when animals are not fixed, they could inbreed with each other.

“We’ve had situations where somebody has been [problematic] for a long time. Maybe they have four or five, six [or] seven dogs. We’ll get them back down to four,” he stated.

However, this is a cycle that repeats every few years for certain people.

The cycle of maintaining animals that are not spayed or neutered can quickly grow into an unmanageable amount, LAS said. Kittens, for example, can start breeding as young as four months old, so the longer they remain in large groups, the more likely they are to multiply.

Another problem LAS sees with hoarding cases is animals fighting for dominance and resources.

“Even if there’s a small food source, they’ll fight the others off the food. They get stronger and bigger, while others get weaker and more malnourished,” LAS explained.

LAS encouraged residents to take initiative in keeping the Lubbock community healthy and safe.

“If you notice animals around Lubbock that may be abandoned or neglected, get a hold of LAS, and they will investigate it,” Greene said.

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