A blog by spcaLA president, Madeline Bernstein

Apr 26, 2014

Are There Bugs in My Bangs?

I have been inside more "hoarding houses" than anyone should ever have to. They are scary, dark, smelly and exude
anguish, sorrow and hostility. Junk is piled from floor to ceiling, and, if animals are also hoarded, covered in poop, pee, puss and puke. Dead animals lie in the debris mixed with live pets that are starving, sick and suffering. A "true" hoarder considers this a loving environment and neither seeks nor accepts intervention willingly. They often attack.

Though the A&E Network series has generated awareness of this phenomenon which spans all socioeconomic classes, it has made the problem "cool". Cat lady action figures, board games, art projects and clothing have all populated the market place and people feel comfortable referring to themselves as 'hoarders" if they have a lot of shoes.

It should not ever be "in" or "hip" to be a hoarder. Ironically, "true" hoarders think they are fine and become insulted at the mention of that word. That is why they never ask for help, volunteer to participate in a study or agree to star in an A&E reality show. If they possessed that level of awareness - they could be helped.

Rather, we find them, usually on the receiving end of a warrant. By the time they see me it's a law enforcement matter and too late to fix - even if they ever acknowledged that they needed to.

So please, let's try to locate these souls when intervention is possible. If you see or smell something, say something. Think before you drop an animal with that nice person down the street instead of driving to a shelter. When you notice unusual infestations, piles of junk and nauseating odors, report it to the authorities. Every living thing in that house needs help

After stepping outside one of these houses to talk to someone - I thought I saw something move in my bangs. Don't send me back inside one of those places. It is not entertainment. It is horrible.

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