You know when animal control officers need to wear contamination suits to enter a home to remove animals it is going to be bad. Last night in Virginia Beach, VA several media outlets reported police and firefighters were in the process of removing 50 rabbits from a home. There had been a report of a foul smell coming from the house and when officers arrived they found the home overrun by rabbits. Animal control officials stated that "Most of the rabbits do appear healthy." However, some of the rabbits were "obviously sick" and two had died. The woman who owned the home was contacted at her work and gave permission for all the rabbits to be removed. The house itself is now being assessed and could be condemned. It's hard to imagine the living conditions animals like these rabbits endure in hoarding cases.
Animal hoarding causes suffering for both animals and humans. Plus, local animal shelters take on the burden and many times resources are needed regionally if a lot of animals involved. The rabbits in Virginia Beach are receiving care and medical exams now. I hope the hoarder receives treatment for this mental health disorder because animal hoarders have a high risk for becoming repeat offenders. One of the best resources for current information on animal hoarding is Tufts University Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium.
UPDATE: The total number of rabbits is now 90. A 60 year old woman has been charged with three counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty and two counts of improper disposal of a dead animal.