Organizations such as PETA and The Humane Society of the United States believe that the trap neuter and release programs for feral cats are not beneficial when their caregivers do not feed them or tend to their medical needs. A recent NY Times article “The Pathological Altruist Gives Till Someone Hurts”, supports this view.
The “someone” refers to a feral animal escaping the possibility of being euthanized in a pound. Hoarders think they are rescuing these animals, but they are unable to see that they are causing more harm than good. Their desire to save feral animals from death ironically leads to having more animals than they are able to care for which results in their death. Walk into a hoarder’s home and “you can’t breathe” and “there are dead and dying animals present.” This becomes a safety issue to the animals, those that live in the home, and the humane officers who come to rescue them. This is selflessness gone awry.
A debate then arises: Is hoarding an illness or a crime? It is both in that it is animal cruelty in the sense that animals die and an illness in that the hoarders build a sense of self off of their cruelty; it is a symptom of a disease. As a result of the mental illness animals suffer and die.
A further problem that may arise is that among those who are willing to participate in the trap neuter and release programs are these hoarders, which in fact is more detrimental than beneficial to these animals and in turn defeats the purpose this program was designed for: An alternative remedy from euthanizing to reduce the feral cat population. Hoarding in effect leads to reducing the feral cat population, but in an inhumane manner. This runs counter to the motives behind the trap neuter and release programs.