A hoarder is like an alcoholic. You can take away the the source of their addiction, but without intervention they will find a way to get more.
Six years of covering animal issues for the Inquirer has taught me one thing: removing dog or cats or horses from someone who has too many is rarely, if ever, the end of the problem.
Case in point: Five months after being busted in one of the state's worst cases of animal hoarding, a central Pennsylvania man was found with 30 more dogs.
Thomas Ambrosia tells the Press Enterprise newspaper in Bloomsburg he wasn't cited after Monday's search by state dog-law officers. Instead, Ambrosia says he has 10 days to reduce the number of dogs to 25.
In order to keep more than 25 dogs one must obtain a state kennel license. Ambrosia is now forbidden from holding such a license because he and his brother, Albert, pleaded guilty to animal cruelty after 185 chihuahuas were seized from their home in Benton in July.
Rescuing the 187 dogs took an enormous amount of resources, public and private. The state sent in trailers to pick up the dogs and take them to the Farm Show complex, which has become the de facto emergency animal shelter for cases of this size. Veterinarians provided care, volunteers helped with feeding and walking, while rescue groups from around the region pitched in to find homes for all the dogs.
Most of the dogs found Monday were elderly female chihuahuas. Thomas Ambrosia says the dogs are well cared for. Vets at the scene say while the dogs had minor skin and eye problems, they were not in the worst shape and appeared to have been socialized.
Some wonder, though, if left unchecked how soon before 30 dogs turns into 60 dogs or 120 dogs?
Officials with the state Department of Agriculture, which runs the Dog Law Enforcement Office, have so far declined to comment on the visit.
(Photo: Dog warden removes chihuahua from Ambrosia home in July/WNEP-TV)