'Confessions: Animal Hoarding': Animal Planet dredges the bog of human despair
Animal Planet offers their own take on the self-destructive phenomenon with "Confessions: Animal Hoarding," something we're ashamed/relieved is only just now being brought to our attention.
The ways in which this series is disturbing are simply too many to be numbered, but we can start with the solid combo of emotionally disturbed people and grossly mistreated animals.
There's Shelley, the woman whose "family" of 65 cats grows to 84 over the period of a year. She and her husband sleep in the living room, leaving their three bedrooms to the cats: one for water, one for litter boxes and one for food and "kicking back."
Their house looks reasonably clean (given the circumstances), but some crafty panning from the camera reveals that the tops of their cabinets are covered with cat poop. Pay close attention for when the cats move their heads in unison:
Jackie has 25 assorted birds. And while all of the cages should allow for some sort of controlled chaos, her unwillingness to clean them makes it so that no one ever enters her house. (She's just really busy, OK?) This is subtler kind of crazy, given the other clips out there, but it's gem, if only for the inclusion of clinical psychologist Dr. Joti Samra. She treats this intervention like a pageant queen visiting a friend with a new baby.
"I'd love to come in and meet your birds," she chirps (bird pun!), before turning on some serious passive aggression. "Sooooo, what do you do in terms of cleaning up here?" Spoiler alert: not much.
There's a treasure trove of these over at the Animal Planet site, but that more or less brings you up to speed. The next episode, the ominously titled "Too Many Pit Bulls" (Jan. 30), introduces us to Shane. He explains his dog addiction in this casting video, while a member of his family elaborates on his retreat from the human world.
It's sad, because this all started when his dog Lucy died. But it's also horrifying, because there's a little girl jumping around in a pile of neglected dogs -- one of whom will eventually notice that her throat fits perfectly inside its mouth:
Animal Planet -- out of a desire to get us to tune in or a considerate effort to keep us from wasting our entire day -- has not posted full episodes online, so we're not sure if there's any possible happy endings for these stories.
And we'll likely never find out. The three minute clips are disturbing enough. An hour of this might kill us.