Experts discuss how 135 animals ended up at Bel Aire home

WICHITA, Kan. 911 calls give new details on a hoarding case in Bel Aire in which more than 130 animals were found inside a home Monday.

Eyewitness News takes a closer look at the problem of hoarding and how it can get to the level of the Bel Aire home. A member of the Sedgwick County Hoarding Coalition says hoarding is a real problem in the community. He says the group was not contacted about the recent case in Bel Aire, but some months, they receive up to a dozen reports of hoarding in the Wichita area.

The 911 calls report concerns about animals at the Bel Aire home, including the sight of several cats being kept in birdcages. Experts say this case of dozens of animals living under one roof is an extreme case of hoarding.

"Someone that hoards animals, that's a very unique situation that takes a collaborative approach," says Marty Toland with the Sedgwick County Hoarding Coalition. "...There's not a lot known about why people hoard. Some people have a variety of disorders: obsessive compulsive disorders, personality disorders, paranoia."

Eyewitness News asked how a person could get to the point of keeping more than 130 animals in their home without anybody knowing.

"Many times, hoarders won't allow anybody to come in, and so that kind of keeps it undiscovered," Toland says.

Toland says the coalition receives hoarding referrals regularly and can offer help. But he says many hoarders aren't ready to let someone in.

"It's a real problem that exists in our communities," he says. "And it's most of the time kept under wraps."

If you know someone who needs help with w hoarding problem, you can fill out a referral form on the Sedgwick County Hoarding Coalition website.