Indebted hoarder kept 140 animals

A German-born woman with property in Austria and Hungary has been discovered to have around 140 animals, some of them kept in appalling conditions.

Indebted hoarder kept 140 animals
Some of the starving horses in Gänserndorf, just north of Vienna. Photo: APA (Animal Spirit)

The animal protection society Animal Spirit and some Swiss animal rights activists discovered that the woman had collected over 90 horses, 30 cats and several dogs at two locations in the district of Gänserndorf in Lower Austria, as well as on a farm in a small Hungarian village near Zalalövö.

In a press release issued on Wednesday, Animal Spirit explained that the German woman was not aware of the poor conditions that many of the animals were kept in. They were exposed to rain and cold, and covered in at least a centimetre of mud and droppings.

Animal Spirit said it is working to convince the woman to give up some of her animals voluntarily so they can receive proper care. Several of the 60 horses at the one-acre farm were described by Animal Spirit's chairman, veterinarian Josek Plank, as being half-starved.  

He said that the woman had been unaware of their situation, and that she was heavily in debt and lacked the financial resources to properly look after them.

On Wednesday morning the group was meeting authorities in the Hungarian village to try to find another location for the animals.  "It's important that the animals get away from there, and get a decent place," Plank said.  

There is a potential health risk for the village neighbourhood if the animals remain in such bad conditions, according to the chairman of the local authority.  They're trying to find a local solution, as an intervention under animal welfare legislation would have taken much longer, according to Plank.

Animal Spirit would welcome donations towards the care of these animals.

A similar case of animal hoarding was discovered in July in Villach in the province of Carinthia.

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