When he was on the editorial page, my News-Sentinel colleague Bob Caylor was an early recognizer of a peculiar mental illness resulting in animal hoarding, and he wrote a couple of insightful editorials about it. He might have been able to explain the issue to those so bewildered by this story, which is one of the worst cases I've ever read about:
TUCSON, Ariz. - About 800 small dogs, including Chihuahuas, terriers and Pomeranians, were seized from a triple-wide mobile home whose occupants were overwhelmed trying to care for the animals, authorities said Wednesday.
[. . .]
The elderly owners, who have not been identified, were apparently overwhelmed but have cooperated with authorities, sheriff's Sgt.said. No charges have been filed, but authorities continue to investigate.
As with many mental-illness issues, those involved are too often treated as criminals instead of people who have gone off the rails and need help getting back on track. The hoarders are often elderly and dealing with some form of diminished capacity.