Friday, June 26, 2009

Animal hoarders 'hide their obsession,' psychologist says

Dr. Phil Heller, a Florida-based clinical and forensic psychologist who specializes in obsessive-compulsive disorder, said hoarders see the world differently. 

"A hoarder will collect things to fulfill an obsession that is overwhelming them with anxiety," he said. "An animal is viewed as an object, and the rational thinking that it takes to consider the costs and time included in caring for the animal is absent in a hoarder's mind.

"If a hoarder feels an anxiety or panic attack coming on, they may seek another animal for immediate comfort, thus repeating the cycle until ultimately they may accumulate so many that they are overrun," he said.

Heller said most people don't understand how a hoarder could allow pets to suffer from overcrowding to the point they're starving and sick..."