Thursday, July 16, 2009

Animal Hoarding Syndrome

By: Jennifer Wagner

Animal hoarding syndrome is a true psychiatric disorder, in which a person collects more animals than they can properly care for. When someone suffers from Animal hoarding syndrome, they will take in so many animals that their home will become filled with waste, the animals may die, the humans in the home and the surviving animals. Sadly, an estimated 250,000 animals become victims of animal hoarding each year.

Animal hoarding syndrome is NOT the same as animal abuse. The distinction lies in that someone suffering from Animal hoarding syndrome does not realize that they are harming the animals, or that they are doing anything wrong. When afflicted with this syndrome, a person will believe that they are helping the animals, providing them with a home and a loving environment. They are simply not aware that they have taken in too many animals, or that the animals are living in poor or dangerous conditions.Some of the characteristics of someone suffering with Animal hoarding syndrome (as given by Animal may include:

- A previous history of collecting inanimate objects to excess.
- A history of obsessive-compulsive behavior.
- A need to have more animals, even when there are already too many in the home.
- Refusal to part with any of the animals, even if it means placing them in a loving adoptive home.
- Refusal to see or understand the poor condition of the home. (I.e., animal waste in the home, destruction of property, etc.).
- Not seeking treatment for sick or dying animals. (Typically this is because they are in denial over the seriousness of the situation).

To be clear, we are not speaking of living with four or five pets, or even ten or twelve. Someone that hoards animals will have a house filled with pets. The pets take over every square inch of the home. The animals urinate in the home, defecate on countertops, destroy property, and crawl into corners and die. It is far beyond what normal individuals could live with, and is what psychologically healthy people understand as being neglectful..."

Oddly, someone that is suffering from Animal hoarding disorder is not much different than an addict. These people are essentially addicted to collecting animals, and cannot stop themselves from acquiring more animals than they can possibly care for..." More