Obsessive collectors are blind to pets' pain
"...Animal hoarding does not appear in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association, said Patronek, the vice-president of the Animal Rescue League of Boston and former director of the Centre for Animals and Public Policy at Tufts University.
But Patronek has studied the issue of animal hoarding for more than a decade.
"Hoarding behaviour of any kind is not well understood," he said, "and when it involves living creatures it adds a whole other dimension. There are indications that it may involve obsessive-compulsive disorder, brain disorders and brain deterioration. It seems to be a final common pathway for a variety of disorders."
He likened it to an addiction similar to alcoholism where a hoarder may not realize they are committing a wrong.
"It absolutely is animal abuse, but those committing the abuse think they are providing the animals with adequate care."
Hoarding may be a symptom of something that is going on in the hoarder's life.
"It's important not to confuse the problem with the solution, which is what hoarders do," said Patronek..." More