Saturday, September 4, 2010

Animal Hoarding Often A Sign Of Mental Illness

by Alan Gionet

One after another, the cages containing cats were off-loaded from a truck at the Denver Dumb Friends League. More than 80.

As of Thursday morning, 19 had been adopted into new homes, a good success rate considering the animals may be sorely in need of human socialization. Those problems are the results of people who may have said they loved animals more than anything. It's one of the great contradictions of animal hoarders.

A total of 157 cats were found in a home near Powell, Wyo., last week. That many animals would likely overwhelm local shelters, so they were spread out, some taken to Colorado shelters where there's a relatively high adoption rate. But it hardly solves the problem.

"These are cases that challenge the system almost at every level," said associate professor Philip Tedeschi of the Insitutute for Human - Animal Connection at D.U.'s Graduate School of Social Work.

Tedeschi has been looking at what triggers collecting or hoarding of animals. Often, it involves mental illness.

"From the animal welfare standpoint collectors, or hoarders are very serious animal abusers," said Tedeschi. "The causes are not criminal in nature."

Which makes it tough for our justice system -- designed to protect people, not animals -- to make the right moves to stop hoarding. .."
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