Sunday, October 31, 2010

Trash Menagerie: Inside the secret world of animal hoarders

By Lynn Tryba

Animal-rescue workers have seen it all: the ritual storage of pet carcasses in basements and freezers; feces and garbage piled so high that occupants can barely get from room to room.

The homes of animal hoarders - -people who accumulate large numbers of animals and often fail to care for them properly -- reflect a reality seemingly unknown to the public: This eccentric behavior may in fact be a mental illness.

"Animal hoarding is a human problem as much as it is an animal problem," says Gary Patronek, V.M.D., president of the Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium (HARC), a joint venture of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and schools including Harvard Medical School and Tufts University. "Unfortunately, it's been dealt with almost exclusively as an animal problem."..." More

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