Monday, March 14, 2011

Animal Hoarding Beyond 'Cat Ladies'

"...Some animal hoarders think they are doing the humane thing by caring for animals, but it goes far beyond the stereotypical "crazy lady" with five or six cats. A few unspayed and unneutered dogs and cats can quickly mushroom to scores and a hoarder can be overwhelmed.

Randy Frost, co-author of "Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things," calls it a delusional disorder. Animal hoarders "don't have the recognition that this a problem," he told the Fresno Bee. "They let the animals take over the house. They begin to live under the animals' rules. The house gets filthy."

Keeping animals, or humans, in unsanitary conditions smelling of animal urine and feces is not humane and is unhealthy mentally and physically.

It's not a crime until it gets out of control. The mental health community does not consider animal hoarding a mental illness in its psychological disorders handbook, the DSM, and insurance doesn't cover treatment for it, but some researchers think that's wrong.

"There has been a lot of bewilderment even in the mental health community and we continue to feel that this is a work in progress," Jane N. Nathanson, a counselor for animal caregivers and Massachusetts-based expert on hoarders, told WSBT. "There's almost a high, referred to as a caregivers high that one is deriving from this hoard of animals ... since the animals are never truly able to fill that gap in a person's life, there's a sense that, well, maybe more will do it."..." More

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