Saturday, March 12, 2011

Inside the Mind of an Animal Hoarder

Chad Silber

Television shows dedicated to uncovering hoarders are painting a clearer image of animal hoarding.

Normally dogs are removed from puppy mills in cages, but sometimes, it's from a rescue where the animals need rescuing. Many times, rescue owners get carried away and end up hoarding animals, creating unhealthy conditions.

Randall Lockwood, Senior VP of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or ASPCA, says, "Most animal hoarders do see themselves as being rescuers, as being the only people who can provide for the needs of the animals."

But rather than helping the animals, they're only hurting them.

Dr. Michael Rice, UNMC Mental Health Specialist, says, "Where it becomes a problem, clinically we would define as one begins to affect their health, their safety, the health and safety of other individuals."

Rice studies behaviors related to hoarding. He separates hoarders into three groups: The delusional, who have odd belief systems and are convinced they hoard for a specific reason; the obsessive compulsive, who collect things even though they know it's irrational but are unable to stop; and the attachment group, who believe they can relate better to animals than they can to humans.

Rice says, "They will tell you they relate to the animals. Each of the animals has a personality. They attribute human features to the animals far more than most people do."

The ASPCA says the people who are around hoarders, tend to make it worse..." More & video

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