Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Animal hoarding the dark side to pets

Alister Thomson

DR Tania Signal suspects there are a fair few “crazy cat ladies” out there.

The CQUniversity senior lecturer in psychology looks at the link between the deliberate harm of animals and anti-social behaviour and has just released research into animal hoarders.

She presented her research, commissioned by the Department of Biosecurity, at the CQUniversity showcase last week.

While animal hoarding had received attention within psychology, the causes of it were relatively unknown, she said.

She defined hoarders as having a compulsive need to “obtain and control animals, coupled with a failure to recognise their suffering”.

Often this was manifested in a filthy living environment with a powerful stench emanating from numerous cages filled with dogs and cats.

Dr Signal gave the example of a house in Mt Morgan where the authorities found 87 dogs, 100 cats and a couple of goats inside.

However, most hoarders did not start out with the intention of being cruel to animals.

She says it's an under-recognised problem where it's “very hard to get access to the people doing the hoarding”.

She contends that while animal hoarding is viewed as an “animal welfare problem,” the people doing the hoarding are not getting access to the psychological help they need..." More

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