Here are some addtional websites that address hoarding:
What is a Hoarder?
Animal hoarding is keeping a higher-than-usual number of animals as domestic pets without having the ability to properly house or care for them, while at the same time denying this inability. Compulsive hoarding can be characterized as a symptom of mental disorder rather than deliberate cruelty towards animals.
- Animal hoarding: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Animal hoarding is considered a sub-category of hoarding in general. Sometimes animal hoarders will also hoard other items, not just animals.
Its a mental illness whereby the hoarder has a phychological blindness and inability to see the reality of what they are doing and how they and the animals are actually living. In most cases, hoarders do not actually intend to be cruel, although the condition of the animals they have is often worse and on a larger scale than those animals deliberately hurt by intentional animal abusers.
So its a difficult situation to remedy. Many of you have likely viewed the Animal Planet TV show "Hoarders" and observed how challenging it is to get the hoarder to even acknowledge their problem and agree to give up their hoarded items.
In the case of animal hoarders, even though (unfortunately) animals are deemed "property", the authorities DO have the ability to enter the premises and confiscate the animals due to unsanitary conditions, toxic environment, potential disease, fire hazard, etc.
One of the key problems is initially discovering a hoarding situation. Hoarders typically do not welcome visitors into their homes, so unless someone sees, smells or hears something to suggest the situation, it can go on for a long period of time. If you suspect animal hoarding, report it - your phone call could save animals!
TYPES OF HOARDERS
Some animal hoarders deny that they are hoarders. They maintain a state of denial because they emphasize to themselves and to others that they acquire a high and unmanageable number of animals because they love animals and the animals need their love. Often, they confuse good intentions with their actions.
There are three key indicators that define someone as an animal hoarder:
1. The person has more than the typical number of animals in the home.
2. The person has an inability to provide even the minimum standard of care related to diet, cleanliness, shelter and veterinary care.
3. The person is in a state of denial regarding his/her inability to provide this minimum care and denies the impact this has on the animals and other people that live in the home.
Hoarders can be all ages, from several socio-economic backgrounds, and are both male and female.
Animal hoarders often fall into one of the following three categories but can sometimes exhibit characteristics across categories:
The Overwhelmed Caregiver: The overwhelmed caregiver initially provides adequate care for the animals and believes that while a problem has slowly developed, it's not as serious as others think it is. The overwhelmed caregiver may be socially isolated but is willing to accept intervention.
The Rescuer Hoarder: The rescuer hoarder develops a compulsion based on a strong desire to rescue animals from possibly deadly situations. He/she actively acquires animals and believes no one else is capable of caring for them. Often working with a network of enablers, the rescuer hoarder gains proximity to the animals and finds it difficult to refuse taking in any new animals.
The Exploiter Hoarder: The exploiter hoarder takes in animals to serve his/her own needs and is indifferent to any harm caused to the animals. Typically denying a problem exists, this type of hoarder rejects authority figures or any outside help and has a strong need to be in control while expressed very little remorse or guilt. The exploiter hoarder may continue to acquire animals over time.
How You Can Help
Not everyone who has multiple animals is an animal hoarder. However, if you think someone you know is struggling with animal hoarding, here are some ways you can help:
Call your local humane law enforcement department, police department, animal welfare organization or veterinarian to initiate the process. A phone call may be the first step to getting hoarders and the animals the help they need.
Contact social service groups. Your local department of the aging, adult protective services, health departments and other mental health agencies may be able to provide services or links to services.
Reassure the animal hoarder that it's okay to accept help. Animal hoarders are usually worried that their animals will be killed or that they will never see them again. Regardless of the outcome, assure them that the animals need urgent care and that immediate action is necessary.
Volunteer your time. With the removal of so many animals from a hoarding situation, the burden on local shelters can be staggering. Volunteer your time to help clean cages, socialize animals, walk dogs and perform other such necessary duties.
Keep in touch. It may be appropriate for animals to be spayed and neutered and returned to their home if an animal hoarder can provide—or can be aided in providing—care. Under the guidance of an organization, help the individual with daily animal care chores. And if the individual acquires new animals, help ensure that they are spayed/neutered and vaccinated.