How Many is Too Many? When Does Having Too Many Pets Become Hoarding Syndrome?

Tiffany Gallo

Hoarding is a syndrome that has become more publicized in the recent years.  Normally, a hoarder collects inanimate objects and is addicted to the clutter. Compulsive Hoarding is the acquisition of and failure to use or discard such large numbers of seemingly useless possessions that it causes significant clutter and impairment to basic living activities.  Animal Hoarding is a similar, but involves the keeping of higher than usual numbers of pets without having the ability to properly house or care for them properly.  Compulsive hoarding is not a crime, but is rather considered a mental disorder.  Animal hoarding, on the other hand, leads to the abuse and neglect of animals. This raises the question: when does having too many pets become a syndrome?  One thing to note about animal hoarders is that they often do not realize that they are neglecting their animals.  More often than not, animal hoarders are genuinely attached to their pets and are under the impression that they can and do care for them properly.  This false sense of providing care has lead investigators to situations where hundreds of animals in various stages of neglect, were found both dead and alive. Often times, hoarders are so connected to these animals that they cannot face the idea of euthanization or even their deaths, and end up keeping dead carcasses in their homes.

Due to the publicity of animal hoarding cases, many resources have been published to help identify signs of animal hoarding and even how to help prevent animal hoarding situations. The Hoarding and Animals Research Consortium was established in 1997 at Tufts University, to research animal hoarding and has website filled with resources regarding the syndrome, animal welfare and intervention strategies.  The important thing to remember is that while animal hoarding is a serious psychological disease it is also a violation of current anti-cruelty laws.  When the line is crossed between animal lovers to animal hoarders it must be reported.  Animal hoarding goes to show that sometimes there really can be one too many pets in your life.

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4 Responses

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Animal Blawg, Caryl Forrest. Caryl Forrest said: RT @animalblawg: #animalrights How Many is Too Many? When Does Having Too Many Pets Become Hoarding Syndrome? http://bit.ly/85GFfb [...]

  2. Animal hoarding often reaches the Probable Cause threshold for prosecution. Given that the behavior is an emotional disturbance, treatment rather than punitive Santiago is the most appropriate disposition. But first the animals, virtually always cats, must be removed. Unfortunately, given their average number and physical condition, killing them is usually the only rational option.

    I wonder if attention is paid to identifying the udnerlying etiology of this syndrome and shading off its manifestation.

  3. [...] I think rescuing is great as well! I can't stand looking at those poor eyes nehind a fence,just knowing the life they lived brings tears to ym eyes. I agree with the above posts, as long as you have the finances, and the dogs are taken care of and fmaily is on board, who cares what other people think. but have you ever heard of animal hoarding? Animal hoarding – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Animal Hoarding Syndrome – Associated Content – associatedcontent.com How Animal Hoarding Develops How Many is Too Many? When Does Having Too Many Pets Become Hoarding Syndrome? Animal Blawg [...]

  4. I don’t see anything wron with it as long as you can afford them and care for them with lots of love.

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