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Animal Hoarding


Animal hoarding is a devastating plight not only for the animal but also the hoarder. Gary Patronek, director of the Center for Animals and Public Policy at Tufts University, defines hoarding as the “pathological human behavior that involves a compulsive need to obtain and control animals, coupled with a failure to recognize their suffering.”

“Being kept by a hoarder is a slow kind of death for an animal.” D. Randall Lockwood, ASPCA Senior Vice President

The hoarder is not an abuser, but they do not realize that they are harming the animals. They don’t view their behavior as doing anything wrong. A person afflicted with this syndrome believes that they are helping the animals by providing them with a home and a environment filled with love. They are totally unaware that they have too many animals and are allowing the animals to live in poor or dangerous conditions. It’s more common than you think. In fact, nearly a quarter-million animals fall victim to animal hoarding each year.

Animal Planet’s Confessions: Animal Hoarding is quite eye opening. You can watch previous episodes and perhaps get a better understand of the syndrome and how it affects the lives of those who suffer with this condition. We have sympathy for those suffering, but have more sympathy for the animals that are unable to protect themselves.

Hoarding is very difficult to prevent, but it can be stopped. There is a need for public education and for everyone to know how to recognize the basic signs of hoarding. If you suspect someone of hoarding animal, do your part and report the abuse.

The ASPCA’s criteria to define animal hoarding is:

  • More than the typical number of companion animals
  • Inability to provide even minimal standards of nutrition, sanitation, shelter and veterinary care, with this neglect often resulting in starvation, illness and death
  • Denial of the inability to provide this minimum care and the impact of that failure on the animals, the household and human occupants of the dwelling

Animal Legal Defense Fund’s First Strike and You’re Out: A Model Law is a proposal for mandatory bans on contact with animals following a conviction for animal neglect or cruelty. You can help by signing the petition and find out how you can help to keep offenders away from potential new animal victims. As of this writing, North Carolina is the only state we found that has a unique law that allows any person or organization to sue an animal abuser.

Psychiatric Times has an in depth article People Who Hoard Animals that will help you to understand and recognize the syndrome. You will need to set up an account (free) to sign in, but the information is well worth your time to read. Simply enter the article title in search.

We all need to do our part to educated and help to ensure the safety of animals. United we can make a difference!


About Author

Devoted pet owner and now, devoted pet editor, Judi worked in traditional offices, keeping the books and the day-to-day operations organized. Taking her dog to work every day for over a decade never seemed odd. Neither did having an office cat. She knows what it's like to train a new puppy and she's experienced the heartache of losing beloved companions. Retired, she currently lives with her spoiled dog and four chickens (who are, interestingly enough, also spoiled).


  1. I’m an animal lover and this issue is really an attention grabbing. We should know how to take care animal and love them just like human.

  2. I have seen this.. I am retired from a small town Police dept. in NH. It is so sad to see the animals, cats turn wild, one house had to be torn down it was not livable.
    If someone sees issues of this they should call the animal control, they will be doing the animals and the owner a favor.

  3. Great article on a sensitive subject. Trying to house too many animals can only be harmful for the animals you are trying to care for. We all have our limits and can only spread ourselves so far, so keep it manageable and pets and owners will live happy, fulfilled lives!

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This post contains affiliate links, which means we earn a commission for sales referred from links on our site. We're also Amazon Associates, so we may earn from those qualifying purchases, too. Learn more!