Animal Hoarding

Animal Hoarding is defined by the presence of large numbers of animals kept in homes and as having the following four main characteristics:

Failure to provide minimal standards of sanitation, space, nutrition, and veterinary care for animals

  • Inability to recognize the effects of this failure on the welfare of the animals, human members of the household, and the environment
  • Obsessive attempts to accumulate or maintain a collection of animals in the face of progressively deteriorating conditions
  • Denial of minimization of problems and living conditions for people and animals

Source: Patronek 1999; Patronek, Loar, & Nathanson, 2006, page 1

Lots of dog in a kitchen

Lots of cats in a room

  • They see themself as a rescuer of these animals
  • Just went through a traumatic life event
  • Strong emotional attachment to animals
  • Get in contact with someone that can help: Local animal control office, police department, animal welfare organization, veterinarian, hoarding task force
  • Do not immediately remove animals, could make the situation worse
  • Have the individual seek treatment
  • Fire hazards
  • Toxic gasses can be released from animal feces and urine
  • Poor air quality
  • Exposure to diseases from animals
  • Animals are trapped in unsafe and unsanitary conditions