What is animal hoarding?

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Animal hoarding is a complicated psychological condition where an individual has more animals than they are capable of caring for, are unable to provide minimum standards of care and believe they are the only person capable of properly caring for the animals.

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Animal hoarders believe they are the only person capable of properly caring for the animals – image by floridatoday.com

It is important to remember that the hoarder truly believes s/he is rescuing the animals and that without his/her care they would be neglected, abused or dead. The animals provide a source of unconditional love to the hoarder, therefore strengthening the bond between them and reinforcing the irrational belief that they are the only person experienced enough to care for those animals.

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Animal hoarders believe that they are rescuing animals – image by cleveland.com

Due to the sheer number of animals, the hoarder is eventually unable to provide proper veterinary care, shelter, nutrition and sanitation on their own or with the help of their friends and family.

Yet they often still refuse help from others and eventually local animal control becomes involved.

Unfortunately, removing the animals from the situation does not stop the cycle of hoarding. The animals are a symptom of the problem. If the hoarder is not provided with psychological and behavioral support, they are highly likely to relapse.

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If there is no support then hoarder could relapse easily – image by thisdishissvegetarian.com

It is very common for a hoarder to relocate after being charged with hoarding. They start accumulating animals again until it is noticed by the public or authorities. And the cycle begins again.

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