In an attempt to learn the true reasoning behind animal hoarding, which has been an issue amongst some animal owners for a great many years, veterinarians and animal rights activists have taken their research to a new and heightened level. What has been discovered lives in the realm of the human psyche, and medical definitions for this type of disorder are likened to forms of dementia, obsessive compulsive disorder, and disillusionment. When animal hoarding as a psychological disorder is brought to the court room, it is much more difficult to actually hold an individual responsible for the neglect and cruelty often discovered in such cases. The health and welfare of humans still far outweighs that of any animal species, and as such will leave the suffering of hoarded animals without justice.
Animal hoarding is very different from the blatant abuse or neglect of an animal, as the person involved is genuinely and deeply attached to the many animals that they collect. This usually results in an absolutely filthy and unsanitary home environment for everyone involved, including the person who suffers this disorder. Most hoarded animals are never trained, bathed, or allowed outdoors, and those who are outdoors will be confined to extremely small places. As the disorder and the animal population grow more cumbersome, most hoarded animals will fall ill due to malnourishment. There is seldom enough water or food, or enough energy from the owner, to take care of everyone. The smaller and weaker animals will fall most quickly to animal hoarding, as the home environment becomes a matter of survival of the fittest.
Animal hoarding can be an ugly and disheartening discovery once investigation and capture of the pack is made. In one horrible case, 376 cats were removed from a two bedroom house, 87 of them dead. The emotional attachment and compulsion to keep these creatures lasts far beyond their death, and the owner will need to undergo an immense amount of therapy in order to recover.
There are funded and private programs which will help those diagnosed with animal hoarding to face their illness, reduce the number of pets that they own, and financially help them to care for and properly feed the animals that they are allowed to keep. In extreme cases of animal hoarding, however, such as the one discussed above, the offending party is ordered to care for no pets until an improvement in the mental condition has been accomplished. As with all disorders, relapses and uphill battles are eminent, so all pet transactions must be taken heavily and with great forethought. For the health and safety of both people and animals, local animal welfare workers will be sent to investigate any possibility of such troubles when called.
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