According to Matt Davies Harmony Communities, most people have a shocking news story they read or heard about when they come across the term animal hoarding. Most people immediately side with the animals and go on PETA-level crusades. However, the issue is more complicated since animal hoarding is an illness. Let’s dive deeper and discuss issues with animal hoarding.
- Animal hoarding – Animal hoarding is a term that refers to a compulsive need to own and ‘collect’ animals to care for them and it always results in abuse or neglect. While most animal hoarders have good intentions, they are emotionally overwhelmed, alienated from their families, and socially isolated due to the things that their illness makes them do. This illness causes suffering for both animals and animal hoarders.
- Specific problems – Animal hoarders start out with the intention of caring for animals. However, they always underestimate the financial strength, space, organizational skills, attention, and focus they would need to care for so many animals. This contributes to their living spaces becoming cluttered and messy with animal waste everywhere.
Hoarders have a hard time letting go of their animals. They fail to make the simplest decisions that may seem very natural to regular people and often suffer from memory problems and have trouble trusting their recall.
- Abundance of wrongly directed love – Studies of animal hoarders show that their behavior begins as an aftermath of an illness, the death of their significant other, or after disability. They view their animals as a source of love and always emphasize how much they receive and give love to and from those animals.
People who suffer from this condition often refer to animals as their babies and fail to realize the mismatch between their ability to provide a safe, clean and healthy space for the animals and their love for the same. They feel special, loved, and important as they build the notion of caring for these animals and see themselves as rescue services.
- Treatment options – Similar to object hoarding, animal hoarding is an illness and needs to be treated as such. If they are shunned and ostracized by everyone, it leads to very tragic conditions where their living space becomes a biohazard site with animal waste and diseases spreading among the animals they hoarded.
Signs of animal hoarding are very apparent, and you need to be on the lookout if you see those signs in your loved ones, friends, or other people close to you. Animal hoarders have a 100 percent relapse rate and that means taking away the animals wouldn’t solve the problem. Instead, those people need to get the cognitive-behavioral treatment that addresses the underlying issues that lead to animal hoarding
Matt Davies Harmony Communities suggests that you report animal hoarders if you come across one. If you see a friend or family member showing signs of animal hoarding, talk to them and entice them to get treated for their condition. Animal hoarders hurt themselves and the animals they ‘collect’ and it always ends up in nasty results.