Featured on Episode 5
Animal hoarding is a compulsive need to collect and own animals.
The Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium outlines four pieces of criteria for someone who engages in this type of behaviour:
Abnormally high number of companion animals.
Fails to provide minimal standards of food, shelter, vet care and cleanliness.
Unable to see they're incapable of providing the minimum care and the impact of that failure has on the animals, the household as well as the human(s).
Gets more animals despite being unable to take care for the existing pets.
The internationally-recognized manual for identifying mental health conditions, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) listed hoarding as a subtype of obsessive-compulsive disorder (or OCD) for many years.
But there are some big differences between OCD and hoarding:
- People with OCD collect objects but then can forget about them, even ignore them.
- Medications generally effective for treating OCD don’t seem to really work for people with a hoarding disorder.
So in 2013, the DSM’s governing body reclassified hoarding as its own thing, with animal hoarding being a subtype.
Then, just last year, a study was released, suggests the animal hoarding is different enough from all other kinds of hoarding that it needs its very own classification of mental disorder.
© Rabbit hoarding image by Stefan Körner