Bizarre 'Pet Hoarding' Surges

Many hoarders start as rescuers, experts say
By Emily Rauhala,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 3, 2010 5:04 AM CDT
Updated Sep 3, 2010 5:41 AM CDT
Bizarre 'Pet Hoarding' Surges in US
Riverside County Animal Services officers and employees with some of the seized dogs from the Best Buddies Rescue in Aguanga, California.   (AP Photo/Riverside County Animal Services)

You've heard of hoarding, but did you know it applies to pets, too? Experts say a growing number of Americans are hoarding large numbers of animals that become more and more difficult to take care of as they overwhelm their owners. Tragically, 25% of pet hoarders started out as rescuers running legal and nonprofit clinics, finds AP. Animal care can fast become animal cruelty, experts say, when people take in too many and can't provide the basics.

"The root of it is really nothing to do with animals. It's to do with people's heads and how they work," explained one animal cruelty expert. Dementia, addiction, attachment disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder often play a role. In one case, a Pennsylvania woman known as the "cat saint" took in 7,000 cats in 14 months, turning her home into a "death camp for cats." (Click here to read more about compulsive hoarding.)

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