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Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium


Who is HARC?
HARC was founded in 1997 as an informal group of individuals concerned about human and animal welfare, and interested in exploring the problem of animal hoarding to find more effective and humane solutions for this very problematic and poorly understood behavior. The group collaborated over a 10 year period, until 2006, when we published our community intervention manual. Each of us came from different institutions and brought different professional perspectives - animal welfare and humane law enforcement (Luke, Patronek), Sociology (Arluke), forensic psychiatry (Messner), social work and rehabilitation services (Papazian, Nathanson), veterinary medicine (Patronek), and hoarding psychology and intervention (Frost and Steketee). Dr. Messner is now deceseased, and Carter Luke is now President of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Drs. Frost and Steketee continue as leading researchers in the area of object hoarding at their respective institutions; Dr. Arluke co-authored a book in 2009 examining one very noteworthy case; Jane Nathanson continues to provide counseling and court ordered assessments for animal hoarders and their families. She and Dr. Patronek continue to collaborate, with a book chapter in press in the volume "Pathological Altruism", edited by Barbara Oakley.

HARC does not maintain an office or staff. This website is our primary vehicle for communication. Although various members do become involved in interventions within Massachusetts, our location does not permit us to work around the US, to testify in court cases, or to provide extensive long-distance counseling or advice. We can at times provide referrals to mental health or animal protection groups in other parts of the country who may be in a better postion to become involved in individual cases. Jane Nathanson does provide both long distance counseling and court-ordered assessments through her private counseling practice.


  • Arnold Arluke, PhD; Professor of Sociology, Northeastern University
    [website]

  • Randy Frost, PhD; Professor of Psychology; Smith College, Northampton, MA
    [website]

  • Carter Luke, President/CEO; MA Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Boston, MA
    [website]

  • Jane Nathanson, LCSW, LRC, CRC; Social Work, Rehabilitation Counseling, & Consulting; Boston, MA

  • Edward Messner, MD; Forensic Psychiatry; Mass General Hospital/ Harvard Medical School; Boston, MA [DECEASED 2006]

  • Michelle Papazian, MSW, LICSW; Social Work; Boston, MA

  • Gary Patronek, VMD, PhD; Veterinary Medicine / Epidemiology; Vice President for Animal Welfare, Animal Rescue League of Boston & Clinical Assistant Professor, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, North Grafton, MA;
    [website]

  • Gail Steketee, PhD; Dean and Professor, School of Social Work; Boston University, Boston, MA
    [website]





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