Previously known as “collecting,” Animal Hoarding is a poorly understood phenomenon that transcends simply owning or caring for more than the typical number of pets, and affects every community in the United States.
Animal Hoarding is not about animal sheltering, rescue or sanctuary and should not be confused with these legitimate efforts to help animals. It is about satisfying a human need to accumulate animals and control them, superseding the needs of the animals involved. Animal Hoarding is defined as:
As a community problem, Animal Hoarding is cruel to animals and can devastate families, be associated with elder abuse, child abuse and self-neglect and can also be costly for municipalities to resolve. Without appropriate post-intervention treatment, the behavior to hoard is almost always 100% repetitive. Increased awareness, leading to more comprehensive long-term interventions, is needed.
The Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium (HARC) is a group of researchers who collaborated from 1997-2006 to define and better understand the problem of animal hoarding. Today, the mission of HARC continues through the work of veterinary epidemiologist Dr. Gary Patronek and social worker/rehabilitation counselor Jane N. Nathanson.