Today is National Puppy Day, March 23, 2011. The occasion is to celebrate the unconditional love puppies bring to our lives and to save the orphaned puppies around the world from puppy mills.
Unfortunately, the very ones who care about orphaned puppies are the very ones who may end up becoming animal hoarders. Animal hoarders cross the line of logical thinking and may have a mental illness combined with cognitive distortion.
51 dogs rescued from hoarder going up for adoption
The behaviors of animal hoarders are suggestive of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Delusional Disorder and Attachment Disorder, but it appears to be complex identifying only one of these disorders rendering it difficult for universal treatment.
Additionally, there may be other cognitive deficits attributing to the animal hoarding behavior. While one hoarder has issues in placing an animal for adoption (Attachment Disorder), another person may feel obligated to give care to the animal (OCD) and yet another person may believe s/he is the only one who can provide adequate care to the animal (Delusional Disorder).
The theory of addiction contributing to animal hoarders is unfounded as an addiction requires a physical dependence.
To add to this problem, uncaring people in our society are known for ‘dropping’ unwanted animals off for others to care for and financially support. Many people will take advantage of these vulnerable, compassionate people by ‘shifting’ the responsibility of caring for the unwanted animal, as in the case reported by WALB News 10 in Georgia:
Neighbors complain about animal hoarder
“People send them to me and I don’t say no. Maybe I should say no but then they just kill them. I don’t keep them, I just take care of them. What am I supposed to do? They dump them out and I take care of them.” WALB News 10
With the financial costs of properly caring for pets have risen, the dilemma has reached proportionate levels. The vulnerable, animal caregivers are turning into criminals (animal cruelty) as they cannot afford the care, they cannot physically tend to the animals needs and they can’t say ‘no.’
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