Hoarders May Now Get the Help They Need

PawsUpPaws Up!
To the American Psychiatric Association for classifying hoarding as an official mental disorder.

According to a news article, “In the revised, fifth edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), ‘hoarding disorder’ becomes a separate diagnosis, characterized by a ‘persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions, regardless of their actual value.’

Tabitha was rescued by NHES from a hoarding situation and is now waiting for her forever home.

Tabitha was rescued by NHES from a hoarding situation and is now waiting for her forever home.

Hoarding isn’t just a messy garage or packed closet. According to the APA, it’s defined by its harmful effects — emotional, physical, social, financial and even legal — both on the hoarder and the hoarder’s family members.”

Hoarders come in all shapes and sizes and from all walks of life, young and old, male and female. They hoard anything from old newspapers to salt shakers. In addition, many hoarders “collect” animals. It’s estimated that a quarter million animals fall victim to hoarders every year. Animals collected range from cats and dogs to reptiles, rodents, birds, exotics, and even farm animals. Without some type of psychological intervention, most animal hoarders return to their hoarding ways.

The article continues: “’The revised diagnosis should ‘result in more people having access to treatment,’ says Randy Frost, a professor of psychology at Smith College who specializes in hoarding issues. ‘Right now, there are very few clinicians who know how to treat it. Once it shows up in DSM, there will be much more pressure on clinicians to train in how to treat this problem.’”

Take Action: If you suspect someone of being an animal hoarder, make sure you approach the appropriate resources in your community so that you can seek help for the individual as well as help for the animals in his or her care.

Dilip Jeste, M.D
American Psychiatric Association
1000 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 1825
Arlington, VA 22209
Tele. No.: 1-888-35-77924
Email: apa@psych.org

Hoarding Is Horrendous

Animal hoarding is a particularly egregious form of animal abuse in that it is daily, unrelenting, and often goes on for years. Animals living in the home of a hoarder may experience unmitigated pain and suffering for their entire lifetime. In addition, humans living in the homes of hoarders may also suffer, especially children and the elderly.

Photo by NHES

Two state legislatures, New Jersey and New York, have before them bills that would create the crime of companion animal hoarding. There is no specific number of animals one may have that constitutes a hoarding situation; rather, it is the condition in which the animals live and the type of care they receive that may constitute the crime of hoarding.

New Jersey and New York State residents, contact your legislators to let them know you want the animals of your state protected. Both states’ bills are in committee so contact the chairs of the respective committees to seek a favorable vote on these bills and report them to the full legislature for a vote. New Jersey residents, also encourage your legislators to request mandatory counseling as part of the penalty phase for anyone convicted under animal hoarding laws as there is a 100 percent recidivism rate if hoarders do not receive such counseling.

Since only two states, Illinois and Hawaii, specifically target companion animal hoarding in their laws, the rest of our readers should contact their legislators and urge them to enact animal hoarding laws.

New Jersey
The Honorable Nelson T. Albano
Chair, Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee
21 North Main St.
Cape May Court House, NJ 08210
Assembly Bill A2694

The Honorable Raymond J. Lesniak
Chair, Senate Economic Growth Committee
985 Stuyvesant Avenue
Union, NJ 07083
Senate Bill S1170

New York State
The Honorable William Magee
Chair, Assembly Agriculture Committee
Legislative Office Building 828
Albany, NY 12248
Assembly Bill A00191

The Honorable Patty Ritchie
Chair, Senate Agriculture Committee
Legislative Office Building, Room 815
Albany, NY 12247
Senate Bill S03474

Animal Abuse Will not Be Tolerated

Paws Up!
To Maricopa County Sheriff’s and County Attorney’s offices for understanding the seriousness of animal abuse!

Diane Lynn Habener was convicted of nine counts of animal cruelty in connection with a pet adoption business in Phoenix, Arizona. She is scheduled to be sentenced April 15.

Maricopa Sheriff Joe Arpaio understands the importance of pursuing animal cruelty cases, “…abusing animals through neglect and mistreatment is a serious offense that will not be tolerated in our community. My office will not hesitate to prosecute these crimes, even if takes many months to bring someone to justice.”

According to a news report, “Deputies seized 114 animals, most of them suffering from malnutrition and dehydration. Several animals were housed in kennels that were too small to allow them to turn around and had feces and urine embedded in their hair. One room contained 14 cats and was littered with feces. Many animals were subsequently treated for a variety of conditions including mange, Giardia, parasitic infections as well as zoonotic diseases, which can be transmitted from animals to humans.”

Take Action: Arizona residents, please write to the County Attorney and the Sheriff of Maricopa County thanking them for their work on this critical animal abuse case. Residents of other states, please contact your local officials whenever there is a case of animal abuse in your community and make sure they understand the severity of such criminal behavior.

Bill Montgomery
Maricopa County Attorney
301 W. Jefferson Street
Phoenix, AZ 85003

Joe Arpaio, Sheriff
100 West Washington
Suite 1900
Phoenix, AZ 85003


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