Animal Hoarding

Animal Hoarding is defined by the presence of large numbers of animals kept in homes and as having the following four main characteristics (Patronek 1999; Patronek, Loar, & Nathanson, 2006, page 1):

    1. “Failure to provide minimal standards of sanitation, space, nutrition, and veterinary care for animals
    2. Inability to recognize the effects of this failure on the welfare of the animals, human members of the household, and the environment
    3. Obsessive attempts to accumulate or maintain a collection of animals in the face of progressively deteriorating conditions
    4. Denial of minimization of problems and living conditions for people and animals.”


Why do people hoard animals?

    • They see themself as a rescuer of these animals
    • Just went through a traumatic life event
    • Strong emotional attachment to animals

What to do if you suspect someone is hoarding animals:

    • Get in contact with someone that can help: Local animal control office, police department, animal welfare organization, veterinarian, hoarding task force
    • Do not immediately remove animals, could make the situation worse
    • Have the individual seek treatment

Risks of Animal Hoarding:

    • Fire hazards
    • Toxic gasses can be released from animal feces and urine
      • Poor air quality
    • Exposure to diseases from animals
    • Animals are trapped in unsafe and unsanitary conditions 


ADAA on Animal Hoarding


MSPCA Cruelty Line: 800-628-5808

Animal Rescue League of Boston Cruelty Line: 617-226-5610