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What makes someone an animal hoarder?

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Posted: Thursday, October 3, 2013 5:50 pm | Updated: 6:09 pm, Thu Oct 3, 2013.

Hoarding is a mental health condition affecting the hoarder, their friends and family.

The Suncoast has its fair share of animal hoarders, and recently, more than two- hundred and fifty dogs were rescued from a possible animal hoarder in Venice.

But, what makes someone a hoarder?

"They may have been abandoned, they may be wanting to protect because they've been abused, there is a need to save to keep to protect." Said Miriam Lacher, LMHC os Sarasota Memorial Hospital. She added, "What really needs to happen is, intervention. Removing the person from that environment and beginning to work with that person on whatever issues they have had over their life and they're harboring those feelings that they cannot reconcile."

Trying to reason with a hoarder may have little effect. "Generally hoarders do a great job of hiding things so well that other people are not even aware of that until they enter that environment." Said Lacher.

There is a difference between a hoarder collecting inanimate objects and one that collects living, feeling creatures.

Dr. David Smith of Bay Road Animal Hospital was involved in a recent dog and bird hoarding situation he says his friend and former employee hid their symptoms well.

"She was a caring person, certainly liked her pets." He said.

Animal services found more than fifty puppies and birds in terrible condition. Smith said they were unfed, had not been groomed and both animals and cages were covered in feces and urine. "They would have diarrhea, they'll have discharge from their eyes and nose, and upper respiratory infections."

This individual really though they were doing a good job, but there are mental health issues including a sense of loss of control that may trigger someone to hoard animals.

"This person is holding onto things that they don't need to hold onto in an effort to protect, to care for, and its basically going back to their own issues potentially of abandonment and abuse." Said Lacher.

If you suspect someone of animal hoarding, notify Animal Services.

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