HSUS has defined “hoarding” as a mental disorder where a person owns more than the “typical number” of animals and does not care for them in the way HSUS thinks they should. HSUS has further described the “typical number” of animals owned by the typical animal owner as being about two and it provides definitions for “proper care” that are unreasonable in the broadest sense.
DSM-IV does not recognize hoarding as a mental disorder, but only as a symptom of some disorders. Hoarding, in the real world, means to keep and collect things that may or may not have value, and to keep so many things that they stop having value to the person who keeps them.
Hoarding, in the sense that HSUS would want people to believe, means to keep animals in filthy conditions. While this could be problematic, the act is not so unique that it requires its own definition or the reclassification of people who do it as mentally ill. People who keep many animals may or not be mentally ill, yet HSUS is attempting to pass legislation that defines animal owners as mentally ill “hoarders.” HSUS further wants to see mentally ill people classified as criminals.
“Typically, hoarding is an activity with obvious psychological roots, and in many cases it verges on serious mental disorder. Many who have studied it consider it a consequence of serious attachment disorders . . .. Our state anti-cruelty statutes were not drafted with animal hoarding in mind, and generally do not facilitate effective prosecution and resolution of such cases.” –Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of HSUS
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