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A Comparison of Animal Hoarding Cases to the Current Literature

1 January 2017


Recent literature suggests animal hoarding is currently a complex, less understood phenomenon within the psychological community. The purpose of this study was to explore the consistency between case data from collected Oregon Humane Society (OHS) animal hoarding crime reports and investigations compared to the current literature on animal hoarding behavior. This study attempted to clarify relevant models to explain animal hoarding behavior and promote further understanding to inform treatment strategies and reduce recidivism. A total of 10 OHS animal hoarding crime reports and 4 non-criminal investigations were compared to the current literature on animal hoarding behavior. Specifically, a content review of each animal hoarding case and investigation was conducted, followed by a thorough comparison of each case with the extant body of literature on the description, psychopathology, and diagnostic considerations for individuals who commit animal hoarding. This study found the majority of reviewed cases to be consistent with prior literature on demographic variables, hoarder characteristics, and animal characteristics. Due to limited qualities of the data, comparison of participants’ psychopathology and behaviors was partial, though informative. Most notably, concurrent hoarding of objects, self-neglecting behaviors, and history of trauma or loss were comparable to proposed diagnostic considerations of hoarding disorder, attachment problems, and impaired adaptive functioning. In addition, participants who were employed and not reportedly breeders or animal rescue organizations held jobs in helping professions such as teaching and nursing.


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