In the past decade, there has been increased media attention to the animal hoarding behaviors. However, these behaviors are inadequately illustrated in psychological literature. There are over 700 new cases of animal hoarding in the United States each year (Kuehn, 2002). The small body of research available to date suggests that animal hoarding behaviors may be the result of pathological thinking. However, animal hoarding has not been connected with identifiable Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fourth Edition Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR, American Psychiatric Association, 2000). The fact that there is such limited research in this area makes it challenging for mental health professionals to ethically design appropriate interventions and work competently with these individuals. Animal hoarders tend to interact more often with our · legal system, county authorities, and animal protection agencies and rarely interact directly with mental health profession. The purpose of this dissertation was to review existing literature on animal hoarding and provide new research linking these hoarding behaviors with pathology to help mental health professionals develop ethical guidelines and competent standards of practice when working with this population.
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