There is a difference between responsible animal care and people who are overwhelmed. Having many animals requires time, money, space and knowledge.

We consider anyone who tries to care for more animals than they have money, space and time for to be a potential animal hoarder who needs help.

Many people in the early stages of hoarding will put their pets before their own needs. Their animals might be healthy and even over-fed, but this comes at the cost of their own physical and mental well being.

Usually it is their relationships with friends and family that suffer the most.

Types of hoarders:

Animal hoarders often fall into one of the following three categories but can sometimes exhibit characteristics across categories:

* The Overwhelmed Caregiver:
The overwhelmed caregiver initially provides adequate care for the animals and believes that while a problem has slowly developed, it’s not as serious as others think it is.

* The Incipient Hoarder:
In most cases friends, family and neighbors are present in the developing stages, when ‘loving animals’ starts to become hoarding them. Warning signs include a shift in the person’s priorities, directing all their available resources, their time, physical space, money and emotions to the collection of animals. An incipient hoarder exhibits some ability to care for their animals. As the number of animals in their care increases, the problems are magnified. At this stage the incipient hoarder has the ability to recognize the problems of having to many animals. Early intervention is the key to prevent the situation from a tragedy.

* The Rescuer Hoarder:
The rescuer hoarder develops a compulsion based on a strong desire to rescue animals from possibly deadly situations, actively acquiring animals with the belief no one else is capable of caring for them. Often working with a network of enablers, they will find it difficult to refuse taking in a new animal.

* The Breeder Hoarder:
The breeder hoarder initially breeds animals for sale and becomes overwhelmed with the amount of care they require and the sheer number of animals in the home. This type of hoarder doesn’t recognize the severity of the conditions to which the animals are subjected.

* The Exploiter Hoarder:
The exploiter hoarder takes in animals to serve his or her own needs and is indifferent to any harm caused to the animals. Typically denying a problem exists, this type of hoarder rejects authority figures or any outside help and has a strong need to be in control while expressing very little remorse or guilt.

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