Animal hoarding: devastating, complex, and everyone’s concern
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Animal hoarding: devastating, complex, and everyone’s concern

Bronwen Williams Mental health training team leader, 2gether NHS Foundation Trust for Gloucestershire and Herefordshire, Welfare, Redwings Horse Sanctuary, Norfolk

Mental health workers need to be aware of this growing phenomenon, and how collaborating with other services can tackle the problem, says Bronwen Williams

Little is understood about animal hoarding, but it is believed to occur in most communities (Patronek 1999). By the nature of its presentation and its association with mental illness, cases will come to the attention of mental health services. Animal hoarding is a complex issue and one that is not improved by simply removing the animals, because acquisition of more animals will often occur. The behaviour has significant effects on the individual concerned, their family members, animals and communities, with huge costs to services.

This article highlights the issue and recommends that legislation relating to humans and animals, as well as the roles of different agencies, needs to be understood by mental health practitioners.

Mental Health Practice. 17, 6, 35-39. doi: 10.7748/mhp2014.


Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 13 March 2013

Accepted: 23 August 2013

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