Animal Hoarding Animal Welfare—Experiences from Different Countries and Cultures 2
World Small Animal Veterinary Association Congress Proceedings, 2019
S. Clement
Veterinarian, Carling Animal Hospital, Ottawa, ON, Canada

Animal hoarding behavior is a mental disorder that crosses national boundaries. Cases of hoarding are seen throughout the world. Ways that they are handled in other nations vary, dependent on the cultural systems of the particular country. The author of this joint lecture will present experiences from various countries to demonstrate particular ways of handling cases. The following methods have been utilized to assist with hoarding situations:

Hoarding task forces—The hoarding task force is a community-based task force that includes stakeholder representatives of civic government and the public. Specific roles represented include code enforcement, police, fire, public health, mental health, adult/child protective services, and animal control. Task forces meet regularly to discuss specific cases. People with hoarding disorder may be included to serve on task forces to assist with other hoarding situations.

Community-based mental health services—In those communities where animals are not being removed from hoarding situations because of a lack of animal welfare organizations to keep them (meaning no animal shelters beyond vector control), mental health professionals are entering the community to work with people with hoarding disorder directly in their home settings. Animals are being “absorbed” into the community in these situations but to varying degrees, dependent on the number of animals and particular circumstances.

The “contract”—Mutually agreed upon goals are outlined in a contract with the person with hoarding disorder. Developing a rating system—similar to object hoarding rating scales (Saving Inventory—Revised, UCLA Hoarding Severity Scale, Clutter Image Rating) the creation of a scale for animal hoarding scale may assist with determining severity of mental incapacity in particular situations and severity of conditions for the animals.

Full-response case—this occurs often as a last resort but large-scale cases are common and require coordination between many stakeholder agencies. Response will be discussed as one option in this lecture.


1.  Frost, R. O., Steketee, G., & Williams, L. (2000). Hoarding: a community health problem. Health & Social Care in the Community, 8, 229–234.½2524.2000.00245.x (VIN editor: URL was not accessible as of 4-2-2020).

2.  Frost, R. O., Tolin, D. F., & Maltby, N. (2010). Insight-related challenges in the treatment of hoarding. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 17(4), 404–413.

3.  Patronek, G., Loar, L., & Nathanson, J. (Eds.) (2006). Animal hoarding: structuring interdisciplinary responses to help people, animals and communities at risk. Boston, MA: Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium.

4.  Patronek, G. J., & Nathanson, J. N. (2009). A theoretical perspective to inform assessment and treatment strategies for animal hoarders. Clinical Psychology Review, 29(3), 274–281.

5.  Muroff, J., Steketee, G., Frost, R. O., & Tolin, D. F. (2014). Cognitive behavior therapy for hoarding disorder: Follow½up findings and predictors or outcome. Depression and Anxiety, 31(12), 964–971.


Speaker Information
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S. Clement
Carling Animal Hospital
Ottawa, ON, Canada

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