Following largest animal hoarding case in Stockton history, why do people hoard?

A week ago, Stockton experienced its largest animal hoarding case ever remembered and many wanted to know what makes someone want to keep so many animals? (May 5, 2017)

Eighty-six dogs, nearly 20 cats were found all living in bedrooms, the kitchen, bathrooms and the garage.

An adult couple were the owners inside that Stockton home. But why do people hoard?

“People hoard these animals to try to try to fulfill some unmet psychological need that they have," said Dr. Corey Gonzalez.

Gonzalez is a Bakersfield psychologist who was a contracted consultant for the Animal Planet TV series: "Confessions: Animal Hoarders.”

“A lot of people look to the animals to get some sort of need they never got in their childhood, such as unconditional love or relationship where you are not going to be abandoned or left," said Gonzalez.

Dr. Gonzalez said many people turn to animals to comfort them and feel secure and believe they have a gift to be a rescuer.

“And that emotion is so strong it sometimes supersedes their ability to see rationally what they really can care for," he said.

Even animal services staff have to serve as amateur psychiatrists on scene of hoarding cases.

“Majority of the time it starts with good intentions. Let me rescue an animal because I can do a better job than somebody else or a shelter," said Phillip Zimmerman, executive director of Stockton's Animal Services.

He said people who hoard mean well, but don’t know how to stop.

“We made contact with him and said to him, look this is out of control, you can’t take care of this issue, we are here to provide you with assistance. And he was surprisingly so cooperative with us and he was actually for the help," said Zimmerman.

Dr. Gonzalez says people who hoard can stop once they understand why they hoard.

“So once you get them into treatment and make them aware of what they’re actually doing, treat the OCD, treat the PTSD, treat the anxiety, treat the primary dysfunction stuff, then they’re not going to need those animals to fulfill those needs," he said

There is a happy ending to this story. The majority of the animals hoarded in Stockton have new homes.

There are only a few little guys that are left and the owner will keep three and promises no more.

© 2017 KXTV-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment