2010 Fall Webinar – Animal Hoarding: Comorbidity of Animal and Self Neglect

Jane N. Nathanson, Social Work and Rehabilitation Consultant, and Specialist in Human-Animal Health & Welfare, discusses her work in the area of animal hoarding. This presentation is based on her recent publication in the Journal of Elder Abuse & Neglect, 2009 Oct;21(4):307-24. Article abstract: Substantial research and literature indicate how people and companion animals form relationships that are, for the most part, mutually beneficial. Yet there are highly dysfunctional human-animal relationships that do occur, meriting attention and remediation. One of the most perplexing and problematic human-animal relationships is encountered in cases of animal hoarding–a deviant behavior associated with extremely deleterious conditions of comorbid animal and self-neglect. Adult Protective Services workers often encounter theoretical and methodological dilemmas with these complex cases. To intervene most effectively, it becomes critical to elucidate some of the developmental factors of animal hoarding behavior and its correlation with self-neglecting behaviors in general. This article presents an in-depth diagnostic perspective as derived from the author’s research and clinical experience. An analysis of the complex dynamics of the relationship between animal hoarders and their pets is presented in conjunction with accepted theories of self-neglect. With enhanced knowledge and understanding of animal hoarding, human service professionals will be better prepared to respond to these clients, evoke greater rapport and cooperation, and engage in the interdisciplinary efforts that are essential for optimal resolution. (Materials: slide presentation, presentation outline)