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Collectors of Animals

“Collectors” is the term we use to describe people who accumulate more animals than they can properly care for. The common term many people use is “hoarding”, but there are many different types of collectors and they don’t all meet the cliche image of a hoarder as seen on TV.

Managing investigations involving collectors is challenging. It takes years for collectors to amass their animals and removing them in one sudden moment does not deal with the bigger problem of mental illness and why the person gathered so many animals to begin with. Removing the animals in a calm and methodical manner is more likely to help achieve the larger goal of ensuring the subject does not accumulate more animals.

Peace Officer Karen Stevenson has taken several courses in how to understand and manage cases of collecting. She has helped remove dozens of animals from numerous homes, including 143 cats from one small residence in January of 2020. In this episode of AnimalChat, Peace Officer Stevenson explains the tactics she used to help remove the cats while trying to manage the mental health needs of the owner. Her goal was to get the cats into a safer environment, but also to ensure the owner did not simply replace the animals once we were gone.

Watch video of Alberta SPCA Peace Officers unloading some of the 143 cats removed from an Alberta home

Listen to this Episode

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