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Animal hoarding linked to disorders, social worker says

JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) – A woman faces animal cruelty charges after a house fire killed several animals Thursday.

A licensed clinical social worker says she may be dealing with mental health issues like anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder that could trigger her hoarding so many animals.

“Certain particular items that could start out as a collection, and then it develops so rapidly that they have nowhere to walk in their house,” Brooke Weaver said.

Weaver added the hoarder believes they are the only ones that can save an animal, saying, “It’s a savior complex.”

Northeast Arkansas Humane Society Executive Director Hillary Starnes said that’s not the case, especially when they have too many animals.

“They start with one and then get two and then before you know it they’re up to 15 animals in their home,” Starnes said.

Starnes added the problem is the hoarders believe they’re providing a loving home, but there is little to no quality of care.

“They’re either being overfed or underfed, and they just can’t financially take care of these animals,” she said.

The NEA Humane Society rescued six dogs and four cats from the fire, and all the dogs are being taken care of.

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