Animal Hoarding Horrors

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"This is Brazos County's first seizure-hoarding case," says Judy LeUnes, of the Brazos Animal Shelter.

Although it is the first--it resulted in one too many. A Brazos County woman, willingly, living with more than 60 cats--two dogs and several other exotic animals--all under one roof. Dr. Fran Kimbrough, a Bryan psychologist, says animal hoarding is a serious issue that is rooted far beyond four walls.

"People that hoard animals generally have a deep love for animals and there are so many animals out there that are abandoned and the people feel like they can take care of all of them," says Kimbrough. "Then in the end, it just spins out of control and it becomes very overwhelming."

It is a disorder that carries a complex, yet intricate community health concern--and something Kimbrough says is not easy to treat.

"It is a serious illness--it's hard to see improvement real quick when you are trying to clean things out so it's not a quick fix issue."

Kimbrough says animal hoarding is more than just a misguided attempt at rescuing animals. Going on to say the effects are far-reaching and encompass not only animal welfare, but additionally, one's mental health.

"Especially with animals, they do give you back love and a lot of times the people that do this have had a loss in their life and they want to fill that loss," says Kimbrough. "You are feeling out of control in some way and this is a way to feel in-control, you are taking care of things and you know, what is weird, is the things you want to control, end up controlling you."

Doctors say seeking help is the first step-- in conjunction with unrelenting support from family and friends.

If you know someone suffering from this disorder, you can always contact local authorities or seek help from a therapist. You can find Dr. Fran Kimbrough’s contact information below.

Dr. Fran Kimbrough
403 South Houston Avenue
Bryan, TX 77803-7029
(979) 775-9406

Brazos Animal Shelter
2207 Finfeather Road
Bryan, TX 77801
(979) 775-5755