Study reveals that pet hoarders may jeopardize the health of themselves and their pets.

A study conducted by Mississippi Department of Psychology and the University’s College of Veterinary Medicine has uncovered a relationship between hoarding behavior, pet ownership and overall health. The research found that animal hoarders, individuals who take in and collect a large number of pets, were putting themselves and their pets at risk due to not being able to properly care for them. Mary E. Dozier and Ben Porter, assistant professors of psychology at the MSU College of Arts and Sciences, led the research project, which published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. The study’s results showed that households with eight or more animals had poorer health indicators, likely because owners are caring for more pets than they can manage.

The researchers found that many individuals with animal hoarding disorders feel they’re rescuing animals, but in reality, they’re harming both the animals and themselves. Their research project aims to identify individuals who need mental health services and connect them with community resources. Additional assistance for those with hoarding disorders is available through a separate research project led by Dozier, which offers free tidying up treatments to seniors with a hoarding disorder who live within an hour’s drive of the MSU campus. For more information on the university’s programs, visit and for the Department of Psychology, and for the Veterinary School. To learn more about the university’s initiatives, visit

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