"It's a fascinating subculture … In their compulsion to love and care for their pets, they've become blinded to the harm they're doing to their health, their finances, family, and ultimately, to the animals."
So says Dan Jackson, the producer of a new show that promises to bring the bleak reality of animal hoarding into your living room every Thursday night. As of last week, Animal Planet’s Confessions: Animal Hoarding began offering us astounding tales of human and animal decrepitude. (To learn more about the behavior and the television program, this USA Today article will elucidate you.)
Yes, hoarding is a reality every veterinarian experiences on a regular basis. We care for the animals of those whose hoarding we acknowledge, and we try to steer them towards the light, supporting them personally while deploring their deeds … because we recognize how real and stereotypical a psychological disorder this is.
But a "fascinating subculture"? Isn’t that going a bit too far?
I’d say it’s going way overboard. It’s like saying schizophrenics possess a "fascinating subculture." Or drug addicts. Which, well, they might in many cases. But to base a reality television show on the jaw-dropping antics of those who would brave divorce, financial ruin, and indescribably bad hygiene for their inability to control their animal acquisitions seems JUST. PLAIN. WRONG.
But maybe I’m being overly sensitive.
What do you say? Will you watch?
Dr. Patty Khuly