Hoarding Information

What is Hoarding?
The American Psychiatric Association defines hoarding disorder as a persistent difficulty getting rid of or parting with possessions due to a perceived need to save the items. Attempts to part with possessions create considerable distress and lead to decisions to save them. The resulting clutter disrupts the ability to use living spaces (APA, 2013).

What is the difference between Hoarding and Collecting?
The main difference between hoarding and collecting is that large possessions of items in a collection do not impede or create hazards in active living areas of a home. Hoarding can create large, unorganized piles preventing entire rooms from being used for their intended purposes.

What are the potential impacts of Hoarding?
Among causing problems with interpersonal relationships, family and social conflicts, and other important areas of functioning, there are serious health and safety concerns. Those include fire hazards, structural damage, trip and fall hazards, disease, infestation, and other health and safety concerns. It can lead to the inability to perform daily tasks such as cooking and bathing. Hoarding can also lead to eviction and homelessness, and also create a dangerous environment for first responders during a fire or medical emergency.

Because hoarding is a disorder and complex behavioral problem, it requires a different response than that of a typical code violation. The behavior has usually occurred for a long time and cannot quickly be resolved. Some individuals with hoarding disorder may recognize and acknowledge the problem, but some may not. We cannot ignore the many potential hazards, but even the most minimal involvement requires significant staff time and resources. Without a willingness to seek help to voluntarily comply with County ordinance, there is little likelihood that resolution can be reached, even with the assessment of civil penalties for violations.

How can I help?
If you think someone you know is experiencing or struggling with hoarding disorder, you can contact a doctor or mental health professional for support and counseling options. According to the APA, treatment can help people with hoarding disorder, but it would require intervention from family and friends, acknowledgement of the problem, and willingness to voluntarily seek treatment before the problem is addressed. Some public health agencies may be able to assist in getting help for individuals affected by hoarding disorder.

In some cases, it may be necessary for other agencies to get involved due to the nature and extent of the situation. In many cases, it can affect more than just the person with the disorder including the elderly and children.

Oregon Abuse Hotline: 1-855-503-SAFE (7233)

The Dalles APD (Aging and People with Disabilities):
3641 Klindt Drive
The Dalles, OR  97058
541-298-4114 (toll free 800-452-2333)

Child Welfare (CPS):
700 Union St. Suite 230
The Dalles, OR  97058

Animal Hoarding
The difference with animal hoarding is that it involves the acquiring of large numbers of animals, usually in an inappropriate space, potentially creating unsafe and unhealthy conditions for the animals and people. Homes can be overcome by animal waste, and cause health problems from inhalation of ammonia, fleas and ticks, and animal-borne illnesses.

Reporting when you suspect animal hoarding, neglect or abuse:

Wasco County Sheriff’s Office:
511 Washington Stree
The Dalles, OR  97058

The Dalles Police Department:
401 Court Street
The Dalles, OR  97058