Confessions: Animal Hoarding

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
Confessions: Animal Hoarding TV Poster Image
Hazardous, unhealthy homes aren't fit for pets -- or kids.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 5 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

While most of the stories end on a positive note, the show doesn't thoroughly document/address the real work involved in changing hoarding behavior.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Although they're suffering from a form of mental illness, the featured pet owners cause harm to their pets -- and themselves -- through serial negligence. Most fail to see the negative consequences of their behavior until they're forced to.


In some extreme cases, animal control teams find long-forgotten skeletons of dead animals hidden underneath furniture or piles of possessions.


Rare use of words like "ass."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some pet owners talk about traumatic events in their past -- including drug and alcohol addiction -- that might have triggered their hoarding behavior.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that some of these stories about negligent pet "hoarders" are accompanied by disturbing images of long-dead animals or stomach-turning shots of animal waste that could upset young children (or sensitive viewers of any age). The show doesn't do much to address the long and painful process of
reversing severe hoarding behavior through intensive therapy, either. Some of the featured pet owners use words like "ass," while others might discuss past experiences with problems like drug and alcohol abuse.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 11 and 13-year-old Written byCommon critic January 8, 2011
This review about this show caught my is it not for kids?!in some ways it is educational talking about mental illnesses and daughter watche... Continue reading
Parent of a 8-year-old Written byVictorianna December 15, 2010

An intense, complex show not suitable for children

This is a very depressing show. It's true that these conditions exist, but I think too intense for young children and even some young teens. Also, I have... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old August 28, 2012

Hoarders? Really?

I cant believe any of you think this is "Bad" for children. This show isn't bad for children, Heck this should be a lesson to children. CLEAN YO... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byMiloub April 24, 2011

Horrible for kids

Meh, animal planet shouldn't have a show on the air that revolves on such negative things. Not good for kids at all, and their horrible rolemodels. Don... Continue reading

What's the story?

Reclusive animal hoarders come out of the closet in CONFESSIONS: ANIMAL HOARDING, a docuseries about toxic, uninhabitable homes with too many pets. Each episode profiles two different pet owners, following them through the often-painful process of cleaning up their lives and, occasionally, giving up their animals. But instead of focusing on the owners' recovery, the series tends to lean on footage of the hoarders co-habitating with their pets in unhealthy environments.

Is it any good?

Much like the similarly themed Hoarders and Hoarding: Buried Alive, Confessions: Animal Hoarding uses shock value -- and morbid fascination -- to suck you in. It's a lot like a car crash you can't look away from, but it ups the ante by mixing in cute animals and their confounding owners, who typically fail to see the error of their ways. Owners like Don, for example, whose wife can no longer live in their home because some 30 cats treat the place like a giant litter box, pushing the house's blistering ammonia levels well into the toxic range.

While both Hoarders and Hoarding: Buried Alive extend a hand to their struggling subjects by offering the services of professional organizers, Confessions doesn't make the same kind of effort. In at least one episode, it was up to concerned family members to find a therapist who could help them stage an intervention for their dog-loving relative, Bonnie, whose home had literally become a dumping ground. And the aforementioned Don skipped therapy altogether in favor of turning himself in to animal control. With that type of approach, it's tough to say whether the experience will truly change anyone.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about mental illness and the types of traumatic events that could trigger someone to start hoarding animals. What's the difference between being a pet lover and a pet hoarder? At what point does having a lot of pets become a hazard?

  • Is this show documenting the hoarders' behavior or sensationalizing it -- and what's the difference? Does the show take any steps to ensure lasting change in the hoarders'

  • lives?

  • Why would a pet hoarder agree to expose their behavior on camera? Is it helpful or harmful for them to appear on a show like this one?

TV details

  • Premiere date: July 21, 2010
  • Network: Animal Planet
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: TV-PG
  • Last updated: September 20, 2019

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