The latest unsuspecting victims of the foreclosure crisis are the pets. Already, animal shelters are full to the rafters with abandoned foreclosure pets, dump by their owners. Some homeowners took time to bring and leave their pets at animal shelters. But some, most often those you were evicted, just leave their pets behind, often with no food and water.
Experts said that dogs can become dehydrated with no water intake for 24 hours and could die after several days of being exposed to extreme heat. Both dogs and cats can live for days without food but they could barely last a day without water.
According to industry experts, homeowners who leave their pets behind under inhumane condition are those who would destroy the property before they leave, stripping it with all the assets, such as light fixtures, kitchen sink and windows.
Some homeowners are too distraught by the thought of losing their properties to foreclosure that they often do not give a thought to their pets. They take it for granted that bank representatives of local officials would take responsibility for abandoned foreclosure pets.
Many homeowners lost their homes to foreclosures because of some mitigating circumstances such as job loss, reduced income, health reasons, divorce or excessive debts. Experts said that many distressed homeowners view themselves as victims of events and circumstances that were beyond their control.
They feel hopeless, helpless and depressed, resulting to them being indifferent to others and their responsibilities. And because they have to find affordable places to live in once their banks took away their properties, they often end up in motels or apartments.
And many apartment buildings and motels do not permit pets, thus making homeowners leave them behind.
In most states, pets are legally personal property of their owners. This means that pets have no or little rights. Under the law, personal property that is left behind by their owners can be seized by banks as they foreclosed on troubled properties.
However, many lenders do not want to take the responsibility of caring or finding some care for the pets. In other states, personal property forfeiture is allowed only after a certain period of time so lenders do not have the legal right to intervene or remove pets from foreclosure properties immediately.
Industry experts said that some changes should be made on state laws to provide protection to abandoned foreclosure pets.