What Should Homeowners Facing Foreclosure Do About Their Pets?

Posted by Joseph Smith

It’s always a sad tale when a family has to lose its home. It’s another story altogether for other unfortunate foreclosure victims– the family’s pets.

Over the past five years, untold scores of pets have been left behinid – abandoned in empy, vacant properties after their owners were evicted. Often times, these pets are abandoned because their former homeowners have no choice upon moving to a location where pets are not allowed, such as rentals or hotel rooms, or worse — taking to the streets or a homeless shelter.

There is no real, solid estimate of the number of abandoned pets across the country today, much less over the past five years, but the evidence is clear: pet shelters across the country have become increasingly burdened by waves of pets made homeless just like their owners.

What can foreclosure victims do with their pets?

Look to Family or Friends First

As mentioned, most animal shelters are overwhelmed as it is. In many shelters, the adoption rate is less than 50%. Additionally, funding for these shelters has decreased with the bad economy while more animals have flooded shelters, straining already-tight budgets and resources.

That’s why it’s best for homeowners to first look to family and friends and see if they can adopt their pets. Even if it is temporary, that is better than leaving pets to animal shelters that probably will not be able to accommodate them for long.

Ask a Vet to Help

If friends and family cannot help, a veterinarian might be of assistance. Veterinarians usually are able to board animals for a small fee, and many have offered to board animals for free if at all possible while homeowners relocate to other housing or to living accommodations that allow pets.

Find Pet-Friendly Housing

Often times, one main reason why pets are left behind is because the only living accommodations an evicted homeowner can find don’t allow pets for one reason or the other. This is unfortunate, but whenever possible, homeowners should try to find pet-friendly housing. If none is available, pet owners could ask the landlord for amendments to the contract in light of the circumstances; some might agree.

Above All, Do Not Abandon Them

The worst thing a pet owner can do is to abandon his or her pets in the home. This is illegal and can lead to criminal charges due to animal cruelty laws in the state. If all else fails, a shelter will be able to take them in. The Humane Society is one national resource that can help and should be consulted.

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