Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Pets and Foreclosure

Animal control officers were called to a house in northern Michigan in February to rescue more than a dozen domesticated animals, including dogs, that had been left behind to fend for themselves after the owner vacated due to foreclosure. With home foreclosures expected to continue through 2010, this case puts the spotlight on a very important issue in today’s economy. Unfortunately, the Michigan case is not unique, as there have been reports of healthy, ill, dying, or dead pets found in foreclosed properties in several municipalities.

Pet owners in peril of losing their homes are encouraged to take their animals with them, but if that is not possible, it is imperative that they have a contingency plan. The assumption that someone will find and rescue the abandoned animals is faulty, as it could take weeks before agents enter the house. Furthermore, the lack of social interaction in the interim may affect an animal’s temperament, which, in turn, may decrease its adoptability.

The American Veterinary Medical Association provides the following suggestions for pet owners with homes in foreclosure and who cannot take their animals with them:

  • Try to find someone to foster or adopt your pet(s). Check with your family, neighbors, friends, and coworkers.
  • Contact local rescue organizations to see if they can help you find a home.
  • Advertise your adoptable pet(s) in a pet-specific classified ad listing. Screen potential adopters as carefully as possible to ensure that your pet ends up in a quality home.
  • Your veterinarian may also be able to help you identify a foster home or find a new home for your pet. Do not, however, leave your pet on the veterinary clinic’s doorstep!
  • Contact your local animal shelter or animal control facility to see whether it will accept your pet and assist in finding it a new home if you are unable to find a home for it yourself.
For individuals who are in this predicament, PBRC publishes a web page with access to several useful websites. Visit http://www.pbrc.net/losinghome.html for more information.

If you would like to give help to alleviate this situation, remember that local animal shelters are bearing the brunt of this “foreclosure pet” crisis, as they are experiencing unusual levels of overpopulation across the country. Information on donating to shelters is available at http://pitbullrescuecentral.blogspot.com/2009/06/how-you-can-help-your-local-shelter-by.html.

Source: AVMA. Frequently asked questions about pets and foreclosed homes. http://www.avma.org/issues/animal_welfare/pets_foreclosed_homes_faq.asp

1 comment:

Pibble said...

Why do people think it's okay to lock their animals in a home so they can starve to death? Why did they have pets in the first place?!

Thank you for sharing these resources with the public. I hope people understand that there is help out there. Don't leave your poor animals to fend for themselves and perhaps ultimately die. No one wants to find themselves in the unfortunate position of foreclosure, but it's certainly not the pets' fault.