In the midst of the mortgage and foreclosure crisis, our family pets can often be the unintended and forgotten victims. No family intends to leave behind their furry companions, as they can often provide comfort in times of stress and extreme change. There are generally extenuating circumstances that leave families feeling like they have no other option but to abandon their animals.
During the winter months especially, freezing weather brings additional concerns for pets left behind, as this recent social experiment in New York shows. Below are the three most common reasons pets are abandoned during a foreclosure; and the resources available for owners who need help.
Food and Care Bills
One of the biggest reasons families leave their pets after foreclosure is the inability to provide for food and care. Homeowners faced with foreclosure are not only unable to pay their monthly housing. By the time a foreclosure has occurred families will typically see bills for everything from utilities to groceries beginning to stack up. Providing food and veterinary care, especially in case of an emergency medical need, can seem like an impossible task to families.
Lack of Housing
Families in the midst of foreclosure will often be faced with difficult choices when it comes to housing. When being forced out of the home that they own, finding a rental property that accepts pets or a friend or family member that has room for the furry companion can be a challenge. Many rental properties have limitations on size, breed, and number of animals and can also charge hefty deposits that make bringing the pets along seem like an impossible task. Similarly, when relying on the compassion of friends or family homeowners can feel embarrassed or guilty regarding burdening their hosts with a pet, in addition to space concerns.
No Other Options
Pets are not intentional victims of neglect and abuse when it comes to foreclosures and abandonment. Losing your home is one of the most stressful life events a family will ever face. During this hectic and chaotic time, families often feel as if they have no other options. Turning their pet over to a shelter will often mean potential euthanasia in increasingly overcrowded and overtaxed local facilities. Abandoning a pet to care for itself is often seen as the better alternative when there is nowhere else to turn.
Help is Out There
What the public and families facing foreclosure need to realize is that help is out there and there are numerous resources available for families either seeking to find a new home for their pet or that need temporary financial or housing assistance in order to keep their companions with the family.
For families looking in need of temporary help, websites that offer dog boarding and dog sitting services, such as rover.com dogvacay.com or wagwalking.com, can be lifesavers. Few owners know that each of these sites offer off-location pet-sitting in addition to in home stays and can be used for extended periods of time such as during a physical move or transition into new housing. Long term rates can be very reasonable and will often be discounted, depending on your location. Local families or neighbors may also be willing to board your pet for a short period of time.
Local shelters and humane organizations may have financial assistance available for food or veterinary bills. Shelters or vet clinics in some locations may have vouchers on hand or a list of national or local organizations that will provide short term loans or grants in order to help you care for your pet during economic difficulties. If none of these quite fit your situation, there are a variety of online resources for families that need to find a reputable rescue organization to help place their pet in a new home.
To Sum Things Up…
In short, families facing foreclosure should never feel like they are alone in their struggles to care for both the human and animal members of their families. Leaving behind a family pet is never a decision that is made carelessly and is, instead, typically a result of the owner’s hands being forced when they believe they are out of options. Homeowners facing foreclosure should know that there are a variety of options available and that abandoning your pet should never be a decision you are forced to make.
Simon Campbell has spent over 15 years in all the various facets having to do with real estate including sales, purchases, investment and research. Simon has changed directions and is now sharing his knowledge and experience with others to avoid foreclosure. For more details, check his website http://www.stopforeclosureshelp.com
Gayle M. Irwin is a writer and public relations professional who volunteers with various animal rescue groups. She enjoys sharing her books and her passion for pets and the environment with others.