Friday, February 1, 2008

Pets Lose Homes and Families in Foreclosures

You have reached the end of your financial rope. The bank takes your house back or sells it at auction. You are suddenly faced with finding a place to live and no money to move. Do you move in with family? Rent an apartment? What do you do with the family pets?

For too many pets, it means being left in the home. Shut up in a room or tied in the back yard, people are being forced to abandon their pets when they lose their homes. Banks legally cannot release personal property for a certain period of time and are resisting having the animals removed. It's a bad situation for the pets involved.

Abandoning a pet to starve in an empty home should NOT be an option. There is no way to predict how long the pets will be there before someone finds them and it's almost a given that they will go to the local pound. Here are some suggestions that may help you re-home these pets or help the ones who have or will lose their homes.

  1. Check with your friends and family to see if there is someone who can keep your pets temporarily while you get back on your feet. Perhaps co-workers or one of the local rescue groups.
  2. If you know someone who is having financial difficulty, ask them if they have made arrangements for their pets. This may be somewhat futile as people facing the loss of their home, don't go around shouting it out.
  3. Put an ad on Craigs list. While you don't go into the gory details of your financial life, you might want to say "forced to move, these dogs will go to pound". Looking for permanent or foster home for .... Many times, people will take the dogs in on a temporary basis while you are looking for a home where you can keep them. It is a good idea to ask some kind of small fee to protect your pet.
  4. Put an ad on Petfinder. Again, mention that you are forced to move and that the pets are desparately in need of a home either temporarily or permanently.
  5. For those of us who are aghast that people would abandon their pets, step back for a moment and realize that these are not necessarily bad, irresponsible or uncaring people. These are usually good people in a bad situation and it's happening A LOT right now. We can help.
  6. If you can find it in your heart and room in your home to help, consider fostering a dog while the family gets back on their feet. Realize that it may be a longer term situation until the family can get settled and that you may end up re-homing the pet yourself if you choose not to keep it.
  7. Check Craig's list, pet finder and offer to help. Post lists of shelters of no kill shelters in your area.
  8. Contact your local shelter or rescue group and offer to foster a pet. Shelters are already over flowing but may be able to help out with the vet expenses for a pet. This will at least help to make room for the pets who are facing foreclosure.
  9. Donate to your local shelter or rescue group. If you have been donating to Humane Society of the US or PETA, take those dollars and send them to your local shelters where they will be used to help the animals and not to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to lobbyists.
Maybe we should start a National database of people who are willing to foster pets on a temporary basis. I would be willing to start organize this if people are interested and would be willing to help out.

Photo Courtesy of Katayun

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