The ever-rising number of foreclosures has created a new term in the real estate lexicon: "foreclosure pets."
Not only are distressed property owners suffering as they are being forced to vacate their homes but also a growing number of cats and dogs are being left to fend for themselves.
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals estimates that over 1 million pets will be placed for adoption this year alone due to foreclosure. Families who have left their homes and have entered the rental market often find that with their new landlords, pets are not welcomed.
This requires distressed homeowners to make difficult choices. One of them is what to do with the family cat or dog. Often caring, but stressed-out foreclosure victims struggle to find new families for their animals or they drop them at the nearest animal shelter. However, this is not the worse fate that can befall the family pet.
The practice of pet abandonment is becoming more and more prevalent. Recent reports show that for one in every five foreclosed homes, there is an animal that is being left behind. It is a sad and growing epidemic. Neighbors, junk haulers and often Realtors® are arriving at vacant properties only to discover a heartbreaking scene.
These innocent victims of foreclosure are being left inside the home without food or water and in temperatures that are unsustainable. The lack of water along with extreme heat or cold can kill an animal within a short time. And, this type of death is far from painless.
Some organizations have emerged to help combat the problem of pet abandonment. One of them is "ForeclosurePets.org." Founder, Scott Lanz has said that he was compelled to set up the website due to his love for animals.
The purpose of his website is to connect the pets of distressed homeowners with "foster" or permanent families. The ultimate goal is to provide a free resource nationwide for homeowners to use rather than having to leave their pets high and dry.
I called Scott today and we talked about the work that he is doing with his organization. He describes it as a "bridge for homeowners" who are at odds about what to do with their pets. Through this service distressed homeowners are able to upload photos and descriptions of their pets and draw the attention of people who are willing to serve as foster families for them.
"We know that people in these situations feel like they have no other options and are heartbroken leaving their loved one behind. But the good news is that we can help them find temporary shelters in the area for their pets until they get back on their feet or place them in a new home permanently. There are options!"
Foreclosure can be a traumatic for everyone involved. But, a pet is more precious than an old sofa that needs to be discarded. If you find yourself in this situation, please take the time to make arrangements for your pet to be cared for.
It's the right thing to do.
Copyright 2009 - Claudette Millette, President, TheBuyersCounsel - 800-392-1446, E-mail
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