As homeowners are forced to vacate their homes because they are no longer able to pay their mortgages, many pets are landing in animal shelters. Others are simply left behind.
With an influx of pets arriving at shelters and the reports of abandoned animals growing, animal welfare protectors say the effects are enormous. Many pet owners simply show up at shelters and say they are “moving,” offering no specifics.
Workers, real estate agents and well-meaning neighborhoods are discovering pets chained up or left to their own devices in abandoned houses. Those who are lucky are turned over to shelters. But many are unlucky, spending days to weeks without adequate food or water.
As more pets are finding their ways into shelters, the problem is compounded with reduced numbers of adoptions. Generally, people are not bringing home puppies or kittens because money is tight.
There are some steps that pet owners or potential pet owners can take.
• While it’s not possible to foresee every possible scenario, if a person’s finances are not stable, or if one is barely making ends meet, it may not be a good time to bring a pet into the household.
• One can find out if there is a friend or relative who may be able to help out and provide foster care for a pet until its owner gets settled.
• A pet is not a piece of property and should not merely be left behind, warn animal welfare activists. In many states abandoning animals is illegal under anti-cruelty laws. Owners can be prosecuted for abandoning a pet.