Often times when a family is going through stressful times such as moving, relocation for work, or losing a home to foreclosure, little thought is given to the animal companions in the household. This is usually through no fault of the pet owners. Losing a home takes a large emotional and physical toll on families, especially in a process as contentious and stressful as a foreclosure. The financial burden placed on families, coupled with uncertainty regarding the housing situation, can lead pets to become left behind, surrendered to shelters or otherwise abandoned.
The problem is nuanced and complex and one that we’re here to help break down. While there are no easy answers, we can only take steps towards solving the dilemma through knowledge and greater understanding. If you’d like to learn more about why pets are abandoned and the impact this action can have on both the human and animal families involved, read on.
The Most Common Reasons Why Pets Are Left Behind
We’ve already mentioned that the problem of pet abandonment is complex and numerous studies have acknowledged the many reasons that pet owners feel this is their only option during various stressful life events. When it comes to home foreclosure, there are several common problems homeowners encounter that often force their hand towards abandoning their dogs or cats.
First off, finding alternative housing that will accept your pet can be a difficult task, especially when added to the burden of relocating an entire family from their familiar residence. Many landlords place limitations on number, size, breed and even species, causing the families to have to make difficult choices regarding their pets. Even if the new residence accepts the family cat or dog, there will often be large deposits required or additional fees. Families going through foreclosure are already under a great deal of financial stress, and this can increase the burden.
Speaking of financial hardships, another common reason owners abandon their pets during a foreclosure is directly due to the financial cost of taking care of their pets. Food, bed, and supplies can be costly additions to an already strained monthly budget. If the pet needs veterinary care, these expenses can be even more overwhelming and seem an impossible hurdle. Given this, owners will often think that to abandon their pet is the better or only choice.
The Impact of Abandonment on Individual Pets
Now that we’ve examined the issue of pet abandonment from the owner’s perspective, to completely understand the issue we also should talk about the impact on the individual pets. Humans often do not realize that animals, especially domesticated dogs, cats and other small animals, can feel a host of emotions similar to those experienced by people. Fear, pain, abandonment and longing are all things which pets are capable of experiencing. When pets are abandoned, they will often be confused about being left behind, removed from the only family or “pack” that they have ever known.
Besides the emotional toll, pets can experience severe health impacts from abandonment. Although cats and dogs are capable of using basic hunting skills, many of these have become less developed due to domestication. At the very least, Fido or Fluffy has become highly inexperienced in bringing home their own food after years indoors where the only hunting needed is for a food dish. Many pets will starve or suffer adverse health effects from malnutrition due to abandonment.
Finally, many owners won’t realize that by abandoning their pets they put them at risk of death. While this may seem obvious when pets are left on the streets, this is also the case even when owners attempt to find alternate homes through shelters. Due to extreme overcrowding, many shelters cannot keep surrendered pets or those brought in after found roaming, for more than a few days before euthanizing.
The Social and Community Impact Caused by Abandoned Pets
In addition to the impact on animals, pet abandonment can also have a significant impact on local communities. As mentioned previously, overcrowding of animal shelters, rescues, and other humane organization is an increasing problem. These facilities require a great deal of monetary and human resources in the form of volunteers. For low income or impoverished communities, even a small increase in the abandoned pet population can create a significant burden on already sparse resources.
Abandoning pets, especially cats, can also cause a large impact on the local wildlife population. Its an increasing concern of environmentalists that as the feral cat population increases, the indigenous small animal and songbird population in communities significantly decreases. Abandoning your pets creates an artificial and significant impact on these nuanced and balanced ecosystems. Roaming cats and dogs can also spread diseases to other animals, creating significant burdens on all pet owners.
Help is Available
For families considering abandoning their pets due to a foreclosure, it’s important to know that there are a variety of resources available that can help. The internet is full of helpful articles and lists, both locally and nationally, that can help pet owners and their pets in a variety of situations.
Here are a few examples that could be helpful:
Many times local shelters will have vouchers available for discounted food or veterinary care or may be able to provide contacts for private organizations that are able to help. Additional resources such as crowdfunding or fundraising, private adoption or temporary boarding can also contribute to keeping pets off the streets. If you or your family are in need of help, abandonment should always be the last option when it comes to your pet. Know that there are a host of people and resources available to help keep your cat, dog or other pet in the arms of their beloved families.
Photos are pixabay public domain
Guest Author Bio
Simon Campbell has spent over 15 years in all the various facets of 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 StopForeclosuresHelp.