Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Foreclosures putting pets at risk

In case you haven't been paying attention at all, there's a bit of a mortgage crisis underway. that has caused foreclosures rates to skyrocket. Unfortunately, as people are losing their homes, they are finding themselves forced into housing where pets may not an option. Several articles have sprung up in the past few days detailing the impact that foreclosures are having on pets - in many cases they are being taken to already overcrowded shelters. Even more disturbing are reports where homeowners simply abandon their pets when they leave.

The Daytona Beach News Journal offered a brief report here along with some tips on what homeowners facing foreclosure can do to plan for their pets. While Florida pets are undoubtedly likely to impacted in a dramatic fashion given the state's high foreclosure rates, it is a nationwide problem. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports here on the effect of increased foreclosures in Minnesota:

"I'm getting skinny horses in here that people have walked away from," said Drew Fitzpatrick, director of the Minnesota Hooved Animal Rescue Foundation, based in Zimmerman, Minn. It used to be that for every abandoned horse there was a story of mental illness, divorce or cancer of its owner, said Fitzpatrick. "Now it's bankruptcy and ARM foreclosure. Rural America is really starting to get punched."

A similar report appeared here in the Chicago Tribune. Notably, it recognized the same phenomenon linking foreclosures to increases in the number of pets ending up in shelters:
We're seeing quite a few animals being surrendered due to economic reasons, including foreclosure," said Angie Wood, assistant executive director of the Naperville Area Humane Society, which, in addition to McKenzie and Rocket, is sheltering Bailey, a foreclosure cat. "We're seeing people in bad financial situations who are moving to places where they can't have pets," she said. "There definitely has been an increase in the past six months to a year."
There are stories from Massachusettes, California, and at CNN and USA Today as well. While the housing problems aren't likely to go away soon, there are steps that can be taken to keep pets. Earlier this month, the Humane Society of the United States released this list of steps to help in the search for pet-friendly housing.

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