Foreclosures in California hit a record 31,676 in the last three months of 2007. As more people are turned out of their homes, some family pets are being left behind to fend for themselves. Pet abandonment is not only inhumane, it’s also illegal in California. Following are some options for pet owners to consider should they have to leave their homes.
Find temporary housing for your pet.
Check with friends, family, neighbors, and boarding facilities to see if your pet can be held until you find housing. Do this immediately when you find your home is being foreclosed on.
Find a place to rent with your pet.
Call rental houses even if their ad reads “no pets.” Sometimes a landlord will make considerations for small dogs, cats, or smaller animals, or if you show you that are a responsible pet owner. Get letters from your veterinarian, former landlords, and neighbors documenting that you are a responsible pet owner.
Have your pet’s vaccination records, spay, or neuter certificate, obedience school diploma, and other records ready to show the landlord. Offer to pay a pet damage security deposit or secure liability insurance to cover the cost of potential pet-related damage.
As a last resort, find your pet a new home.
Contact friends and family to see if they would like to adopt your pet. Talk to area veterinary clinics to see if they will allow you to post a flyer of your pet you are trying to re-home. If you adopted your pet from a shelter, check with them first to see if you are required to relinquish your pet back to them. Even if the animal shelter tells you your pet may be euthanized, this is a better option then leaving your pet alone to fend for themselves in an abandoned home.
When talking to a potential, remember to always check references, create a contract, and charge an adoption fee for your pet. It may sound counter-productive to charge an adoption fee for a pet you are trying to re-home, however, studies have shown that even if you only charge $20, it serves as a reassurance that the person adopting has your pet’s best interest in mind.
What neighbors can do. If you know of someone whose home is being foreclosed, ask the occupants if they have made plans for their pets. If they haven’t, offer the suggestions listed above.
If owners move out quickly from a foreclosed home, check to see if any pets were left behind or tied up in the back yard. Call animal control immediately if you find a pet left in the home. If you find a dehydrated pet outside, provide a small amount of water, then call a vet before administering food. The pet may require immediate veterinary care depending on how long it was left alone. Animal control should also be notified in this situation.
A Pet Is a Long Term Commitment
Across the nation, “moving” is one of the top reasons that animals are relinquished to shelters by their owners. It’s essential for soon-to-be pet owners to think about their long-term life plans before adding a pet to their family. Most people will move at some point in the duration of a pet’s life. Make sure that when you adopt, you adopt for life; and this means when you relocate, your pet goes with you. Be certain that you are willing to take the extra time to always find pet-friendly housing when you move.
Remember that regardless of the situation, there is never a good excuse for leaving your pet behind.