Pets Feeling Effects Of Home Foreclosures


People are not the only ones feeling the harsh effects of home foreclosures. Pets are also victims — they lose their families, are abandoned or neglected or are left at shelters.

Many animal shelters across the nation report that they are seeing numerous animals being surrendered because of economic reasons, including foreclosure.

A spokesman for The Animal Welfare League in Chicago said, “We’re probably getting 25 [animals] a week coming to us for those reasons. It’s probably increased a lot in the past six to seven months.”

As people are foreclosing on their house and moving into an apartment, some people give up their pets because apartments may not be pet-friendly or it costs more to have a pet in an apartment with pet rent or additional pet deposits.

Some of these pets end up in shelters and some of these are neglected and left at the foreclosed home.

Officials around the nation have reported finding all types of pets being left at foreclosed houses and farms. In one case, 63 cats were left at a home in Cincinnati.

Stephanie Shain of the Humane Society of the United States said, “This isn’t the first time we’ve seen people abandoning their pets; it’s a problem throughout the year, when people move and can’t take their pets. But with this increase in foreclosures, we’re going to see more of it. Far too often, those animals die in those homes, and it’s a better scenario to get them to a shelter so that their last days are not spent alone, trying to eat wallboard or whatever they can find.”

But for some pets, even though they have been abandoned, they find a happy ending when they are adopted or when their owners take them back from foster care after their financial situation is in a better state.

The 63 cats (two of them pictured here) that were found abandoned in Cincinnati have also found a happy ending. Many of the cats have found new homes. One of the people who took in two of the cats even created a web site,, to provide updates on the cats and to also raise funds by selling artwork to pay for the cats’ veterinary bills and expenses.

Source: Chicago Tribune

(Thanks Lynne and Julie)

23 Responses to “Pets Feeling Effects Of Home Foreclosures”

  1. Sharon says:

    Rich white Republican men made a lot of money in the mortgage market by ripping off people and now it is families and their pets that will end up homeless because of it. Remember why this is happening at election time.

  2. Donna says:

    We remember. Vote Ron Paul for the positive changes america needs to survive. I have a very hard time that humans have the ability to abandon pets. It’s like leaving a baby to care for it’s self.

  3. Oh Hush says:

    Hey Sharon,

    I worked for a DEMOCRAT in the mortgage industry who HAD to make loans to borrowers with crappy credit and no money. I’ll chaulk your blantant judgement there up to ignorance.


  4. Linda's Cats says:

    Donna, pets are a luxury. seeing animals as anything but “tools”, food or “for our use” is the privilege of “wealth” (in an anthropological sense of having excess and storage of basic needs, not a modern sense). In fact, children themselves or the elderly or “right to life’ are all the privileg of “wealth” (in that same general sense).

    Humans who, 100 years ago, had to work to the bone, 18 hours a day, didn’t have the time to really worry that the horse they were using to help them, was starving. it’s sorta “the horse or me”.

    If it comes down to “you and your kids eating every night” or “you and your kids and your cat maybe eating every other night” guess what most of us are going to choose.

    It’s human psychology. What is the saying “if all is well, everyone is my friend; if i am starving, i will fight you for food”. same kind of thing.

    it’s terribly sad in a day and age where no person or animal needs to suffer - but it’s what the “rich” (of ANY political group, not just repubs and dems, but socialists, communists, FFN in other countries) will do to the poor in the name of “power”.

    oh, and i also suspect there is a lot of misplaced anger of “why should i bother getting this cat/dog to a shelter if i cant even get myself to one”. that’s a very (sterotypical) male response. where a sterotypical female response is “i’m suffering, so is this cat…”

    sad sad sad.

  5. Carolyn & Maggie says:

    “Officials around the nation have reported finding all types of pets being left at foreclosed houses and farms.”

    I guess desparate people do desparate things — even leave a family member behind! Sad, for all concerned.

  6. Jodie says:

    “Rich white Republican men…” ?? Wow….that’s some bubble.

    A very sad situation for all.

  7. Don Earl says:

    RE: “Rich white Republican men made a lot of money in the mortgage market by ripping off people and now it is families and their pets that will end up homeless because of it. Remember why this is happening at election time.”

    Personally, I find it staggering that anyone can believe there is a speck of real difference between Ds and Rs.

    Some years back, disgusted with both, I started researching various platforms for other political parties. Interestingly, there are quite a few of them: Greens, Libertarians, Socialists, Communists, Constitutionalists, etc.. The most amazing thing I found in comparing the various platforms is neither the Republicans nor the Democrats have one. Granted, the platforms for the fringe parties are passing strange in places, but at least you know what you’re voting for when you vote for one of them.

    Are you against the war in Iraq? Don’t look for help from the Ds and Rs, they were arm in arm in voting to invade. Are you against the Patriot Act? Both parties were in lock step selling you out there too. In fact, you won’t find a single issue mainstream Americans are facing today where majorities on both sides dropped the people who voted for them like a hot rock in favor of their corporate sponsors.

    There are exceptions, such as Paul and Kucinich, but even so, both have geeked at key points when their political careers were at odds with doing the right thing. Still, they’re the best of a bad lot. Do you see widespread support for either of them, or strong support from their parties? Not a chance.

    What would stand a chance is if both were to drop the Ds and Rs on their heads and run together on an independent ticket. Both have enough support to win a three way race as independents if they skipped the primaries and began campaigning as President and Vice President, together, right now. That won’t happen either. It’s risky and it isn’t the way things are done.

    Most folks will keep doing what they’ve always done and keep getting what they’ve always gotten. This is what folks such as yourself call change.

  8. Merlin Marshall says:

    I’m sad its happening, but its nice to see an article confirming what I see at the shelter I volunteer for. I’ve been seeing an increase in abandoned cats, or returned cats because the owner can no longer care for them. I’ve been seeing this for months while the folks in power proclaim that there is nothing wrong with the economy, everything is jim-dandy. Politicians of all flavors need to pull their heads out, the most vulnerable, poor people and animals are suffering for their irresponsible behavior the most.

  9. The Lioness says:

    “If it comes down to “you and your kids eating every night” or “you and your kids and your cat maybe eating every other night” guess what most of us are going to choose.”

    Fortunately, those of us without kids (by choice) don’t have to worry about this as much.

    We would do anything for our cats.

    ~The Lioness

  10. The Lioness says:

    Don Earl, excellent post. As for Paul, Kucinich, and Gravel, they do have a lot of support. You just have to look at non-mainstream blogs and news sites to find those folks.

    This system has failed everyone–including and especially the animals–so badly. It’s just sad to me that the average person doesn’t see it.

    ~The Lioness (Independent and proud of it!)

  11. The Lioness says:

    I’m really glad there’s been a happy ending for those 63 cats. I imagine large households (in terms of animals) are suffering the worst in all this. It’s nice to see a story about a large brood like that where they don’t all have to be put down due to illness/neglect or some-such.

    This news does not surprise me at all. I have had to make some very tough choices in the past, myself, in order to keep my own animals. Priorities get looked at and shifted. You do what you can.

    I want to be angry with people who give up or leave their pets behind, but this economic crisis is such that I know a lot of people making this awful choice are people who normallly would not do that kind of thing.

    I applaud those who at least take the time and make the effort to take their animals to an agency!

    ~The Lioness

  12. Marjee says:

    Wow- lets leave politics out of it. It detracts from an important issue and conversation. I live near DC where recently a woman killed her four daughters and let them rot for months in a house. I am an animal lover and while the cruelty people exhibit toward animals makes me sick, I can’t help but reflect on what people do to their own children and I realize that we are a species capable of terrible things. More importantly, we are capable of great things so adopt if you can, or help out your local shelter if you can. Ultimately this article is a sad reminder of how the innocent, animals or otherwise, are impacted by our national financial ignorance.

    A lot of people did get rich off of giving bunk loans and that is true of home loans and consumer loans. You better believe that this money went into the pockets of both political parties and this is why companies get away with usury and their are no educational standards for financial literacy.

  13. 5CatMom says:

    Whatever the cause, I hate to see folks and pets lose their homes.

    If people are now able to make their mortgage payments, and if their interest rate increases and then they won’t be able to make their mortgage payment . . . . .

    Well, why not let their interest rate remain at it is?

    Guess I just don’t understand complicated financial issues.

  14. mittens says:

    the problem with the mortgage industry was obvious from the start- you cannot sign a loan for a house you absolutely cannot afford( the formula for figuring that out is quite simple) and you shouldn’t lend to people who clearly cannot pay the loan- ignorance and speculation collide- same thing happened in the late 80s early 90s. for certain these loan places took advantage of people but financial ignorance is your own fault- and my tax money and the government is suppose to bail you out because you went into the hugest purchase of your life blindly? if you make 10 dollars an hour you cant afford a home that costs half a million and if someone convinces you you can youre being taken- any questions? americans have made a lifestyle out of living beyond their means and it always comes to a head like this- a credit crisis and big losses.

    i’ve no doubt this pet situation happens but i have found people generally need no REAL reasons to dump their pets and responsibilities- hell some people barely seem to notice their own kids. i rescued a cat from a rich spoiled brat who had her own damn daddy bought it pet friendly condo . once the cat wasn’t a cute kitten anymore and she saw that it had a small little growth in it’s nose-time to toss it out. she even brought the cat to the vet not to get the poor thing fixed ( i ended up having to do that) but to see if they could get the nose growth removed. people suck. people are irresponsible. people can be selfish. some people are cruel. animals always suffer in these situations. my house is now filled again with other people’s cast offs for all the real and /or convenient reasons but i have found in 20 years of saving cats that the reasons are more often then not pretty flimsy ones and the search for a solution for the pet is generally short lived or never attempted.

  15. KarlaSanDiego says:

    WOW! I think this is one of the best forum discussions ever on itchmo.
    People abandoning their sweet little helpless animals breaks my heart. There are no excuses for this cruel, selfish, irresponsible, careless, heartless act. Dropping them off to a shelter is not much to ask for in this world. The animal didn’t do anything to ever deserve this.

  16. Lisa says:

    Not all foreclosures are due to sub-prime mortgages/ people over borrowing/ people being scammed…Many are also due to people no longer having a JOB. America is in a BAD way and we can all point fingers at the sub-prime for a scapegoat, but the problems were there LONG before the housing industry took a down slide.
    No job= no money= no house

    As far as who is to blame…It was BOTH Republican and a Democrat president who pushed the NAFTA forward and caused the start of the fall of this nation. From what I have heard only one candidate from either side has spoke about stopping it before it causes more damage then it has done. That one is Ron Paul and guess what I’m a Democrat.

  17. pheephee35 says:

    My dear Purr-Purr was put in the shelter because the owners “did not have time to take care of her.” Their own words on the intake form. She was so depressed and skinny when I got her, but she turned out to be the best cat! You can see some of my posts on the pet food recalls from last year. She took good care of me. The shelter worker said, “how do you not have time to take care of a cat?” I think he has a point.

  18. MaineMom says:

    Many pets could be “saved” right now if more landlords would allow tenants to have pets. Over the years, the very costly damage to our rental properties was caused by humans NOT cats and dogs. Some compassion and flexibility on the part of rental owners would help many people keep their pets.

  19. Velvet's Dad says:

    I agree with Marjee, Mittens (to some extent), Lisa and MaineMom.

    The economy is far worse than unemployment numbers would have you believe. Only those out of work AND receiving unemployment insurance are counted as unemployed. Not counted are those whose benefits have run out, those who have simply given up looking, those who are underemployed, and those working two or more jobs, any one of which they could lose on a moment’s notice.

    Further exacerbating the situation is the National Labor Relations Board which, rather than protecting workers as the National Labor Relations Act mandated, has undermined them with one anti-worker administrative decision after another.

    A worker who tries to form a union for example, is often fired–even though, the law forbids an employer from firing a worker for such reason.

    The worker must then sue the employer (so costly and time-consuming that most don’t bother to try) to attempt to get his or her job back. If the worker does not seek another job during the litigation process, the worker cannot be awarded back pay from the defending employer, even if the worker wins his or her job back.

    “Free” trade, the high price of food and oil, the housing market, the anti-worker bent of the administration and the Congress, the banking and financial industry, etc, etc, all have contributed to the sorry economic mess we’re in.

    And so sadly, children and pets suffer at a proportion so much greater than they ever deserve or that can ever be redressed.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Dogs are also being used as “guards” for vacant properties. I suspect many are tied up without adequate shelter, food or human contact.

    I hope animal welfare groups are taking notice, as well as realtor’s listing these properties.

  21. M says:

    Having had worked in the mortgage industry approx 10 years ago when the refi boom was on, there was nothing that I didn’t see in the way of fraudulent practices. Sure some of the Loan Officers were clean, but there were other that would make a used car salesman blush. I don’t know how anyone with any sort of moral compass could write these loans. Anyhow, I digress…

    I think that regardless of the situation, if a pet is found in an abandoned foreclosed home the owners should be hunted down and made responsible for their actions, yknow I’m sorry for your hardship, but do you have no morals? Pets are NOT disposable. THIS IS ANIMAL ABUSE THEY MUST BE HELD RESPONSIBLE.

    I even have a hard time that folks are dropping their pets off at shelters because they can no longer care for them, but better at a shelter than left to fend for itself.

  22. claire says:

    I have a website and I think it’s terrible what is being done to animals!!! I hope poeple realise what they’re doing and STOP!!!!

  23. carolyn says:

    I am saddened so many are out of work, have lost their homes, etc., and I hope things get better real soon; but it is hard to understand leaving a helpless animal locked up in a home with no food or water - how does one sleep after such a dispicable act? There are responsible ways to abandon an animal. Humane societies and shelters are one way. Long before the current economic crisis, cruel people have abandoned animals for no other reason than the wish to not be bothered. We need to hold these people accountable. To the woman who believes our early ancestors did not value their animals, think again. Animals had their place in the work ethic, - - they had their jobs. They were sometimes considered members of the family, and sometimes valued employees. Today, caring individuals know that what we do to others (pets included) speaks volumes about who we are! It ought not to be them or us - it ought to be “we” in the most inclusive sense.

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