Pets Left Out In The Cold
One cannot overstate the undeniable misery that comes with losing a home to foreclosure. The sacrifices and the stressful decisions one must make, will weigh heavily on those who find themselves in the unenviable position of having to say goodbye to their dream home.
But a growing, and distinctly unpleasant, side-effect of this social calamity has emerged in recent years. It seems that more and more people are moving away from their homes, and abandoning the family pets in the process. Countless cats, dogs and exotic animals are simply being left behind in empty properties, ostensibly to perish, without food or water. And while the human cost of foreclosure must be incredible, it seems remarkable that people can be so callous as to ignore the welfare of a once-loved pet.
Unfortunately, the cost of keeping a pet may well be outside the scope of someone who has recently lost a home, and many apartments and rental homes forbid tenants to bring cats or dogs. There are, of course, many people who will try to re-house a cherished animal, or at the very least take it an established shelter. However, not all owners are quite so compassionate. Literally thousands of pets have been discovered, in appalling conditions, over the past couple of years, as the number of foreclosures has escalated. It seems that some animal owners consider their pets no less disposable than a worn-out armchair.
Ironically, another issue, that adds to the problem is the increasing number of animal rescue shelters, that are also facing foreclosure. Many of these voluntarily run organizations, being reliant on donations for their continued upkeep, are struggling to survive in a troubled economic environment. Those shelters that still manage to operate, are at full capacity with an increasing number of emaciated and neglected creatures arriving continually. And with many people cutting back on non-essential expenditure, new pets are not high on the list of priorities, resulting in fewer animals being re-housed.
Some misguided owners are releasing their pets into the countryside, or even the local neighborhood, to 'fend for themselves'. Domestic animals with little, or no, experience of surviving without human help can die a long and miserable death, or become nuisance animals, decimating local wildlife or scavenging from garbage bins.
While the tragedy of home foreclosures is ultimately a human issue, and we should not forget about the many people who have unfortunately fallen foul of circumstance, we should also bear in mind the plight of abandoned pets. After all, the victims of this highly emotive and sad offshoot of the financial crisis, have no voice of their own.