In this current economic climate, the animals are suffering just as much as their humans. Millions of Americans are losing their homes due to foreclosure and their jobs from layoffs, which means the four-legged family members are suffering also.
Desperate families are abandoning their animals at shelters, which are already over populated. It is definitely a trickle down effect. As families begin to scale back in tough economic times, certain “things” have to go…including the family pet. As shelters fill, they reach overpopulated levels and with fewer donations coming in, money is tighter than before.
Some animals aren’t even getting the courtesy of being dropped off somewhere where they can be fed and cared for, even for a short time. Some animals are being dumped and abandoned, left to fend for themselves.
Even worse, some animals are being left at their homes, even after the owners are long gone due to foreclosure. It may be days or sometimes weeks before anyone finds these animals and by then, the outlook is grim.
All of these animals now have a name: foreclosure pets.
Abandoning animals is illegal in most states under anticruelty laws, but often those laws are not rigidly enforced.
But what can we do?
First and foremost…know your limit! Don’t take on the responsibility of an animal if there is even a chance it is going to be a financial burden. Think ahead and wait for that new family pet until you know you can take on the responsibility.
Second, if you are in a financial bind and find you have to give up your dog, cat or whatever, PLEASE take them to a shelter or no-kill facility. Most domesticated animals don’t have the capacity to survive on their own for very long. Cars, wild animals, and disease can take care of Fluffy pretty quickly in the great unknown. And, don’t, and I repeat DON’T leave them locked up in a crate or in an empty home. Have the decency to take them somewhere! It is the least you can do.
Third, have your pet spayed or neutered! I know I know…you hear this all the time, but spaying and neutering helps to cut down on the pet population and gives your pets a longer, healthier life. Nothing is sadder than seeing a older female dog after just having had her fifth or sixth litter. Have you seen those eyes? That dog is exhausted, wore down and probably lacking good health from constantly being pregnant. We don’t do that to our human counterparts, so why is it okay to do it to our canine and feline females?
There are people who can help. Contact your local shelter, no-kill facility, or rescue group. That’s what they are there for. Don’t be embarrased about your situation. Just know that you are doing something right for your pet(s).
There is also a website to help the animals: www.nopawsleftbehind.org. This website offers tips on finding appropriate shelters and foster families, grant information for overwhelmed shelters, and a “paw alert” bulletin system for those who found an abandoned pet.
The Humane Society of the United States has also started a grant program for nonprofit shelters and rescue groups, in hopes of easing the burden of their increased populations.
Pets are there for us through thick and thin, offering no judgment and complete trust. Why can we not show them the same respect?
This blog was by Stacy Busch