The Forgotten Foreclosure Victims: Pets

I’ve talked before about how the sub-prime mortgage crisis, and how it’s resultant foreclosures affect all of us in my article Foreclosure Affects New Buyers, Old Buyers and You.

It occurred to me today that there are other victims that many haven’t yet thought about.

When people are forced to foreclose on their homes they can pretty much forget about getting another mortgage. That will force most of these people, these families, into the rental market. This is, of course, going to be terrific for the rental market, which suffered along as everyone with decent credit (and, obviously, many who didn’t) rushed to borrow 110% of their home’s value with zero money down on a 3-year Adjustable Rate Mortgage, and left many complexes with higher vacancy rates than ever before. Their time has come…

But. Most rental properties don’t allow pets. Whether they’re a large conglomerate of apartment complexes or a single unit condominium owner the reasons are mostly the same: fear of damage, fear of being sued, not enough space, etc. You can find properties that will accept pets, but they usually only allow the the lives-in-a-fishbowl or poops-in-a-box variety. Finding one that will accept dogs is not nearly as easy. Along with three-or-more bedroom units they’re likely the first to be snapped up. That leaves dogs, quite literally, out in the cold.

So what is a homeowner on the brink of financial collapse, about to be homeless, homeless, to do when faced with the prospect of choosing between no home for their family or having a home but leaving their pet behind?

Now in addition to the emotional turmoil of leaving their homes, their neighborhoods and their financial security behind, people are choosing to leave their pets behind, too. I certainly would not want to be the mother who, in the face of her own heartbreak, has to tell her children that their beloved mutt – the one that they fell asleep cuddled up with as babies, the one that accepted the pokes and tail pulls when they were toddlers, the one that waits by the door every day for them to come home from school – has to be given away because they just can’t bring them to their new home. I’d never get over it.

And the poor pets. They don’t understand. All they know is they’re not with the ones who love them. They have fear and uncertainty, and they miss their families. If they’re lucky they find a new home with new people to love. If not…I just don’t want to think about it.

I just couldn’t do it. I honestly think we’d move wherever we needed to before we’d let our dear dog go. She’s one of us…

I also don’t want to think about the others. The people who don’t take care of their dogs, at the very least making sure they are taken to a shelter. I read a story today about someone who just left their dog behind. Alone in the house they abandoned. No food or water.

How could they do that? How could they? I think that person deserves whatever they get and more. People (and I use that term loosely) that would do that should be shot. They should lose all of their teeth. They should develop open sores all over their bodies so that they are as ugly on the outside as they are on the inside. Then they should die a slow, agonizing death that takes many years, so they they get a taste of what waits for them in the afterlife.

And there’s nothing we can do about it, either.

If you are thinking about adding a pet to your life, please make sure you’re prepared to take care of it for the long haul. And please don’t spend thousands on a puppy mill puppy – go to the Humane Society and save a life.

Please.

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