The latest victims of the housing market foreclosures are ones you might not think about. They are family pets. Once a beloved member of the family, after a foreclosure, many pets are left behind without concern for their welfare. The news of starving or dead pets found in foreclosed houses is increasing. When facing a foreclosure, some are just walking away. Pet rescues scramble around to save the pets’ lives and find them homes.
Meet Mocha. He and his sister Latte were left behind in the yard of a foreclosed home. The owner went once a day to feed them. These inside dogs were traumatized by being left outside for over a month with no attention. The once outgoing dogs were meek and afraid when brought to their foster homes. After several days of attention and love their outgoing personalities have returned. Both suffer from separation anxiety and have a hard time when their caretakers leave. These dogs were lucky, rather than being abandoned their owner called a pet welfare group.
Some dogs are abandoned in community parks or locked in community center bathrooms. So many were abandoned in Anthem, an upscale community in Arizona, that Anthem Pets has stepped in to help the community. Anthem Pets is a non profit animal welfare organization with a three fold mission a dog park, community welfare and community education. Anthem Pets has helped return lost pets to their owners and helps pets that need a new home. With foreclosures increasing in the area the group has never been busier.
Barbara Ward-Windgassen, president of Anthem Pets, had this to say when asked about Mocha.
There are groups all over to help but people can’t wait until the last minute. This man called us the morning they locked his house. I had another call with a cat from the parking lot while he was in the moving van. The trauma to the family and the pet is awful and filled with emotion. Reality does not set in right away and people really need to think ahead. But that’s human nature, thinking something will work out.”
Barbara mentioned they have had an increase in “designer dogs”. These are expensive dogs that when facing a foreclosure are left behind. Because of their desirability, these dogs are easier to place. No matter the breed, she would rather people call Anthem Pets rather than just dumping them.
The housing market collapse has people facing the loss of not only their homes through foreclosure but also beloved pets. Some can’t find affordable housing that will allow their pets. Some move across the country and can’t bring their pets along. Telling your child that you are moving and can’t take their best friend is the worst part of a foreclosure.
What about Mocha and Latte given up because of a foreclosure? Latte was adopted right away. As for Mocha, after seeing his picture on the web site I couldn’t resist his face. After one week, he has become a much beloved member of my family. Mocha the 3 year old who loves attention fits right in with my 3 year old who loves attention. This was a happy ending to a story filled with too many unhappy ones.