Foreclosures Threaten Pets As Well As People
While many animal shelters already struggle on a day-to-day basis to care for the millions of unwanted animals that are dropped at their door, the numbers have grown to an almost unmanageable degree over the last few years. The culprit for this surge in animal homelessness is a testimonial to these trying times: human homelessness.
The rise in foreclosures over the last few years has been paralleled by a spike in the number of animals that are being brought to shelters for what most owners are listing as “moving reasons”. In the last year alone, foreclosure rates have risen 15% in the United States (a total of about 300,000 properties), while almost three million homes were threatened with foreclosure. And with the economy continuing in a state of recession, these numbers will continue to go up over the coming years.
So what does this mean for animal shelters that are already overflowing? Unfortunately, it means that most shelters can expect more of the same. While there are no exact numbers on how many animals are coming in from foreclosed homes (since many people don’t give an accurate reason), shelters have noted a dramatic increase in the number of homeless pets they take in, either from owners dropping them off, or from pets that are simply abandoned outdoors or in empty houses. And limited public funding means that shelters have to rely on public donations to bear the brunt of rising costs for care and housing of these animals. Unfortunately, a recession also means that less people are adopting from or donating to shelters. And this all leads to the most unfortunate outcome, euthanasia.
Luckily, there is a lot you can do to help. Even if you don’t have the time, space, or funding to take on the permanent care of an animal, you can still donate money to your local shelter or online at www.aspca.org/donate. A small donation each month could make a world of difference for one lucky animal. Most shelters will also accept donations of food, blankets, and toys. Or if you don’t have the money, donate some time. You can volunteer at your local shelter (anything from clerical work to grooming to caring for pets until they go to their adoptive home) or put together a fundraiser to help out. You can make a big difference without spending a dime and you’ll have the reward of knowing that you helped save a life.
Guest post by Sarah of Maxi Dress Mania.