Tips for pet owners facing foreclosure

Going through the foreclosure process can be an overwhelming and daunting task. Adding the responsibility of family pets can put some people at their breaking point.

If you are facing foreclosure, don't forget to ensure your pets are well-cared for, even if you are no longer able to care for them.

If you are facing foreclosure, don't forget to ensure your pets are well-cared for, even if you are no longer able to care for them.

For most people, pets are part of the family too. Facing foreclosure is a daunting experience for everyone, including pets. Following a few simple guidelines will help ensure pets and their owners will have a positive future.

If you are facing foreclosure and have pets The American Humane Association suggests some Dos and Don’ts to help alleviate some of the stress:

Do

  • Pets are very dependent on their owners. Take them with you if you have to vacate your home. Having their comfort and companionship may ease the strain of having to move.
  • If you can’t take them with you here are some tips to help find them a good home:
    • ask family, friends, co-workers to foster your pets while you relocate.
    • ask your veterinarian if low-cost boarding is available or if you can work out a payment plan to board your pet while you relocate.
    • If you are unable to find temporary placement visit www.petfinder.com to search for available shelter and rescue organizations to surrender ownership and avoid the euthanizing of your pet. Doing so will provide peace of mind. Also, some shelters may offer free or reduced boarding for certain lengths of time.
    • You can also surrender your pet to the local open-admission animal shelter. Keep in mind though, open-admission shelters accept all animals including strays, there is no guaranteeing your pet will be adopted and if the shelter experiences overcrowding they may euthanize.

Don’t:

  • Don’t leave your pet or set your pet loose if you have to vacate your home. It is illegal and inhumane to do so.
    • State criminal animal-cruelty laws may apply if you leave you pet indoors or release them outdoors. This behavior can be considered abandonment and/or neglect.
    • If you leave your pet and have someone checking on them periodically, you could still be considered in violation of the law. When the mortgage company takes possession of the home the pet will be taken by local animal control. Having this happen leaves your pet at risk of possible euthanasia.

By following a few guidelines, you can help your pet have a better future. Remember to provide for your pets to ensure they are safe. After all, they are part of the family too.

Michigan State University Extension has released a new toolkit for homeowners who are experiencing or have previously experienced foreclosure. This toolkit will equip these individuals and families with tools to help them recover their financial stability, in the case that a recovery of their home is not possible. The toolkit is available to download free at MIMoneyHealth.org.

Michigan State University Extension offers financial management and home ownership education classes. For more information of classes in your area, go to either http://msue.anr.msu.edu/events or www.mimoneyhealth.org.

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