Losing a home to foreclosure can be devastating, but not just for the former human residents. Many pets are the silent sufferers during the process, often abandoned or left for dead. One cat in Colorado surely used up one of his nine lives when he was found alive after being locked in a foreclosed home for two months without food or water.
9News first reported on Wyatt, who was found last week locked inside a foreclosed Westminster, Colo. home after being spotted by a neighbor. When the cat was brought to a local pet adoption center, he only weighed 5.7 pounds.
"I would say that he was probably going to die that day. With his body temperature being that low and how lethargic he was, I didn't see him making it past that day," Tanessa Cline, manager of Almost Home shelter which helped Wyatt the cat survive his ordeal, said to 9News.
But Wyatt is not alone in being abandoned by his owners. On Thursday, in Hempfield Township, Pa., several pets were found dead in an abandoned, foreclosed home, including a cat, pot-bellied pig, iguana and bearded dragon.
Back in 2007, Bloomberg Businessweek reported on a string of animals found nearly starved to death in foreclosed homes around the country just during the month of May: 23 animals were found abandoned in a house in Lake Carmel, N.Y.; 20 birds found in an Ohio home; 24 horses were found on a Oklahoma property; more than 60 cats were left in a home in Cincinnati.
The American Human Association says homeowners should never leave their pets behind when vacating a foreclosed home. Besides being inhumane, it can be illegal, depending on state animal-cruelty laws. AHA offers tips for homeowners who are faced with foreclosure and are unable to take their pets with them:
- Ask family, friends and co-workers if they will care for your pets while you relocate.
- Ask your veterinarian if you can receive low-cost boarding for your pets, or set up a payment plan for boarding costs, while you relocate.
- If you cannot find temporary placement for your pets, visit www.petfinder.com to search for animal shelters and animal rescue organizations in your area where you can surrender ownership of your pets and which do not euthanize adoptable animals. This will provide peace of mind that your pets will be safe until they are adopted into a new home. Some shelters and organizations may offer to house your pets for a period of time (60 days, for example) at no cost, or at a reduced cost, while you find new housing, so you can be reunited with your pets. If you do not reclaim your pets within the time period, they may be placed for adoption. Always ask if this is an option.
- You also can surrender your pets to your local open-admission animal shelter, but be advised that open-admission shelters are required to accept all animals (including strays), and the adoption of your pets cannot be guaranteed. Thus, if the shelter is overcrowded, it may be forced to euthanize your pets.