The current U.S. financial crisis has the potential to grow into a serious animal welfare issue, warns executive vice president of ASPCA programs, Dr. Stephen Zawistowski. As households across the country are caught in the economic downturn, an estimated 500,000 to one million cats and dogs are at risk of becoming homeless.
“According to national financial estimates, approximately one in 171 homes in the U.S. is in danger of foreclosure due to the subprime mortgage crisis,” Zawistowski observes. “Considering that approximately 63 percent of U.S. households have at least one pet, hundreds of thousands are in danger of being abandoned or relinquished to animal shelters.”
To avoid or ease the heartbreak of losing an animal companion due to economic hardship, the ASPCA urges pet owners who are faced with foreclosure to think of alternatives ahead of time:
- See if friends, family or neighbors can provide temporary foster care for a pet until you get back on your feet.
- If you are moving into a rental property, get written permission in advance that pets are allowed.
- Contact your local shelter or animal rescue group to see if they can take your pet. So many people wait until the day before and then can’t get their pet into the shelter. If a shelter agrees to take your pet, provide medical records, behavior information, and anything else that might help your dog or cat find a new home.
Animal shelters and rescue groups across the country have already seen an increase in homeless pets and a decrease in donation dollars.
The ecomomic down turn is impact horses too, which are being given up and abandoned all over the country. In Salt Lake City, a healthy horse was shot and just left by the side of the road to die.
No matter what kind of animal is in your care, call your local shelter or national animal welfare group to find out what resoures might be available to help you out.