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By Jim Kouri
Posted 1:00 AM Eastern
January 29, 2008

As the more and more private home foreclosures occur as a result of a slumping housing market and economy, the biggest -- and most silent -- losers are family pets who are being deserted by their owners.

"Economists and analysts are predicting a serious recession and politicians are making empty promises that could actually increase the suffering of Americans. Yet not one of the current presidential candidates in both parties is articulating a solution to the suffering of our most vulnerable creatures -- dogs and cats," warns political analyst Mike Baker.

"We're seeing quite a few animals being surrendered due to economic reasons, including foreclosure," Angie Wood, assistant director of the Naperville, Illinois Humane Society, told the Chicago Tribune.

According to The Daily Green, Wood's shelter is currently caring for a small number of animals that were turned over when their owners lost their homes, including a cat, a black Labrador retriever and a shiba inu.

Several animal welfare experts say the US is witnessing an increase in the number of abandoned animals as a result of the housing crunch. "It seems people are giving up their pets after they are forced to move to a place where animals are forbidden, or when they end up crowding in with family or friends who are not amendable to furry friends. It's also possible some folks just can't afford Fido or Fluffy's chow or vet bills anymore," said Woods


Last year, the number of homes at some level of bank foreclosure in the US more than doubled from the previous year -- one for every 196 homes, according to the tracking company RealtyTrac. In response, the Humane Society has issued a statement this past month saying it is worried about what will happen to many of the country's millions of pets. contributor Devvy Kidd quotes one animal protection professional:

"We're finding too many animals who have starved to death," said Stephanie Shain, director of outreach for the Human Society of the United States. "While some people dump their pets on the street, others go so far as to lock the animal in a closet where their cries for help are harder to hear," she said.

"It can take weeks for an animal to starve to death and desperate scratch and bite marks are usually found on doors and windows. "They will eat anything -- furniture, or carpet or wallboard -- to try to ingest something," Shain said in a telephone interview."

Other Americans are also not waiting for government bureaucrats to address the problem of pet abandonment. They are springing into action to save the most vulnerable among us.

For example, after more than 60 cats were discovered weeks after abandonment in a Cincinnati house in May 2007, a local artist sprung into action. The felines were near death from starvation and soaked in urine, but Robin Moro adopted two, and created a website,, to help the others. Artists around the country created portraits of the rescues, called the Foreclosure Cats Project, and an eBay auction of the resulting work was set up to raise funds for their care.

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Animal welfare experts say that if someone can no longer care for their pets, the best and most humane thing would be to locate a reputable shelter or animal adoption group, rather than just releasing the pets to fend for themselves, or simply leaving them to fate in abandoned dwellings. According to Foreclosure Cats Project, in some cases, people have been able to re-adopt their animals after getting their physical, and financial, houses in order.

Related Article:

1, Animal welfare groups rescue abandoned pets

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"While some people dump their pets on the street, others go so far as to lock the animal in a closet where their cries for help are harder to hear,"