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 their pet until they get back on their feet.
- If they are moving into a rental property, get written permission in advance that pets are allowed.
- Contact their local animal shelter, humane society or rescue group before they move. If a shelter agrees to take the pet, they should provide medical records, behavior information and anything else that might help the pet find a new home.
“Everyone is being affected by the current economic crisis in some way,” says ASPCA President & CEO Ed Sayres. “Community animal shelters and rescue groups across the country may soon be seeing an increase in homeless pets or a decrease in the donations they rely on.”
We urge ASPCA News Alert readers to help in any way that you can:
- Adopt a homeless pet.
- Donate used blankets, towels or even tennis balls to your local animal shelter.
- Foster adoptable animals until they find their forever homes.
- Help community members who may be struggling to take care of their pets.
For more information on pets in the economic crisis, please visit our pressroom.
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