Dogs And Cats Feel The Foreclosure Crisis, End Up In Shelters Or Worse

As the foreclosure crisis continues, pets are losing their homes and their families as cash-strapped humans can no longer afford to care for their dogs and cats.

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

With the arrival of spring and a deepening recession, shelters already bulging with pets that have lost their humans and homes through foreclosure now have the added strain of new litters of puppies and kittens.

Euthanization figures at shelters in two of metro Atlanta’s largest counties are proof they have reached their limit.

“This,” said animal rescuer Stacey Hall, “is as bad as I’ve ever seen it.”

Bad all over, too. A national organization that charts animal issues reports that across the country shelters have overflowing inventories. Adding to rescue societies’ problems: the escalating price of gas continues to cut into their budgets.

Chicagoland’s Southtown Star recently wrote about the South Suburban Humane Society, which provides free pet food to needy owners fourth Thursday of each month. They’ve added the second Thursday of each month due to increased demand.

“We used to hand out food from noon to about 3:30 (p.m.), until supplies were gone,” said Emily Gruszka, executive director of the Chicago Heights facility. “But the last two months, we’ve opened up to find 10 to 15 people already waiting in line. And we’ve had to close by 12:30 (p.m.) because we’d run out of food already.”

Gruszka says that with energy prices and the economy in the state that they are, people consider pets and the $1,000 or so they cost per year, to be a luxury. “Few families can look at the economy now and think, ‘I have an extra $1,000 to spend,’ ” she said.

Need for donated pet food rising
[Southtown Star]
Dogs, cats feel the bite of home foreclosures [A J-C](Thanks, j!)
(Photo: Bob Andres)

Comments

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  1. apotheosis says:

    Well clearly, the dogs should’ve paid more attention to their finances before taking out a mortgage they couldn’t afford to repay.

  2. rdytmire says:

    I’ve had to drive away two packs of stray , obviously abandoned, dogs here is Roswell, ATL in the last 3 weeks.
    It’s worrying with two small kids in the house.

    Have not seen this sort of stuff since the 70’s.

  3. gnappulicious says:

    this is just plain cruel on the part of the owners. animals don’t have to be that expensive if you don’t buy them ridiculous gadgets, hyper-expensive pet food, grooming, etc.

  4. ahwannabe says:

    “Why-are-we-caring-about-animals-when-PEOPLE-are-losing-their-homes” comment in 3…2…

  5. Snarkysnake says:

    Fantasy- A pack of starving dachshunds finds the still conscious body of Angelo Mozilo (CEO of Countrywide) and has him for supper.

    Just kidding, Angelo- It was a pack of Rottweilers…

  6. apotheosis says:

    @gnappulicious:
    In fairness, tho, it might have less to do with owners buying the animals expensive crap, and more to do with owners being forced to move into apartment complexes or other rental properties that don’t allow pets.

  7. gnappulicious says:

    @apotheosis:

    i know….i did feel a little bit guilty after writing that. i do have a lot of sympathy for people who have lost their homes due to shady companies like countrywide. when helpless animals are drawn into the picture, it makes me feel even worse.

  8. SkokieGuy says:

    Huge animal lover here (and have rescued many animals) and already knew about this. It makes me furious.

    I just wonder about the choices people are making and is giving up an animal the absolute final cost cutting choice they have? Already turned off cable? Prepaid cellphone for emergencies only? No morning Starbucks?

    Generic dog or cat food is pretty darn cheap. You can buy a 40 lb bag of (crappy) dog food for under $10.00.

    I think peoople are people are giving up animals as a convenience rather than a neccesity.

  9. b612markt says:

    and the USA continues it’s slow unstoppable decline into losing “world superpower” status.

  10. strangeffect says:

    Ugh, just awful.

  11. We have a Dog, and a Cat, and don’t spend $1000 a year unless they have an unexpected illness (which is rare though did happen this year).

    We love our animals, and having taken responsibility for them don’t consider them a “luxury”. When you take up the care of an animal you are making a commitment. I feel terrible for the people who are in a position where they are forced to abandon that commitment, but more so I feel worse for the Animal.

  12. apotheosis says:

    @SkokieGuy:

    I think peoople are people are giving up animals as a convenience rather than a neccesity.

    Anyone who’d rate luxuries as equal or more important than the pet doesn’t need to be a pet owner anyway. It’s not an accessory, and if they view the animal that way they’re already set up to fail as an owner.

  13. statnut says:

    @SkokieGuy: No offense, but arent they a convenience? I wouldnt say a dog is a necessity, but maybe thats just growing up in NYC.

  14. Animals that you have taken as a pet are not a luxury. They are a commitment that can be kept with a minimum of expense with some common sense (baring “exotic” animals).

    Science Diet is not a requirement. Animals can survive on rotten food, and so the cheaper foods available from your grocer (while not the best) are still nutritious enough to keep them as healthy as most Americans.

  15. apotheosis says:

    Wow, talk about timing.

  16. bologna_wallet says:

    Just like these owners couldn’t afford a house but got it anyway, they made a committment to owning a pet when they shouldn’t have. Now it’s tragic that the pets are the ones to suffer.

  17. battra92 says:

    @ahwannabe: Well, honestly a pet is a luxury item unless you live on a farm in which case they can have uses (cats killing mice in the barn, dogs rounding up sheep etc.) so it’s not surprising people are giving them up.

    Yep, if I have kids I will be one of those mean awful parents who will NOT under any circumstances be buying their kid a cat or dog.

  18. gnappulicious says:

    @TakingItSeriously:

    um, last i checked, most americans weren’t healthy. ;)

  19. apotheosis says:

    @TakingItSeriously:

    the cheaper foods available from your grocer (while not the best) are still nutritious enough to keep them as healthy as most Americans.

    …probably not the most convincing comparison.

  20. VikingP77 says:

    Pets are not luxuries. We have two small dogs and we don’t spend anywhere near $1000 a year on them. We have money set aside for medical emergencies. Oh and we rescued them both!
    Shouldn’t have bought a house you couldn’t afford and shouldn’t have bought animals you couldn’t afford.

  21. foxbat2500 says:

    People are bad.

  22. apotheosis says:

    @battra92:

    honestly a pet is a luxury item unless you live on a farm

    Seriously?

    if I have kids I will be one of those mean awful parents who will NOT under any circumstances be buying their kid a cat or dog.

    I’m no bleeding-heart hippie bunny-hugger, but if you think a living creature is a luxury you might want to consider the wisdom of having kids in the first place.

  23. Bladefist says:

    @SkokieGuy: I’m an animal lover too. Hell 2 of my 5 tv channels are animal channels.

    I don’t care how bad it gets, you would see me walking the streets homeless w/ my dogs. Wouldn’t give them up for the world.

  24. DeadlySinz says:

    I was watching this very thing on the news. Correct me if i’m wrong on some of the facts i’m not 100% following this stuff.

    The news said basically homeowners are leaving their beloved pets in the homes alone without food/water or proper care, I believe they said the animals were property of the house, i could be wrong here cause its the media (go figure), and when shelters and other officials come to see if the pets are there, the animals are usually dead or starving to death.

    $1000/year cost to upkeep a dog ? ya right, less then that, the first year is pretty right because of cost of vet and shots but after the shots are down upkeep lowers to meer $100, depending on food prices and toys.

  25. Bladefist says:

    Also, I hear walmart gives away dog food that has damaged packaging.

  26. kaptainkk says:

    @ahwannabe: “Why-are-we-caring-about-animals-when-PEOPLE-are-losing-their-homes” comment in 3…2…

    Because people suck today are narcissistic beyond belief.

  27. sean77 says:

    Children are luxuries too.. but that doesn’t prevent poor people from having a lot of them.

  28. Myrddraal says:

    To many dogs… worldwide food shortage… two birds one stone (or two girls one cup depending on your view point)

    /sarcasm

    Seriously owning an animal is not like owning a boat. An animal is a commitment and you should at least have enough guts to put the thing down if you can’t take care of it rather then just dumping your problems on others. People who do that are no better then Countrywide.

  29. bohemian says:

    This is most likely due to people being forced to move into apartments or rental housing. That is a vastly different scenario than deciding between fido and Starbucks. Most people consider pets like part of their family so giving them up has to be a major act of desperation or no other options.

    What really annoys me is that this is a real sign of desperation in enough people that animal shelters are seeing it. All of this crap that is happening is going to start having some larger negative effects at some point. I expect to see suicides go up in the next year at the very least.

  30. nataku8_e30 says:

    buying a pet = luxury
    keeping a pet != luxury

    also, 2 cats don’t cost more than a few hundred a year, even with vet bills, toys, the occasional treat and science diet.

  31. samurailynn says:

    I have three cats – two from the humane society and one is a stray that adopted us. We don’t spend $1000 a year on the three together. I will admit that we are not completely up to date on shots and vaccines, but they live indoors and no other pets visit our house. Two of the cats were already fixed, and we had to get the third one fixed.

    I hate it when people ask me if I want another cat because their cat just had kittens. I’m sorry… were you breeding your cat? No. You just didn’t get it fixed because you didn’t want to/were lazy/couldn’t afford to. Yes, kittens are very cute, but when my local animal shelter houses an average of 120 cats, I think it would be best not to let your pets go around having litters like… well, like, animals.

  32. bologna_wallet says:

    @nataku83: Yeah, but cats are evil

  33. apotheosis says:

    @Bladefist:

    I don’t care how bad it gets, you would see me walking the streets homeless w/ my dogs. Wouldn’t give them up for the world.

    Truth.

  34. Sucko-T says:

    Here’s the worst dog foreclosure story I’ve heard:

    An owner who knew he was going to get foreclosed on got two huge dogs and filled the bathtub completely full of food and water. The dogs lived there for a month making a disgusting mess before they died. They died and sat there for a few more weeks. The house was so bad the guy couldn’t clean it. I don’t what the bank ended up doing, but I’m guessing they didn’t turn a profit on that one.

  35. katylostherart says:

    yeah if you have a cat or a dog, search for housing a bit harder. it’s just cruel to get an animal and not have a contingency plan for it. i lived with someone who brought home more than 20 animals without talking to me about it. it cost about $250/mo and i was doing the caretaking despite not having brought them home. so when i left, all those poor critters had to go to other homes (and i was the one finding new homes for them not the person who got them in the first place) and it broke MY heart.

    don’t get a pet if you aren’t sure you’re willing to go through hell and highwater to keep it with you. people that don’t spay animals piss me off. people that breed them after buying a purebred from a pet store (puppy mill) and not doing any sort of actual research into how to breed something not just produce puppies are disgusting.

    it does not cost $1000 for average pet care. sick, geriatric, accident maybe, but one healthy pet $20/mo food, $100 for shots and check up which you can even get free sometimes through shelter events.

    what dipshits.

  36. Nicholeigh says:

    Hmmm, I just did the math and I spend almost $1,000 a year on dog food alone, but that is because I have 2 rather large dogs. If it came down to my cable tv, cell phone, or someother non-necessary item and the dogs I would most certainly choose my dogs. Seems to me the people are giving up their pets shouldn’t have been pet owners in the first place. When you adopt an animal you are taking responsibility for it, for life not just till you happen to get tired of it or can’t afford it anymore.

  37. battra92 says:

    @apotheosis: I view animals as possessions. People have value to me. In my philosophy the sum of all animals from Chimps to Amoeba combined don’t equal the value of a diseased junkie living on the streets.

    I’m not saying kill all animals or abuse them, I’m just kind of saying that when it comes down to housing or animals, well it’s a no contest.

  38. I have 3 dogs.. and I’d go homeless before I let them go to anyone but immediate family. At this point my remorse for people in shitty loans in waning, you can only fuck up your finances so much before you need to suck it up, stick to a shoestring budget and take care of yourself AND the living things that depend on you.

  39. fluiddruid says:

    @SkokieGuy: I’m an animal lover, too, but you can’t just consider the cost of food. Finding a rental that allows dogs is very hard and usually substantially more expensive. If people are forced out of their homes, they have to go someplace, and they may not be able to find a place that allows dogs.

  40. apotheosis says:

    @battra92:

    I view animals as possessions.

    Don’t misunderstand, it’s not that I’m advocating a point of view that puts animals on equal footing with humans, because I’m damned if anyone’s going to take my steak away from me.

    I think nataku83 summed it up nicely; the decision to purchase a pet might be a luxury, but once that pet’s yours, it’s a family member, and it’s your responsibility. There’s an emotional connection there (or at least there should be). All the more so because unlike that diseased junkie you mention, the pet doesn’t have any say in the matter with regard to its fate.

    That being said, I admit to a logical inconsistency with regard to the “living creature” thing. A goldfish is a living creature but if it comes down to a choice between goldfish ownership and being homeless, the goldfish is gonna move in with the Ty-D-Bowl man.

    Call it a prejudice towards mammals, or something. Cats and dogs are just different.

  41. katylostherart says:

    @fluiddruid: substantially more expensive? i remember moving my cat around the country with me and the highest pet deposit i paid was $250. that’s not substantial. there are plenty of places that have a one time pet deposit. i’ve never actually seen a place that charges more per month for a pet and there are almost always alternatives than just dropping a critter off at a shelter and saying “good luck” as you wave goodbye.

  42. camman68 says:

    @nataku83: Buying a Pet may be a luxury but keeping a pet is definitely NOT a luxury. It is a responsibility.

    Once you have obtained an animal (whether it is through rescue, purchase, gift, etc), it is your responsibility to care for the animal – or to find it a proper home.

    No Exceptions!

  43. @Myrddraal: put them down? wtf?!? no…if you cant afford to have a pet then dont get one. same with children. why arent people euthanizing their fucking stupid kids?? itll save a shitload of money.

    @camman68: word. my cats mean more to me than anything in the world. …the only reason im even bothering to stay alive, really.

  44. Parting says:

    @apotheosis: It’s preferable that he doesn’t have any pets. I will like him much more, than people that let their pets breed and then throw them on the streets.

    A pet is an long ”relationship” and there are always alternatives in the meantime.

  45. Parting says:

    @silverundertone: It’s still better to euthanize than just throw the poor pet on the street.

  46. camman68 says:

    a couple observations:

    1. people with pets tend to live longer and have happier lives.

    2. You can tell a lot about a person based on their attitudes towards animals.

  47. Parting says:

    @battra92: You are still responsible to those who you tamed. If you can ”dispose” of an animal on a simple budget tightening, then you’re not a person that can be trusted on other matters.

    And to rephrase you : ”No possession in the world equates to a life of a breathing, living animal, that relies on you in every way.”

    You just reminded me of a freak that went around poisoning people’s dogs for fun in the neighborhood. His justification : ”They are possessions, they should not exist.” *hands still itching with the desire to pitchfork the bastard*

    And my dog’s life is more important for me than the life of some drug dealer (still I didn’t adopt a drug dealer, so that all pretty relative).

  48. morganlh85 says:

    @battra92: But most people aren’t deciding between pets and housing. They are deciding between pets and venti lattes. Pets and an iPhone plan. Pets and premium digital cable. You dump your cable, nobody gets hurt. You dump your dog, and you’re leaving a burden on the already financially strapped rescues and shelters, which isn’t fair.

  49. @Victo: its better to find them a decent home, or just not get one in the first place.

    i dont understand the mentality of people who just throw their pets away. its beyond cruel, and once the animal is a part of your idea of family..i believe it should be there to stay. ill never get rid of or euthanize my pets, regardless of the situation.

  50. mynameisnate says:

    This post reminds me of a Ghandhi quote, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”.

  51. @Victo: “You are still responsible to those who you tamed. If you can ”dispose” of an animal on a simple budget tightening, then you’re not a person that can be trusted on other matters.”

    so true. even in more serious situations, i really do look down on someone who can decide to just throw their animals away. they *do* have feelings and no matter how much of a twatwaffle their owner may be, they really love them.

    plus, as has been said before…they arent that expensive to keep. and i would rather starve to feed my cats/birds..and know that they are ok, than throw them in a shelter or on the street and gorge on lattes and sushi.

    @camman68: “2. You can tell a lot about a person based on their attitudes towards animals.”

    that is one of the truest statements ive heard all week.

  52. Catebb says:

    This is slightly off topic (consumer wise), more of a PSA. I volunteer with several different animal rescue organizations. (My avatar is a rescue :) ) There have been a couple cases of families moving to apartments and thinking they needed to rehome their pets. The Humane Society was able to help several find pet friendly complexes, and in one case, a volunteer acted as a mediator with a local landlord so the family could keep their dog. I hear through the grapevine that more humane societies and rescues are taking unusual steps such as acting as mediators to stem the tide of homeless animals, holding food drives for non-shelter dogs, arranging long term fosters, etc. So if anyone is faced with such a decision, please contact your local rescues/shelters and see what assistance might be available.

    “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

    Mahatma Gandhi

  53. PinkBox says:

    Psh. I’d live on the streets myself before I’d make my pets do so.

    If anything, people need to try to find GOOD homes for their pets if they find they are unable to keep them. Pets are NOT disposable, and deciding to acquire a pet shouldn’t be done on a whim.

  54. realserendipity says:

    I totally believe this happening primarily because we actually just picked up our new dog from a rescue operation and she was skin and bones. We’ve had her for two weeks and already shes the most well behaved pet Ive ever owned.
    And Im with everyone else who said they would go homeless with thier pets before they would ever give them up. They are part of the family and when I took them in, it was a promise that I would protect them. (Ive got two rescued dogs and a rescued cat)

  55. MustyBuckets says:

    Some people might say my family has four dogs, I would say I have four shorter, furrier family members. I hate it when I see people treating Fido as a dog, only fun once in a while. Dogs are such wonderful loving beings that to think of them being put in a shelter is sad, but worse when I hear of people locking them in their foreclosed homes alone.

    I agree with nataku83: buying an animal is a luxury, keeping an animal is not. Adopting an animal is saving a life.

    I can’t say I feel the same about cats though, but the constant sneezing and swelling of my air passages kinda puts a damper on our relationship.

  56. Speak says:

    @apotheosis, @SkokieGuy: I’m in agreement with apotheosis in that I think it probably has to do more with people’s new housing situation. I know very few rental places that allow dogs or cats or dogs above a certain weight limit. After paying first and last month’s rent and a security deposit, there might not be enough left for an additional pet deposit. As a renter, I’ve put off getting a dog for years now. I imagine these former pet owners never even thought they’d lose their homes much less their pets. (Though it doesn’t excuse the people who just let their pets loose to fend for themselves.)

  57. Speak says:

    @Catebb: That’s great that these organizations you volunteer for have stepped up to help out. I wonder if any shelters or humane societies are also helping these same people get their pets spayed or neutered. I know from volunteering with my local humane society that the free/low-cost spay-and-neuter service they provide is much in demand in the lower-income neighborhoods, but I think even more residents would use the service if they knew about it.

  58. With shelters already operating at their limits in most parts of the country, even a small increase from families who can’t afford to keep the pet, or who are forced into housing that doesn’t accept animals, can equate to a huge strain on the shelters.

    We have two cats, and one is special needs. We’re easily spending $100/month for food and meds at this point, plus we’re at the vet about monthly right now. (I think we’re looking at the beginning of the end; he’s older, but it still sucks balls.) My vet is working to keep our costs down, but it’s extremely expensive. We’re not in trouble, but with gas prices what they are and the economy so bad, plus our local taxes rising since the city government’s in as bad shape as everyone else, it’s definitely a serious expense. I *don’t* know what we would do if we had housing problems; pet deposits are rarely under $500 here and not that many complexes welcome them.

    I have a friend who just had her power turned off last week; she had some unfortunate situations that left her abandoned by her dickweed of a husband with two children, a dog, and an incomplete college education 5 years ago. She’s busted her ass to give those kids a safe and stable home with no child support and high school diploma. She’s done EVERYTHING right, and she was starting not just from zero but from negative numbers with two kids in tow. But she just doesn’t have the cushion or support system to weather the bumps in the economy, and the rising cost of gas has her robbing Peter to pay Paul. I am quite sure she has questioned whether she can continue to afford the dog.

  59. SexierThanJesus says:

    @apotheosis: Winner. Close the thread now.

  60. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    I have three cats… one feral, one shelter, and one taken over from someone who was threatening to dump him because he fought with her other cats (what an insult, he’s very sweet to mine). We take our cats to the best cat vet in the city, one of the top five in the country. Their prices are so reasonable given the quality of care. I buy healthy, organic food for them, which has lowered the cost of vet bills considerably, and I learned how to successfully treat a lot of their common illnesses (cat flu, constipation, fleas, and so forth) on my own. The youngest can use the human toilet in the spare bathroom, and I’m hoping the others will learn from her.

    I live on the Gulf Coast and I have included them in my disaster preparations. They each have their own carriers, tags, and enough stored food and medicines for three months.

    Although it may seem to some of you that we spend a lot of money, we really don’t. We don’t come close to the thousand-dollar mark for all three of them per year, even taking into consideration all the above.

  61. Catebb says:

    @Speak: You are completely right about more people needing to become aware of the services. We are very lucky in Western NC to have the Humane Alliance [humanealliance.org] offering extremely low cost speutering. The rescues also give vouchers for even cheaper rates or in some cases no-cost altering. Rescue groups in the rural counties even have transport for the pets to and from the clinic in Asheville. Lots of help for people who need it, but it does little good when people don’t know about it.

  62. JayDeEm says:

    I love my cats, both of whom were rescued from shelters, one of whom is sleeping in my lap as we speak. I can feed and care for both of them for a month for less than the cost of going out to dinner with my wife. I don’t think I could let them go no matter how bad things got, they are family as far as I’m concerned.

  63. DoktorGoku says:

    It’s actually because of this situation that two different houses on my street just let their dogs go. One of the dogs, a super-sweet Maltese and Shih-Tzu mix, ended up on our front porch, starving and covered in fleas- this was over a month ago. I took him in, cleaned him up, etc. The original owners wouldn’t take him back. I ended up getting him shots, chipped, registered, etc. Last night, the owner’s girlfriend happened to be driving by, as they live on our street, and demanded the dog back- apparently, they have come into some more cash lately.

    I quickly told her that wasn’t going to happen, and showed her the part of the dog’s new vet records that said the dog looked as though he had been abused.

    They left me alone pretty quickly, and now I’ve got a new family member. :P

  64. sponica says:

    Just my two cents, when my dad left the armed forces and we lost base housing and hadn’t yet found a house of our own, we had to find a temporary home for our dog. Sometimes circumstances are beyond your control, seriously when we got the dog in 1984 was my father prepared for the day the Cold War ended and the government buying out his contract in 1992?

    And where I come from, pets aren’t luxuries. They are like members of the family.

  65. ladycrumpet says:

    That picture is really upsetting. Where the hell did that come from?

    It really sickens me that people give up their pets over other less necessary costs, but even worse is abandoning them instead of being responsible enough to take them to the shelter.

  66. acasto says:

    If my memory serves me right, isn’t this the same reason John Lithgow had to kick Harry back to the woods? Either that or he kept drinking his beer. I’ll have to watch that again.

  67. timmus says:

    Finding a rental that allows dogs is very hard and usually substantially more expensive. If people are forced out of their homes, they have to go someplace, and they may not be able to find a place that allows dogs.

    There you go. People are missing the point… this is not a budgeting issue; it’s a moving issue. Extremely few rental properties will take anything beyond a cat or two… and there’s not a slew of cheaper rental places given all the economic troubles.

  68. How can we expect people who weren’t responsible enough to make an affordable home purchase to be responsible enough to care for their animals? If you can’t afford to contribute to a financial buffer to help ride out inevitable tough times, then you can’t afford to have a pet. Or children. They pay the real price for financial fecklessness.

  69. VikingP77 says:

    @DoktorGoku: Bless you!

  70. Sanveann says:

    What a sad story :(

    I have genuine sympathy for people who truly can’t keep their pets because they’re forced to move, lost their job, etc. Sometimes, the money really just isn’t there, and the best thing is for the pet to go to a new home that can better provide for it. (Obviously, this is NOT best accomplished by dumping your pet by the side of the road.)

    However, I do think too many people just don’t make their pets a priority. If it’s between feeding your pet and your kid, sure, you’re gonna pick your kid. But if it’s between feeding your pet and keeping HBO, then, well, suck it up and go without “Entourage.”

  71. Sanveann says:

    @DoktorGoku: Poor baby! Bless you for taking him in :) (Our beloved Maltese passed away more than a year ago, and I still miss her every day.)

  72. @Bladefist: This is likely the only time I will ever agree with you. When it comes to pet ownership there are 2 kinds of people, those who commit to their animals with all their hearts, and those who view pets as accessories to be cast off, traded in, or left behind once the novelty has worn off.

    I have been homeless with my cat and dog, it was only for a week, about 4 years ago, and I had a car to sleep in, but there was absolutely no other option as far as I was concerned. Where I go, my pets go.

    A person who “has” to give up thier pets because they can’t find a rental is really just someone who can’t find a pet-friendly rental that they think is “good” enough for them. The new carpet, gated entries and fancy landscaping and social status available in no-pet rentals are just more important to some people I guess.

    And yay for me, I adopted a kitten just 2 days ago. 10 week old male. My thighs look like the thighs of an emo cutter teenager chick, all sliced up from him jumping all up on me. I’m thinking of naming him Frazzle McHavok.

  73. Concerned_Citizen says:

    I find it all the people that are deeply outraged by this odd. You do know there are people in the world starving and dying, but for some reason you are upset that a dog was put down. I say we just become realistic and ship the dogs to the starving countries where they will help fight hunger.

  74. ahwannabe says:

    @Concerned_Citizen: …1…0…Thank you for playing.

  75. Superawesomerad says:

    Why are we caring about animals when PEOPLE are losing their homes?

  76. Sanveann says:

    @Concerned_Citizen: @Superawesomerad: Yes, because it’s impossible to care about two things at once. *Insert eyeroll here*

  77. @Superawesomerad: People have the advantage of opposable thumbs and rational thought? Animals don’t get adjustable rate mortgages on homes they can’t really afford?

  78. BillsBurg says:

    I’ve got a Belgian Malnois, rescued, that costs me about $500 a year and a few bucks for some tough thick nylon cord that he and I tug on. I travel about 8-10 times per year for business, cheaper (and a heck of alot more fun) than an alarm system when I’m away and the wife and 3 kiddies are home!

  79. Snakeophelia says:

    I volunteer for a shelter right outside of Philly, and I can’t say that we’ve seen an increase in cats left behind by people who can’t afford them. On the other hand, we’ve always been a rather choosy shelter and we’re no-kill, so it may be that our volume is staying the same while the ASPCA and PACA and Morris are getting swamped.

    I will say that I think we are seeing a decrease right now, compared to last year, in the number of people who want to adopt a cat, and that’s worrying.

  80. @Concerned_Citizen: “I find it all the people that are deeply outraged by this odd.”

    Hmm, inability to feel empathy for animals is considered a major symptom of sociopathy, so it makes sense that you find it odd.

  81. ohiomensch says:

    @VikingP77: I have 3 cats and we go through a bag of science diet a month, that’s $360.00 a year, not a thousand. Shots are another $300 a year. Still not a $1000. That must be one fat or cat dog eating $1000 worth of food.

  82. dogandmusiclover says:

    I like my dogs better than I do most people. Wherever I go, they go.

    The end.

  83. Sanveann says:

    @ohiomensch: Depends on the size of the pet, too. We have a German shepherd who eats an ultrapremium food, and we probably spend $1000 a year on him, if you add up his food bill and regular vet costs. (And, of course, the fact that he managed to somehow get a giant gash in his paw on Sunday night, which necessitated a trip to the emergency vet. Another $600 or so there. :P )

  84. Womblebug says:

    I have three puppies in my garage right now, from a litter of five (two have been adopted), that were turned in at five weeks of age with their mother by their owner to be euthanized. I have a pit bull upstairs that I pulled from a shelter where she was turned in by her owner’s daughter because her owner was going to shoot her – he kept her puppies, though. When I was at the pound getting mom and puppies and washing fleas off them, I had to pass by the other owner turn ins that were going to be euthanized later that day. I had no more room.

    Yes, the economy has made the situation worse. But this is nothing new. We euthanize between 3 and 4 million cats and dogs in this country every year (HSUS figures). The vast majority of these animals are healthy and adoptable. And it’s the lucky ones that are turned in to animal control. As someone else mentioned, they’re seeing an increasing number of cases of animals being abandoned inside yards or houses with no food or water.

    Sorry for the rant. But people suck. Not all. But enough.

  85. battra92 says:

    @Victo: See that’s where we differ. Nothing will change my way of thinking on pets. If you want them, that’s your business but I will never have one (outside of my goldfish that is)

    Honestly, it really upsets me that a lot of people are getting pets because of some vague idea that they need one. If you’re in a situation where you got a junk loan and now are having to be evicted or what not and need to move into an apartment then your problems are bigger than a bag of Iams could cover.

    When it comes to the end of the day, pets aren’t humans. I know there are people who choose their lattes over human life but to say that someone has to go homeless in order to keep a pet is ludicrous.

  86. battra92 says:

    @rdytmire: Call Atticus!

  87. Inglix_the_Mad says:

    My wife and I have two dogs, a purebred Cairn Terrier and a mutt. The mutt is a rescue puppy, that the previous renters of an apartment left behind with mom and 4 sisters. She’s was a cute little puppers and is all growed up now.

    For anyone that’s thinking of adopting a “rescue” dog, I have one warning. Please be sure you’ll be ready to put in a LOT of time and energy. Our little Kaylee still has separation anxiety issues (you leave for 10 minutes to run to the store and she goes BONKERS). That’s not so bad, but the training is a bit more difficult often times. Other dogs can have other issues, make sure you have the patience as well. The older dogs will be depressed at first because they lost their pack. That takes a LOT of love to correct.

    Still, Kaylee is my little puppers and I wouldn’t give her up for the world. The General Tyberius Rex is my wife’s, and though he’s frustrating, she loves him.

    I recommend that anyone check out a shelter for a dog to adopt rather than buying from a puppy mill (as some breeder despicably are).

  88. BlondeGrlz says:

    I have a cat living in my game room right now that one of my neighbor’s abandoned. I thought it was just lost but after putting up “found” notices and asking around I learned it’s owners had moved away. Poor kitty was staving, sick, and covered in parasites. I already have two shelter cats and a dog but who can leave a starving cat out in the rain?

    I called my vet, who suggested the Animal Welfare League. The AWL agreed to split the vet costs with me – up to $160 – and the vet did all Kitty’s dental work for free (all her canine teeth were broken and/or infected). I get a 15% discount on all my future bills because I adopted a stray and even with her special food and medication I’m only out $120. There are kind people who are willing to help if you just ask. I wish people would think harder before adopting an animal.

  89. dogandmusiclover says:

    “When it comes to the end of the day, pets aren’t humans.”

    Really? WOW! I NEVER KNEW THAT!

  90. DashTheHand says:

    I’d rather eat dog food along with my dog or cut back on my own rations than make him starve or give him up. Hell, I’d go squirrel hunting before I made my dog suffer. Then again I’d never let it get that bad because I’d take up a second job working at McDonalds if it was ever that bad that I couldn’t afford to feed my family. Not that it is, but the people that make their pets suffer is just intolerable.

  91. DashTheHand says:

    Also, my dog has required some frequent vet visits lately, due to having demodectic mange and the vets inability to cure it. The bills have been pretty steep, but then hes part of our family and we’d never give him up. Aside from those vet bills, I probably spend $30-40 a month on food for him and a couple chew bones and a new squeaky toy to replace the ones hes torn up. I’d rather him be happy since they already have such a short life and I can go without a few luxury purchases per month.

  92. failurate says:

    Abandoning pets inside houses that are no longer inhabited and without food or water… Who do these people think they are, college students?!?

    Seriously folks… check out any college town’s humane shelter at the end of the spring semester. You will see some pretty sick and sad stuff.

    Quite a few people out there make some pretty disgusting, selfish, and short sighted choices when it comes to pets.

  93. i rescued one of my cats from the shelter..he had been there for 3 months. turned out to be one of the most wonderful animals ive ever had.

    just because its outside of your species, doesnt mean that it doesnt have feelings and the capability to love as well.
    my mother used to buy dogs and then get rid of them just because they didnt fit into her idea of a “lifestyle” i dont know how many dogs we had while i was a kid….my rottwiler died at the age of 5 from weird fuckin mysterious causes….

    the way i see it…..i dont ever want kids. i cant stand them. but the connection i have with my pets is so strong that i would rather starve to death than have to abandon them or give them up.

  94. KhaiJB says:

    my wife and I help out with dog rescues up here in Canada helping to transport homeless dogs to shelters and to new homes and fosters..

    any given weekend I’m seeing 20-30 animals being helped… mostly coming up from the states.

    infact my own hound is a rescue from Ohio.. he was about to be put down when we were asked to foster him.. me and the big lump are inseparable now.

    blame whoever you want for the situation.. all I know is this weekend I’m helping another 3 dogs to their new home.. and the next week I’ll do it again, knowing full well how many dogs will be put down in the meantime because we’re overwhelmed.

    and then the next weekend I’ll do it again….

  95. synergy says:

    $1000?? No wonder people aren’t paying their mortgage! That’s ridiculous. I spend MAYBE $100/yr on my cat.

  96. Cupajo says:

    @Victo: “And my dog’s life is more important for me than the life of some drug dealer (still I didn’t adopt a drug dealer, so that all pretty relative). “

    I don’t know. They’re kind of cute when they’re small.

  97. Bladefist says:

    @alphafemale: I’m glad we agree on something, and commend you for your respect/love to your animals. you’re right, a lot of people see them as objects, like a TV or something, to me, they are part of the family.

  98. ThyGuy says:

    I have a cat and my mother has a beagle and a pitbull. I think we spend roughly $500 a year on them, but we don’t take them to the vet, because honestly you don’t need the vet if you have any common sense. Our animal control shelter will give them the needed shots for a fraction of the cost of the vet (Please get the parvo shot for you dog, it is a no joke illness that will give you mightmares. Puppies mostly catch it and it kills them like ebola kills humans).

  99. 00447447 says:

    I’ve just got to say this: I bet most of the dogs are Pit-bulls and Chihuahuas.

    I know, I’m a total bastard.

  100. thalia says:

    The last I checked, pets aren’t very expensive…I mean, when you give them their first round of shots and get them fixed it costs a few hundred dollars, but after that it’s only their yearly boosters if they don’t become injured, and pet food is only around $10 a bag and lasts for a month. The only way I can see someone not being able to afford their pet because of a foreclosure is because they couldn’t afford to have one in the first place.

    People need to be more responsible. A pet is not an object you purchase for entertainment like a new iPod or a computer game. A pet is like a child…you have to prepare and know that you can afford to feed it and know that you’ll have time to give it the attention and love it needs.

  101. zippygaelle says:

    I happened to be at our local Humane society last weekend and noticed a much larger-than-normal number of “owner turn-ins” (as opposed to strays). I wondered whether it was related to the economy and sadly concluded that it must. I can’t imagine ever abandoning my own furry family members (who we adopted from the same humane society), but I imagine that it must have been a heart-wrenching decision for many of them.

  102. StoneKitten says:

    I KNOW there have got to be a lot of heartbreaking stories and owners who couldn’t avoid giving up beloved pets. My snarky little ticker goes out to them sincerely.

    That said, I can imagine there are tons of lard loads who rather keep themselves overfed than spare a bit of change for their pets.

    And don’t even get me started on the recent New Jersey case of a scum bag police dispatcher who left his 50 plus pets LOCKED in cages where they starved to death in his foreclosed home.

    I don’t even follow the case anymore but hope every rabid animal rescue freak gives him his due.

    When my Mom recently had a stroke I found homes for all her pets. I even paid to get them all spayed/neutered and rehomed. I went broke for a bit just to assure their comfort.

  103. johnfrombrooklyn says:

    @mynameisnate: That’s funny because in India there are tons of monkeys chained by their necks to temples and stray dogs roaming the streets that are harassed by kids 24/7. They do take care of their cows though.

  104. @Bladefist: & @alphafemale: +1. Our dog, the adorable Siberian Husky we name Tonka, is our son. Some folks say that as a joke, but I mean it; we treat Tonka like our young(ish) child. (He’s nine, but still acts like a puppy.) I would pick him over a mortgage payment any day of the week.

    I am lucky enough to be doing well enough to take care of him as if he were a human, which I think is a key of pet ownership. Tonka always eats his dinner at the same time as us; heck, sometimes before us. Little things that puts him on the same level as us. And, yay, he was a personal rescue!

  105. @BlondeGrlz: “I learned it’s owners had moved away.”

    I got my second cat that way. He was front declawed and they put him outside to fend for himself and MOVED. He lost an eye. And I can’t imagine what kind of sociopaths these people must be because he is seriously the SWEETEST cat I have ever known. I’ve owned cuddlier cats and funnier cats, but never one nearly as sweet. Whenever he has to go to the vet, the entire office has to come in to say hi to him because he made so many friends when he had to stay there a few days.

    Although when we drove 17 hours cross-country to move and he yowled the ENTIRE WAY, I did briefly consider strapping him to the roof of the car. :P

  106. P_Smith says:

    During the Great Depression, people abandoned their children or put them up for adoption when they couldn’t afford to take care of them. Not only did it cause unnecessary hardship, the orphanages were overrun and often couldn’t afford to take care of kids because the depression cut their donations.

    How far away are we now from dumping pets to dumping kids?

  107. scerwup says:

    Anyone who “dumps” their pet is a sick, sick person. If I ever catch anyone doing it, I will “dump” a baseball bat upside their head, numerous times, until they have possibly been “put to sleep”. I don’t care how dire your financial situation is, you don’t just toss a living creature to the curb. And how is it better to take it to an overflowing shelter, where they are just going to kill it. That makes me sad and angry at the same time. If I all the sudden found myself homeless, my two cats would be coming with me, until I could find a suitable home for them. I don’t care, to me, my pets are the same thing as children, I love them and would never “get rid of them”. Fuck that, this makes me upset.

  108. luz says:

    I agree with all of the pro-pet rants here. I sincerely do.

    ~But~

    I think a lot of the “pets aren’t important” antipathy is coming from those who recognize that many humans also do without food, housing, medical care, etc.

    Obviously it is not a contest and no animal should be made to suffer needlessly, but the fact remains that in the majority of the world animals, domesticated or not, may be viewed with affection but never as priorities to compete with, say, one’s house.

    I love my cat, who’s almost as old as I am, and my beagle, despite the fact that she fails at the one thing a dog is supposed to do (bark). If I were to be evicted I’d do my utmost to find them homes. But seriously – have you met homeless/couch-surfing people lately? Can you imagine them caring for animals? Sometimes there’s just nobody, not even a shelter, to pass the critters off to.

    Extremely sad stuff. But without a home? Try keeping kitty in a plastic grocery bag.

  109. Sad, sad, sad.

  110. unravel says:

    A person who “has” to give up thier pets because they can’t find a rental is really just someone who can’t find a pet-friendly rental that they think is “good” enough for them. The new carpet, gated entries and fancy landscaping and social status available in no-pet rentals are just more important to some people I guess.

    @alphafemale:
    Yay, sweeping generalizations based on your narrow world view and experience!

    There really are people who have to give up their pets, not because they can’t find pet-friendly rentals that are “good” enough for them, but because they can’t find pet-friendly rentals period. Or find pet-friendly rentals in their budget.

    My husband left his two cats with his in-laws when we moved here because our apartment complex had a no-pets policy. Our apartment complex was built in the 50s, is not gated, is not landscaped, and provides the social status of a hooker speckled with coldsores. It’s sole redeeming factor was it’s closeness to the hospital as I had a high-risk pregnancy. Leaving his kitties made my husband absolutely miserable. Hell, I actually had to get one of his cat’s approval before he decided it was okay to marry me! He was crushed. Hell, he’s still crushed, and every now and then, he’ll say “Let’s go see my cat!”, and we’ll gladly spend $100 on the gas.

    They did go back on the no-pets policy in second year, allowing pets if one would pay a $200 pet deposit, and accept a rent increase of $75 each month. We thought about it, but 1 timid cat + 1 toddler + 1 small apartment with no kitty safe space is bound to = bad. Every ad I’ve seen for places that are pet-friendly here cost ~$300+ more each month.

    Not everybody has family or friends that they can leave their pets with. I know some people are selfish dicks (and I believe there’s a special place in Hell for people who just dump animals or leave them behind in empty houses), but not everybody who has to part with a pet is the kind of person that you claim.

  111. strangeffect says:

    @Bladefist: amen.

    I have 2 cats, but I feel the same way.

  112. SomeoneElseNotMe says:

    Pet costs can hit $1000 a year if you have a pet with allergies. My little guy has food allergies and breaks out in a horrible rash called eosinophilic plaque on his legs (ugly weeping sores that he keeps licking until they bleed — it’s horrible).

    The only food he can eat is Nutro & Max Cat because they’re natural, and they’re between $7 and $10 a bag. We also use use a wheat-based cat litter at $8 a box. And you know what? If the time came that I had to choose between buying something for me or taking care of him — I’d do without. I made the choice to live with a cat, and it’s my responsibilty to care for him, just like it would be my responsibility to care for a child.

  113. 420greg says:

    IF I lost my home, job and everything. And ended up living in a extended stay motel in the bad part of town. I WOULD STILL HAVE MY CATS!

    “Sorry kids we have to take fluffy to the pound and have her put down. We can’t afford the $7.00 a month for a 25 pounds of dry food at walmart.”

    But lets stop at starbucks on the way and get some lattes….

    I swear some people…

  114. Erwos says:

    See, this is why we don’t have pets. It’s not about the money. It’s about the fact that they are a huge responsibility, and I don’t need more huge responsibilities than I already have. I’m sure we’d love to have, for instance, a companion rabbit, but I just don’t think I’m up to caring for one.

  115. theysaidwhat says:

    Anyone who purchased their pet from a REPUTABLE breeder signed a contract to return the dog to the breeder in the event that the owner can no longer provide its care. Anyone who adopted a pet from a shelter signed the same contract. People tend to forget this.

  116. sponica says:

    @theysaidwhat: But I’m not sure shelters would honor that agreement right now. Shelters right now are overfilled. The Humane Society for Greater Nashua kicked staffers out of their offices because they were running out of room for the animals.

    I guess in some localities there’s the local animal control, of course they destroy animals in 2 weeks or so if not adopted in time.

  117. theysaidwhat says:

    @sponica: The shelters are definitely in crisis. Atlanta was one of the worst in the nation when I lived there a few years ago. They were destroying 1 M animals annually. I think Atlanta has privatized its shelter system now.

    People who are considering giving up their animal should also consider breed rescues groups. They will often place mixes if your dog has visible traits of the breed they rescue. They are no doubt overwhelmed too, but it’s worth a shot.

  118. Balisong says:

    I’ve been considering adopting a kitty since I got my new better-paying job. Now this makes me want to adopt one even more :(

  119. Sanveann says:

    @unravel: *Applause* Pet-friendly rentals (especially affordable ones) can be HARD to find, especially if you live in a college town. After I graduated from college, I ended up moving about 15 miles out (in the opposite direction from which my job was) to a tiny little podunk town, because the apartment complex there was the only one I could afford that would let me have my cats. Luckily, gas was cheap back then … if it cost what it did today, I would have been in dire straits.

    @theysaidwhat: Two weeks is actually a lot of time for some animal controls, too. And some don’t euthanize the pets they can’t adopt — they sell them for research. There was a huge uproar in my county a few years back over our animal control doing just that. In one particularly sad case, a man found a puppy but couldn’t keep it. He asked them to please let him know if they couldn’t find a home for it, as he would take it and try to figure something out. He later discovered the puppy had not been adopted, not euthanized, but sold to a class B dealer :(

  120. Balisong says:

    @Erwos: If you do ever get a rabbit, make sure you get at least two. Rabbits live in communities and have better mental health when there’s another rabbit around.

  121. Sanveann says:

    @theysaidwhat: Unfortunately, very few people purchase their pet from a reputable breeder, and the people who did are probably the people least likely to give their pet up because they’re going through hard times.

    All too many people get their pets from Joe Blow down the street, who bred his lab to his brother’s lab and decided to make a few bucks off the puppies. Good luck getting HIM to take your puppy back if you can no longer afford kibble.

    Plus, a lot of people take in stray animals or friends’ or family members’ unwanted pets. There’s not usually a “return” option there, either.

  122. KRF says:

    @katylostherart: I put down $250 pet deposit on my apartment, and I have a montly pet rent of $35. Our complex charges $300 deposit for small dogs, and $500 for large dogs. The only dogs that are not permitted are the ones considered to be dangerous.

    It’s a small price to pay to keep members of my family.

  123. Erwos says:

    @Balisong: Good point. Then again, knowing my wife, we’d wind up with four of them or something. :)

  124. RoadKing1 says:

    My coworker Courtney got rejected when she tried to adopt a dog from them. It’s a sad commentary on your life when I dog is deemed better off dead than living with you

  125. mizmoose says:

    @sean77: That’s ’cause the gub-mint will reward -er, assist you for each one you have, if you can’t afford ‘em!

  126. Superawesomerad says:

    @Sanveannalphafemale: There’s nothing more fun than baiting eager-to-be-offended internet people. Isn’t it odd how my phrasing was exactly the same as ahwannabe’s earlier comment?

    *insert eyeroll here hurr*

  127. @battra92:

    When it comes to the end of the day, pets aren’t humans.

    Tell that to my gimp, you insensitive troll.

  128. Superawesomerad says:

    @AtomicPlayboy: I always worry about what I would do with my dear Scum should the worst happen. Are there any nonprofits that will take in gimps?

  129. Tiber says:

    I’m amazed that the universe hasn’t imploded because 99% of consumerist finds itself in agreement with Bladefist. I guess I’ll just have to add my straw to the camel’s back though and hope for the best.

    Why is it that people think animals are inherently inferior to humans? I suppose if I had to choose between an animal’s life and a human’s, I would choose a human, but only reluctantly. As far as I’m concerned, life is life. Maybe an animal’s not as intelligent as a human, but I’ve never seen an animal lie, cheat, or steal (steal maybe, but not maliciously). Yes I admit my hypocrisy in eating meat, but I do have sympathy.

    By the way people, if you want high quality pet food, avoid Science Diet. It’s overpriced garbage, and vets recommend it because the company gives them discounts. A neighbor of mine, who bred show dogs before retiring, clued me in on this.

  130. theblackdog says:

    It breaks my heart to read this story. I wish I could adopt a dog, but I’m not at home enough right now to take care of one properly. I’d rather admit that and not have a dog than try to cook up some fantasy.

  131. Carencey says:

    @samurailynn:
    ouch! not meaning this as a lecture, as I would have said the exact same thing as you a few days ago…before that baby bat managed to get into my apartment while I was at work where my kitty who was just a teeny bit behind on her vaccinations could play with it. their immunity doesn’t magically evaporate at the year mark, but I’m fortunate to have a vet who got animal control to agree not to fine me for having a cat without a current rabies certificate.

    @SomeoneElseNotMe: ouch, I feel your pain on the eosinophilic plaques. Mine got them on her abdomen because of black mold issues in the house I was renting. I looked at those vetderm bills and thought “boy, am I ever in the wrong line of work.”

  132. Inglix_the_Mad says:

    @DashTheHand:

    And don’t forget that dogs are omnivores and can share your left-overs if you make sure they get their protein and vitamins. I wouldn’t recommend going all out, unless you’re literally going to make your own kibble, but instead cutting back on the kibble (generic term for pet food) and mix in some human food. This is not perfect, you’ll have more poop to clean up but it’ll cut back on the kibble bills.

    @failurate: Yes, truly disturbing.

  133. gruffydd says:

    @Bladefist: EXACTLY!

  134. heathenkitties says:

    I have several cats–got a new job last June (after 5 months of unemployment) and in July I had a sick cat ($700 in vet fees). Cat #2 got sick in August (spent on both, about $1,000). Cat #3 died suddenly ($100). In total, the months I spent on vet care: July, August, September, October, November, nothing in December or January–sudden return of illness in February–$1800–so basically I spent about $6,000 in vet care for my cats. I gave up coffee, clothes, eating out, shopping, etc. etc., all while my daughter went through senior year (high school) expenses did I mention I’m a single parent?). I’d do it again, in a heartbeat. . When you commit to the care of an animal, like a child, it’s for life. Anything less, don’t do it. My cats are part and parcel of my family. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    People who treat animals as if they are disposable sicken me.

    If you can’t afford to feed and take care of your pets, don’t ever get one.