As a result of the unpredictable economic situation, some home owners have been forced to pack up and leave due to foreclosure, and all too often they choose to leave their pets behind. Sometimes, it’s not that simple either. Sometimes, a family relocating thousands of miles away from the Triangle due to job re-assignment makes the painful decision to leave the family pet behind.
To some, the additional expense and responsibility of a pet is simply too much. Pets who are the casualty of either of the above circumstances are left without food, water, and shelter; left alone in empty houses, many suffer from dehydration and malnutrition.
As real estate agents, we have become front-line soldiers in this often neglected aspect of our current economic climate. It’s all too common for a REALTOR to walk into a foreclosed or abandoned property to find a starving dog or cat.
Fido and Mittens Left Behind
One of our agents, Doreen Mathis, found a dog at a home in Clayton fenced in a little area of chicken wire in the back yard. “The poor little thing was emaciated and couldn’t barely walk so I called animal control,” shares Doreen. “I’m happy to report the pooch is alive and well living with another family.” She goes on to say, “I think there are many animals left to the mercy of cruel and selfish owners who abandon them everyday unfortunately and I applaud our company’s efforts to bring attention to this shameful fact.”
Another agent, Dina Griggs, ran into a similar situation when she had listed a house for sale for a family who moved to California. “On one of my visits to the house, I noticed that there were two bowls at the side of the garage and finally caught a glimpse of a cat who was very skittish and disappeared when anyone came near. In contacting the family, I found out they had decided to leave the cat behind. A handyman and I took turns leaving food and water out for the cat. A cat-lover neighbor came to my rescue an took the cat into her home until she was able to find a good, permanent home for her.”
The neighborhood stray that got away…sort of.
One of the saddest stories we have heard comes from Shelley Hight. She told us of her experience with a neighborhood stray, a female cat that was being cared for that had somehow “disappeared”. As it turned out, she had gotten herself stuck in the garage of a nearby vacant home for two months. When Shelley found her, she was near death and as a result, had to be put to sleep. It was one of the most heart-wrenching things Shelley had to go through as a REALTOR.
Not all stories have sad endings!
Terry Aitken, an associate in our Lochmere Office, recently and graciously took in the family pet of her clients, Chet and Kim. They had this to say about the experience:
- “Chet and I cannot even describe how grateful we are that Terry took Bella in. Our closing was pushed out farther than we expected and we had only made plans for Bella at the Pet Hotel for a couple nights. We called every kennel and pet hotel in the area but being 4th of July weekend they were booked. Without hesitation Terry offered to take Bella!Terry really went above and beyond her role as a realtor! She helped make a difficult situation a lot less stressful knowing Bella was in such good hands.”
Help us put an end to what has become a tragic reality. Here’s what you can do:
If your neighbor’s home has been foreclosed on, ask them if they have made plans for their pets. Encourage them to turn over their pets to an animal welfare agency if they need to.
After the owners of a foreclosed or abandoned home have moved, check on the home to see if any pets were left behind or tied up in the back yard.
Call your local humane society or one of these NC pet shelters to find out how you can help to rescue abandoned pets.
Call a local real estate agent and ask them to inspect the home for abandoned pets.
Have you ever found a pet in a unoccupied home here in the Triangle? Tell us about your experiences. Hopefully, there are more happy endings than sad ones.