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Foreclosure Crisis Claims Family Pets, Animal Shelters Overflow

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Foreclosure Crisis Claims Family Pets, Animal Shelters Overflow

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According to recent news reports, in areas of the nation where the foreclosure crisis is hitting hard, local animal shelters are seeing a sharp increase in the number of owners surrendering family pets, many citing the loss of their home as their reason. One news report quoted an official at the Escondido Humane Society, located in California, a state hard hit by the recent mortgage industry turmoil, as saying that the organization receives between 20 and 30 calls per day from people who are losing their homes to foreclosure and have no place for their pets.

While, for some, losing the family pets may seem like the least of worries in a potential foreclosure situation, that is simply not the case for families with children who've grown up with the pets or for many elderly people, for whom these pets are near constant companions. Facing the loss of pets is akin to the heartbreak of losing family members, which is exactly what their pets are to them.

Fighting Foreclosure

For families with pets, fighting foreclosure is often the best bet when it comes to keeping their pets. Renting with pets is often very difficult, as restrictions can be very tough on the type, size and number of pets allowed. Fortunately for homeowners in trouble, as the mortgage crisis expands and the number of foreclosures increases, federal, state, and local government officials are scrambling to find solutions. Legislative bodies throughout the nation are coming together to see what they can do to slow the tide of displaced families and homeowners. Even some of the major players in the mortgage lending industry are stepping up to the plate to take their turn at seeing what can be done to prevent homeowners from foreclosure.

Naturally, few of these actions are the result of altruistic instincts. Politicians don't want thousands to lose their homes on their watch, as that could affect the way they are perceived by voters. Lenders and others involved in the real estate industry recognize that foreclosure is expensive. Not only does each foreclosure cost a great deal to complete, but in neighborhoods where there are several foreclosures, the empty homes do nothing good for the value of surrounding properties.

Some common legislative steps include increasing the amount of help available to homeowners seeking to avoid foreclosure. At the federal level, agencies are receiving funding to offer financial counseling to homeowners, helping them to renegotiate mortgage loans and conditions with their lenders. Legislation seeking to adjust regulations so that struggling homeowners may have a better chance at refinancing home loans are also part of the planned efforts geared towards keeping homeowners and their families in their homes.

State and local governments are also working on passing legislation and changing regulations. While a great deal of effort is being put into preventing predatory lending, steps are being taken to address the situations of homeowners already in trouble. Some state and local governments are requesting a moratorium on foreclosures, though that step is unlikely to become official law.

Big industry players, like Countrywide, are taking matters into their own hands, and taking steps to work with homeowners. That is because may are facing an inordinate amount of foreclosed properties that they have to deal with. It makes more sense for them to avoid becoming flooded with defaulted loans and properties. Some have decided to hold back on resetting adjustable rate mortgage interest rates temporarily, allowing homeowners to try to get prepared.

If currently facing a foreclosure threat, don't give up right away. Take advantage of the programs that are designed to help and explore all options. You just may find that there is a solution that will keep your family and your pets together by avoiding foreclosure.

If Foreclosure Is Unavoidable

If it does turn out that foreclosure is unavoidable, surrendering pets may still be avoided. In many regions, the value of pet-ownership for the elderly is recognized and regulations require that a small pet be allowed in rental units designed for older people. With enough time, it is possible to find rentals that do allow pets, though there may be extra costs associated, either a higher security or a extra monthly fee. If time runs short, you may want to try to talk friends or family into accepting payment to care for your animals temporarily.

For those who are not able to find a rental that allows pets in time, but are still unwilling to give up their four-legged family members, there is a down and dirty tactic that can be employed to buy time. Keep looking for the right rental, but take what you can at the moment and smuggle the pets in. Don't bother to unpack much, as you'll probably be getting evicted soon. But, at least you've bought a little more time to find the right place.

If your situation doesn't allow for such tactics, and you really do have to surrender your pets, there are a couple of options to consider that will at least ensure that they are not killed. A no-kill shelter is the obvious choice, but recognize that you may have to travel, as many are filling up rapidly. If your pets are purebred, you may have the option of contacting a breed specific rescue organization for help. Many will take the pet and provide a foster home for it while looking for a permanent home.

As recent news stories suggest, the toll that the mortgage and lending industry crisis is having is not only a human one. As families are displaced, so too are their pets. Often, the pets are just about as much a part of the family as the people are, making it quite tragic for all involved that a temporary financial setback can potentially result in the loss of a beloved family pet. Fortunately, this doesn't always have to be the case when facing foreclosure. There are options, particularly for those inspired to take the time and effort to find them or willing to engage in a bit of creativity.

Sharon Secor writes for a variety of publications and websites, including Direct Lending Solutions and Lenders Mark. Her journey into freelance writing was inspired by Christine de Pisan (1364-1429), a widow and writer of social commentary who, in addition to being one of France’s earliest well-known female authors, was able to support her children through her writing. Ms. Secor is working towards completing a double major in Journalism and Spanish – preparation for writing for both English and Spanish language markets about social and economic issues in Latin America, as influenced by increased industrialization and the global marketplace. As an anarchist and single parent, she also devotes her time to practicing resistance and raising revolutionaries.

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