Dogs Left in Foreclosed Homes


When people can no longer pay their mortgage and lose their home as a result, they sometimes cannot take their dog with them and decide to leave him in the house. They assume “the next person” will find their pet and take good care of him. It’s a bad idea.

“Agents for the foreclosure company may not enter the home for days to weeks after it has been vacated,” the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) points out. By then, it may be too late.

If it’s not too late, a dog left in his home may attempt to protect his “territory” when strangers enter. Protective behavior and associated aggression can then make it difficult for foreclosure company agents to capture a dog, the AVMA says. Animal control officers may be called in at that point, and if your dog acts aggressively in front of them, it is less likely that his story is going to have a happy ending.

A better bet, the association points out, is to try to find a new home for your dog or leave him with a shelter or rescue group. Your dog’s chances for survival at a shelter are not 100 percent, but he has a much better chance of being adopted there than if found in an abandoned house. In addition, euthanasia drugs, if it comes to that, are much more humane than letting a dog starve to death.


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