The Other Victims in the Foreclosure Crisis: Pets

More real estate professionals report finding pets left behind in abandoned homes from home owners who had been evicted from their properties due to foreclosure. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty Animals had estimated in 2009 — the most recent statistic — that up to a million animals would be left behind in foreclosed homes, shelters, or outdoors from the foreclosure mess.

“They are the silent and unfortunate victims of this,” Suzanne Sherer of RE/MAX Realty in Cape Coral, Fla., told the Asbury Park Press. “Most of the time when the [real estate professional] gets involved, it may be too late.”

The animals often are left behind without food or water, suffering a slow death of starvation and dehydration — unless they happen to be found in time by a real estate professional surveying the property.

Some real estate professionals are reaching out to help the forgotten pets. For example, Cheryl Lang, president of Integrated Mortgage Solutions in Houston, formed a nonprofit group, No Paws Left Behind, a network of those in the real estate industry. Her group has rescued at least 1,000 animals nationwide since it started in 2008.

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