Posted by: Catherine | December 22, 2007

Pets: The unintended victims of foreclosure

The Contra Costa Times today ran a heartbreaking article today about the pets that are being left behind when homes are foreclosed.  Since some are forced out in sheriff evictions, or moving to a “no pets” rental, it must be that the former homeowners feel they have no choice. Agents specializing in foreclosures are finding pets left behind, sometimes locked in the homes, sometimes outside, but alone (or already dead) nonetheless.  As agents, we know its bad enough when we see the end result of an eviction after foreclosure.  Kids toys, evidence of good family times, all remind us that a family has lost their home.  Reports of evictions leaving dinner on the table, or the kids lunches sitting packed on the counter for school.  It is heartbreaking.  But the pets… what a sad state you must be in to simply leave your family pets behind.   Especially because in most cases it will take days or weeks before anyone comes to get the home ready for sale again.

Since pets are considered “personal property” agents and property managers are not supposed to remove the “property” for a prescribed number of days and/or must “hold” them per the law.  Even worse (if it can get worse) is that this article reports that some banks are telling the agents NOT TO FEED THE PETS!  I would have a hard enough time leaving a pet alone in a home.. much less knowingly not feed it?  No way. The agents interviewed for the article all reported they were feeding the animals and are having to rescue animals in preparing these homes for sale.  Bravo to you. 

I can only imagine how difficult the whole process of foreclosure is on a family, but to “have to” leave your pet behind must be just devastating.  Note to homeowners: remember there are very few no kill shelters in our area.  And many of them are full.  Most rescue organizations don’t have the money to pay for vet care or have enough foster volunteers to house them.  Most of the pets, of course, are left without vet records or any evidence of their age or suitability for other families.   Please, please try to make arrangements before you go. You know the eviction is coming, or that you have to move – please contact someone to help.

I for one am going to start making phone calls to the local shelters and animal rescue groups.  What can we do?  How can we help? This is a situation I don’t want to see go any further.  Can we create a “safe haven” for animals trapped in the foreclosure mess?  I’d like to hear suggestions on solutions.

The article can be seen here:  Contra Costa Times, Pets Becoming Casuality of Foreclosure

Contact Catherine Myers or Terry Osburn for short sale, REO and foreclosure home information in Contra Costa.  We specialize in Walnut Creek, Lafayette, Alamo, Danville, Concord, Clayton, Pleasant Hill, Martinez, Antioch, Brentwood and surrounding areas.  Get expert advice on a short sale or foreclosure from an accountant, an attorney or your financial services specialist, then call us for real estate expertise.


  1. Until we find some better solutions to this problem, here are some contacts that may be able to help homeowners needing to place their pets. Please start early in your planning, don’t leave it until the last minute.

    Contra Costa Animal Services
    Martinez Shelter: 925-335-8300
    Pinole Shelter: 510-374-3966

    Antioch Animal Services

    Animal Rescue Foundation/ARF (no kill)

    Contra Costa Humane Society

    Friends of Animal Services of Antioch

    Homeless Animals’ Lifeline Organization (HALO)

    Feral Cat Foundation

    East Bay SPCA

    East County Animal Shelter

    Valley Humane Society

    Contra Costa SPCA
    El Sobrante
    925-825-5156 or

    Tri-Valley SPCA

    In addition, Bay Area Lab Rescue has a further resource list at their site:

    If you know of any other organizations that can help homeowners place their pets before they move please contact us, or comment here.

  2. To bad about the pets. Our short sale market is gaining momentum too.

  3. Catherine I was going there about the pets. Great minds think along the same lines um? Nice meeting you and I hope we will grow together in 2008 ~~ grow beyond our wildest hopes.

    Oh I forgot, great information and thanks for sharing. Its hard to take care of pets when you can’t take care of family and some people are having to move back to apartments or smaller quarters and the pets can’t come.

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