Group Aims to Save Pets From Housing Crisis

November 21, 2011

A growing number of real estate professionals are finding pets left behind in vacant homes after families have moved on.

Pets are being increasingly left behind in homes for any number of reasons, not just in cases of foreclosure, agents say. For example, pets are sometimes found in homes when the home owner has passed away and the relatives didn’t want to deal with the pet, or home owners who believe that by leaving their pets in a home they’ll have saved the animal from being euthanized at a pound. 

In any case, it’s real estate professionals who are increasingly finding the abandoned pets when touring homes. 

A group of real estate professionals in Chicago, for example, is reaching out to real estate professionals to help them provide information or assistance for families with pets they no longer want. For example, agents may also be able to provide guidance to these families’ who face foreclosure on what to do with their pets.

Suzy Thomas, a real estate professional for Dream Town Realty in Chicago, found REALTORS® to the Rescue in 2005. Originally, the group helped find new homes for animals abandoned in homes, but the group has now refocused its efforts on raising funds for animal-protection groups. 

“We began to wonder, how can we network to help the shelters?” Thomas told the Chicago Tribune. “Because they have the experts. Or maybe we could help them get volunteers for events. Lately, we did a food drive to provide food for people who can't afford to feed their pets. We volunteered at a 36-hour animal-adoption event. ... We focus now on helping the shelters and rescue groups.”

Another group — No Paws Left Behind — was formed by a mortgage broker in Houston. Since 2008, the group has rescued at least 1,000 animals nationwide. 

Source: Realtors’ Animal Rescue Work More Than a Pet Project,” Chicago Tribune (Nov. 18. 2011) and “The Other Victims in the Foreclosure Crisis: Pets,” REALTOR® Magazine Daily News (Oct. 27, 2011)