In early December 2009, an animal sanctuary in Rhode Island was foreclosed upon, the owner evicted, and the animals ignored for 24 hours while the financial institutions stuck to their protocol of not allowing anyone onto the site. You can read more about this story on the blog:
Are Banks Responsible for Animals Caught in Foreclosures?
The standard protocol for dealing with foreclosed and abandoned properties doesn't work when animals are involved. The unprecedented situation of the sanctuary in Rhode Island merely highlighted a problem that is happening every day as animals are left behind in houses their owners can no longer afford.
Considering the record number of foreclosures, and the fact that about two-thirds of American households have pets, we need national policy that accounts for pet care when properties revert to bank ownership.
First and foremost, it should be up to owners to take responsibility for their animals and to provide for them in case of emergency, whether it's a natural disaster or financial crisis. When the owners fail their animals by abandoning them, there needs to be a clear protocol to ensure that the animals are properly cared for.
Photo credit: irargerich