Although the protection of animals often involves tragically sad stories, I aim to make this blog into a positive place where we can empower each other to do just a little more to help our furry companions. But this is a story that I am compelled to share because I want your input on what we need to do to end the senseless and unnecessary abandonment of animals in foreclosed homes.

Over the weekend, I received an email from No Paws Left Behind (an organization that I support where I am also the Vice President) asking for help for a cat abandoned at a foreclosed home in Atlanta. These emails come weekly, and sometimes daily, of cats and dogs abandoned and needing help. No Paws founder Cheryl Lang and the other board members do an amazing job each day to reach out to get these abandoned pets to safety. Most often we celebrate the successes of yet another animal that is now safe. However, we are not celebrating about the cat in Atlanta.

The cat named Arnold (in the photo) had been abandoned in an unfinished basement. No one knows how long he was trapped in the basement without food or water. When the real estate agent found him and took action to get him help, she hoped he would pull through. These are her words of what she discovered, “He was located downstairs in an unfinished basement, laying on his side and meowing.  He was so weak, he could not even get up.  It is obvious that he has been neglected, massive hair balls and knotted hair. I went to get him some food from a convenience store and got him some water. I spoke with the neighbor across the street and he said that the owners had moved but that they were periodically coming back to take care of the cat.”

Shortly after being rescued, Arthur went into cardiac arrest and passed away due to severe malnourishment. His little body simply could not go on any further. I have been informed that a report is being made so that criminal action can be taken against the people who locked Arnold in the basement.

My question to you is: what needs to be done to educate people to stop locking their pets in abandoned homes, even if they think that they can come back every few days to check on the pet? The neighbor in this case saw the owners coming back to take care of the cat, but must have also saw them stop tending to the cat. There were so many instances where someone could have intervened to save this cat and taken it to safety. But yet it was not done. As I write about tragedies like Arnold in my next book on How to Become an Animal Advocate and solutions, I would love to hear your thoughts on how we can educate people and stop this from happening. I am hoping that Arnold’s death, like thousands of others across the county, will not be in vain. Please share your thoughts.