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How Do You Handle An Abandoned Pet In Your Rental Property?

You might feel bad hearing this, but yes, there are some tenants who leave their dear pets behind. Not only did they abandon your property, but they also abandoned their dog or cat that could be starving or sick.

It is possible that the tenant was moving to a place that didn't allow pets. Perhaps he grew tired of his fur baby. What many people don't realize is that these abandoned pets end up in shelters and could get euthanized instead of finding a new loving home. 

As a landlord, what must you do if you discover an abandoned pet in your rental? In today's article, I'll be sharing helpful tips to deal with the situation as best as possible. 

1. Determine if the animal is legally abandoned.

Look out for signs that abandonment has taken place. Has the lease expired? Did you legally evict the tenant? Ask the neighbors as well. They might have noticed a moving truck. If you legally evicted the tenant, it's safe to say that he abandoned his other possessions, including his pet. 

2. Proceed with caution - safety first!

If you're an animal lover, you would feel the need to approach the abandoned pet right away and care for it. Remember: The animal could be extremely stressed out, anxious, hungry, and sick. It could view you as an intruder and lash out at you. 

Be careful when approaching the animal. Use a reassuring voice to help calm it down. Make sure to offer a bowl of food and water. You don't know how long the animal has been abandoned. 

3. Communicate with your former tenant.

Try to get hold of your previous tenant. Use all methods of communication - call, email, or text. Reach out on social media. Let the tenant know that you found his pet. If you have confirmed that the tenant received your message but chose to ignore it, contact the local animal control.

4. Contact your local animal control. 

You might want to care for the pet yourself. Whether you consider this or don't, it's best to contact the police department's animal control to report the abandonment. You will be asked to file a report. There are penalties for pet abandonment.

Go ahead and check the laws of your state. You should also check what your state says about holding the pet. Contacting local authorities is the best thing to do. That way, the animal can be removed immediately from your rental and be placed somewhere safe.


Even if you believe that your renter is a responsible pet owner, anything can happen along the way. Once you suspect and confirm abandonment, never ignore the situation. Be careful when approaching the pet, try to contact the former tenant, and report the situation to local authorities. 

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