What happens to pets whose owners become hospitalized?

Question by Meier Angel: What happens to pets whose owners become hospitalized?
Particularly in Pennysilvania, what happens when a pet owner is hospitalized and the patient will not be able to care for them anymore? A nurse at the hospital insisted that the pets would be removed and placed in a good shelter to await adoption, but I wanted to know what would happen in the meantime. Do people go out and feed the animals and make sure they’re alright?

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Best answer:

Answer by walking lady
It’s up to the owner to arrange for their pets to be looked after – friends, boarding kennel, family. Hospitals don’t and can’t get involved.

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5 thoughts on “What happens to pets whose owners become hospitalized?

  • October 14, 2013 at 1:14 am

    It’s really up to the owner. They could ask their friends to take the animal, or failing that, have it placed in an animal shelter.

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  • October 14, 2013 at 1:49 am

    sadly, if no one rescues them or calls animal control, they starve.

    anyone can call animal control. humane society, ASPCA, etc. local police can tell you who to call. in many areas, they are animal control. if they get a report that animals are not being cared for while the owner is away, they will try to find someone with a key to let them in, or break in, if they have to.

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  • October 14, 2013 at 2:07 am

    I don’t know if there’s a difference between the states, but I do know that hospitals often employ social workers whose job is to help patients and their families sort out all these types of details. I know an oncology nurse who did lots of cat rescue, and was often called on to help in situations where there wasn’t a family or the family couldn’t or wouldn’t take care of the pets. It’s really a scary and sad situation in those cases where a patient cannot communicate that his pets need care at home.

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  • October 14, 2013 at 2:56 am

    True pet guardians have a back-up such as pet loving friends to help them in situations like this.Thankfully I have been blessed to know
    many people in animal rescue who would help care for my cats
    in situations like you mentioned.
    Just network with animal people.

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  • October 14, 2013 at 3:37 am

    The arrangements would be up to the animal’s owner. Preferably if someone were ill or disabled they would have a safety net in place in case a circumstance like this arose.

    It is a good question. Those of us who are healthy should have a plan in place too.

    But if a pet owner, a person who lives alone, were suddenly hospitalized no one would even know about the animals left behind unless that owner contacted someone and gave them the keys, money for food etc. If the went through a social worker at the hospital I do believe the results could be grim. If the social worker contacted the city or county animal control the animal would be euthanized. In most places, after 7 days.

    To my knowledge there is no agency that would go feed the animals every day. That would be like a pet sitting service. I am sure no charity has the funds or the volunteers to do that and the hospital’s social workers would not be hunting them down.

    Some years ago my neighbor, unbeknownst to me, was commited to detox by her brother. One of his kids was swinging by to pick up the mail and newspapers so I had no idea Mary wasn’t there. Did notice her cat was out a lot though. And had become very friendly with me. And thin.

    Mary was gone 2 weeks before I knew what was going on and that the cat was locked out, alone, and not being fed. Her cat would have starved if I hadn’t fed it because she was gone more than a month.

    If you think you may become unable to care for your animals, please get all the arrangements in order right now. Include extra sets of keys, extra pet supplies, extra cash, contact information for animal shelters. You should also contact shelters and explain everything and make sure they have your name and the name of you pet care proxy.

    I really don’t know all the details of what to do but I advise you to work it all out if you feel the need is imminent .

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