Home Foreclosures Force Pets From Homes

Being forced to put her house on the market by the real estate meltdown was stressful enough for Kathryn Ecdao. Leaving Roxy and Bear behind made matters much worse.

The 4-year-old Labrador-German shepherd mixes weren’t welcome at the rental Ecdao moved into a few miles away. So she makes daily trips to her now-empty former home in Anaheim Hills to care for the dogs and is desperately trying to find someone to adopt them before the place is sold.

We can keep them there as long as the house is in limbo,” said Ecdao, who can’t afford to board Roxy and Bear. “But that’s not fair to the dogs. They’re not getting the attention that they deserve.”

Actually, Roxy and Bear are among the luckier four-legged victims of the housing crisis. As more and more Californians are turned out of their homes by foreclosures or forced sales, family pets — especially dogs and cats — are being left behind to fend for themselves.

“These people don’t know what’s going to happen to them, and they figure someone will take care of the cat,” said Jacky deHaviland, who works with a Los Angeles-area group called Muttshack Animal Rescue. “They say ‘I can’t even deal with this. How can I deal with that?’ ”

For DiAnna Pfaff-Martin of Newport Beach, founder of the Animal Network of Orange County, the wake-up call came last week when she got five new adoption cases — four dogs and a cat — because their owners had lost their homes.

“This is the first time I’ve had this kind of problem since I started doing this in 1996,” Pfaff-Martin said.

As the housing crunch worsens — foreclosures in California are at record levels — so will the problem of homeless pets, she said. “I think this is just the tip of the iceberg.”

Real estate pros and other animal welfare organizations are reporting similar trends.

“I’m getting calls from desperate people who are losing their homes, asking us to rescue their cat,” said Fran Moore of Irvine, a co-founder of the Orange County Animal Rescue Coalition, which works with the public shelter in Corona, an area hit hard by foreclosures.

Leo Nordine, a Hermosa Beach broker who specializes in selling repossessed homes, said he finds abandoned dogs at least once a month these days. Sometimes they’re chained in a yard, sometimes locked in the house. They’re often emaciated, if they’re alive at all.

Nordine first tries to get neighbors to take in an abandoned dog. If that fails, he calls a public shelter or a private group to pick up the animal. (Going to the county pound is often a death sentence, especially for large dogs, which are difficult to place. In Orange County, for example, 40% of the almost 28,000 dogs and cats impounded by the county last year were destroyed.)

In Corona, shelter manager Darryl Heppner has seen a 16% jump in the number of animals brought in during the last six months.

“That’s abnormally high,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of people in trouble, and they have to make hard decisions.”

The circumstances that follow foreclosure can be remorseless for pet owners. “They have a hard enough time even qualifying for a rental because their credit is shot, and 98% of landlords don’t take dogs,” Nordine said. “So if you’ve been foreclosed and you have a pit bull, good luck.”

It doesn’t help that some landlords who do accept pets are doubling or tripling their pet deposits, according to Moore of Muttshack.

The spike in homeless pets comes as Heppner’s and other animal welfare facilities are dealing with budget cutbacks. The work of volunteers and donations of such essentials as cat litter are “a godsend,” he said.

In California, abandoning a pet is a crime punishable by a $500 fine, up to six months in jail or both. But offenders are rarely prosecuted, activists say, in part because they can be surprisingly difficult to find.

“All we have is a name and a disconnected phone number and no forwarding address,” said Nordine, the Hermosa Beach broker. “You’d need the FBI to try to track them down.”

Although Ecdao has no intention of abandoning her dogs to an uncertain fate, her predicament is an often-heard tale in the current housing market. She and her husband had to put their home up for sale in January after their monthly loan payment jumped along with the interest rate on their adjustable-rate mortgage. Refinancing wasn’t an option because the house’s value had fallen so much since their last refinance.

They found a rental, but the landlord said “no dogs.”

“Since it was such a horrible situation because we didn’t know where we were going to live, we agreed to it,” Ecdao said.

She contacted Pfaff-Martin, who runs a weekend adoption fair for rescued dogs and cats outside Russo’s Pet Experience at Fashion Island in Newport Beach. Ecdao and her 13-year-old daughter now make the weekly pilgrimage to the shopping center with Bear and Roxy, hoping someone will want to take the dogs home with them.

“It’s awful,” Ecdao said. The first time they went, “we cried the entire afternoon. We love those dogs.”

martin.zimmerman @latimes.com

Helping Out

Stories below:
Daisy & Riesling: eye-lid surgery
Momba, Manny & Target: Leukemia Cat Family


Eyelid Reconstruction Surgery

Read Their Story:

Their eyelashes were rubbing on the delicate surface of the eye. OUCH!


Daisy and Riesling were 8 week old torti tabby kittens. They were born with eyelid agenesis which is the incomplete formation of the eyelid. Their lashes rubbed on the surface of their eyes which caused corneal edema from the lashes rubbing. We had to act quickly to save their eyesight and stop any corneal ulcerations. A second surgery was needed and performed to perfect the correction of the lid.

The surgery was not cosmetic; it was essential to safeguard their vision and stop the irritation and pain of their lashes rubbing on the surface of their eyes.

Community Animal Network does not kill animals that become too expensive, nor does it restrict an animal from being rescued and adopted into a loving home because of the cost.

Featured – Feline Leukemia Positive Momba and her leukemia positive kittens: read their story

A cat named Momba and two of her five babies have tested positive for the feline leukemia virus. The founder of Community Animal Network DiAnna Pfaff-Martin says, “We hope the public will come forward and support our pro-quality life mission and adopt theses beautiful and sweet animals two by two. The animals have no active symptoms of the virus and their condition can be easily managed by living in a loving home that has no other cats.”

The cat family must find new homes within the month, or the animals will be the first non-symptomatic animals to be euthanized in the history of the group. It is a quality of life issue. Momba and her growing babies should not live sequestered for their lifetime in a tiny room. God willing, these animals will have the ability to be adopted into a caring home. We are counting on the public to show that they respect what we do and come forward to help!

This is a difficult time for Community Animal Network and the Costa Mesa caregiver Kate Kasakoff because we love them all. Momba is a petite black cat who has been such a good mom. She really deserves better after all that she has been through. The babies that tested FeLV+ are “Target” who has a purebred Russian-Blue look and Manny a black male who looks like his mom.

The siblings Jack, Tammy and Moescha, have tested negative for the virus but will be re-tested in thirty days to determine if the test could have been negative because antigens were not yet present in the blood.

Newport Beach resident and feline practitioner, Dr. Elaine Wexler-Mitchell guided us through the protocol and timing of the appropriate testing. Dr. Wexler-Mitchell’s new book “Guide To A Healthy Cat” (available on Amazon.com) states that FeFLV can cause latent infections, which hide quietly in the cat but may cause clinical signs months to years later.

Our organization has taken the appropriate steps to confirm the animals condition. We hope someone will focus on their ability to give life with their love and come forward to help. Call 949.533.0411 to adopt, or send your financial support to Community Animal Network, P.O. Box 8662 Newport Beach, CA, 92658. Your donation “C.A.N.” make a difference in an animals life!

Reading This Could Help Save These Animals Lives!
E-mail or Tell a Friend!

Animal Archives (Daily Pilot)


A rescue call grabbed attention when a mother claimed that her 11-year-old daughter would not keep the litter box clean. The daughter’s punishment was going to be sending Tasha and her kittens to the shelter if Community Animal Network would not take them.

The beautiful silver-gray Russian blue Tasha and her kittens were lucky that the Ronaldson family of Newport Beach happened to call asking to foster animals in their home on that particular day.

Bob and Wendy Pierce have called Community Animal Network for assistance in rescuing an orange cat that they believe to be hungry and without a home living near 2006 W. Oceanfront, next to Newport Pier.

The Pierce’s children, Kelly and Bobby, befriended the cat during their two-week vacation from Phoenix. The family was planning on taking the cat home with them, but it was not to be found when the family was leaving Saturday.

The Pierces are terribly worried and will fly back to rescue the animal. Community Animal Network is asking if anyone knows this cat to call (949) 759-3646 to get involved and help drive the cat to the vet to be scanned for a microchip, have a thorough exam and blood test before traveling to Phoenix in his new home.

The family is anxious to know whether the cat is safe. The family is certain the cat is still hanging around the vacation rental.

Stories featured – August, 2009

Purr Poem

A Dark Handsome Man

This morning as I wrestle to open my eyes, a dark handsome man crawled upon my chest and looked into my eyes. I whispered I love you and stroked his long soft black fur. He could no longer keep his silence, he purred.

DiAnna Pfaff-Martin, Founder

Community Animal Network

The Animal Network of Orange County

©August 2005

Pet Highlights


Female Himalayans

These last few weeks of a Corona del Mar resident’s life has been full of emotion. After loosing a mother and now a father moving into care facility, their beloved cats have needed to find refuge with Community Animal Network due to severe allergies.

“We hope to place the two beautiful female Himalayan cats Miesha and Mimi as a pair” says, DiAnna Pfaff-Martin who believes animals do grieve and it would be best not to separate the bonded pair.

FYI: Most municipal shelters (including Newport Beach ) will not take residents relinquished pets; forcing local animals to be turned over to the county shelter where over 50% of the animals loose their lives.

To help local animals in need; memo your check non-profit tax ID 33-0971560 and mail to Community Animal Network, P.O. Box 8662 Newport Beach, CA, 92658.



FIV Positive
Snow Shoe Siamese Ragdoll Mix

I Found Someone That Loves “ME”!

“Noah” the beautiful blue-eyed Siamese Snowshoe Ragdoll mix still needs a home. Noah has blossomed and is looking extremely beautiful since his rescue from the Newport back bay when he was found very thin and treated for bite wounds and tested positive for FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus). He’s extremely affectionate and is seeking a home where he can be the only cat to love you.


Lab Ridgeback Mix

Jake is a large well-trained Lab Ridgeback Mix who is now 6 ½ years old. Jake’s been part of the Fischer family since he was only a year old and the family is heart broken to give him up, but their three year old son’s allergies are worsening with time. Jake is great with other dogs both large and small and is friendly and mellow and good around kids. Jake is said to be a great family dog who needs a new home without cats.


Community Animal Network has quite a number of fabulous lap cats to choose from lately. Most lap cats personalities are highly desired as they are calm lounge lizards that usually have good house manners. People seeking these qualities should really consider adopting animals over eight years old as they are just perfect for those who want a really loving cat.
Tiffany is a large affectionate tabby lap cat. She is the kind of cat that would make a great companion for a senior person or anyone that desires an exceptional animal with good house manners. Like a good wine it is enhanced by age…Tiffany is thirteen and currently lives with a dog and other cats.

People often overlook qualities and choose an animal by its’ color, sex and age. When it comes down to getting the right pet choose the animal that has the best qualities for your home life. If you have a dog find an adult animal that currently lives with a dog.

Make a difference in an animal’s life; adopt an adult or senior pet. It’s life-saving!

Two other available twelve year olds are the solid grey Russian Blue-look named Shamus and a gorgeous long hair black cat named Branford.

Our senior cats have been well cared for and come with a 30 day health guarantee. Veterinarians carefully examine and read their blood panels to confirm every organ is functioning properly. Community Animal Network even cleans their teeth if necessary. We welcome you to explore the idea of adopting great mature cats!

Silver Persian Mixes

“Coco & Healy”


Two long hair silver grey Persian mix sisters were adopted as kittens from our Network in August 2004 and now need new homes because their family is moving back to England permanently. Two weeks remain before the family is leaving for the UK and we need someone to step up and help these two by fostering them or adopting the two.

Many countries still enforce a very strong quarantine and England ’s is said to be avoided as some don’t survive illnesses caught while in there. This time of year, it takes over 90 days to find a new home for an adult cat as people are focusing on the tiny ones. Adult cats are dying for your help! Please help save lives adopt a cat not a kitten.

See animals on our website www.animalnetwork.org or at Fashion Island every weekend from 12 noon – 4:00pm. Or help by donating to “feed the kittens”; memo your check non-profit tax ID 33-0971560 and mail to Community Animal Network, P.O. Box 8662 Newport Beach, CA, 92658.



Kimba, Gatina, Felix and Toulouse were only two and a half weeks old when they were rescued and transferred along with their mom Duchess to a Community Animal Network foster home. Duchess’s kitten family is now seven and a half weeks old and is just the beginning of the dreaded Spring kitten season which will consume much of the organizations funds to feed and maintain their vet medical needs.

Twenty-five dollars will buy enough kitten formula to feed four abandoned babies for a week. Kittens need round the clock feedings until four weeks old and most babies wean between six and seven weeks old. Volunteers are needed and the supplies and vet services are provided by Community Animal Network. You may be surprised that quiet bottle feeders may be welcome at animal friendly businesses, so why not ask your boss if you could help?

At this time, we have a total of nine pregnant cats, four nursing moms and a litter of newborns that are being bottle fed. If you come across kittens in your bushes please don’t take them until you are sure the mom was not just searching for food. The need is greater than we have volunteers so please consider calling 949.533.0411 to help. Donations graciously accepted to help feed the kitties this Spring.


Gulliver is a long hair sable cat who was one of the lucky ones pulled from the shelter’s undiscerning death row. Gulliver has qualities of a Main Coon; a large size, tuffs of hair in the ears and between the toes and a friendly personality. He was named after Gulliver’s Travels, kneads his paws at the sound of a soft voice and is very affectionate. For anyone liking that Main Coon size, we will have four “super size” cats this weekend for adoption and for those who fancy Siamese we will have two.

You can help bring lost animals home by supporting the microchip identification system and having your dog or cat implanted and then registered in the national database. Gulliver is now protected by the tiny chip which will alert his new pet parents and the rescue organization if he was ever to need help again. Watch for information about our “Community Microchip Implant Event” that is coming soon.

In order to save more lives please consider getting your lonely cat a friend! Do not get a kitten; adopt adult cats of similar age and energy levels. We have a thirty minute “Pet Parenting Class” in which we addresses how to introduce adult cats.

Two six month old tabby brothers Bill and George were rescued from an RV park. George is a long hair tabby that everyone thinks looks like a Main Coon cat and his brother George is a beautiful golden tabby, similar to the golden leopard Bengal cat. A neighbor called us after discovering Bill and George along with their sister inside a box secured with a brick on top. High anxiety and stress was apparent as the two male kittens suffered minor scratches after being locked in side the box with their sister Rosemary who was in heat.

Volunteer journalists are being welcomed for our new on-line magazine “The Animal Report”. A photo journalist intern from California State University Fullerton will be researching the cultural and socio-economic perception of peoples and present a photographic interpretation of the issues that may cause animal abuse and abandonment in America .

Always spay, neuter, microchip, collar and tag your pets.

See A Special Cat?
[email protected]

See A Special Dog?
[email protected]

Desperate Felines – Conrad & Spots

Desperate Felines

Scroll Down to View Animals That Need A Special Type Home

Conrad Spots
Orange and White Male, Neutered Orange/White Male, Neutered

Conrad and Spots

These two orange and white year old brothers really need your help. Spots and Conrad aren’t mean or destructive, they just want to hide until they feel safe. They really need a permanent home.

Their hiding and avoidance has found them difficult to adopt. Children believe that the cats don’t like them and most adults want to experience a relationship with an affectionate cat. The two were not born feral and are not abused. Their mother was simply a stray that was given food and shelter and the babies were left alone to frolic and play indoors while their rescuer worked long hours. Conrad and Spots will settle into a new home with a patient pet-parent who we can teach to use food as a behavior modifier that would encourage them to bond.

Please call the organizations cell phone 949.533.0411, or give a donation to support pro-life rescue. Memo your check , non-profit tax ID 33-0971560 and mail to Community Animal Network, P.O. Box 8662 Newport Beach, CA, 92658.

E-MAIL [email protected]

Fast Facts – Dogs



According to the 1998 AKC allergy info page the Basenji, Bedlington Terrier, Bichon Frise, Chinese Crested., Italian Greyhound, erry Blue Terrier, Maltese, Miniature Schnauzer, Poodle, Portuguese Water Dog and the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier are the best for people that are allergic.

ACHOO! First off, there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog. There are strategies that can help the afflicted to cope. It’s not the fur that allergy sufferers react to…exactly. Although the fur conveys the real offenders, the dander, the saliva and the urine which in turn carry the canine allergen. The eye reddening protein can stay aloft in the home or alight on the rugs and furniture. The AKC recommends that you visit an allergist. Bathe your dog every week or so (take care not to dry out your dog’s skin). Have an allergy non-sufferer take the pooch outdoors for a good brushing. A good diet prevents the dog’s hair loss and the accompanying dander loss. Make the bedroom off limits. Cover mattresses and cushions with plastic. Do what you can to keep surfaces clean. Air filters and purifiers help. Information provided by www.selectSmart.com



1. Most dog owners “cannot afford the time” it takes to find their dog a new home.

2. Fewer homes are available because people are busier with less time to walk a dog.

3. People are often unwilling to provide “foster care” to dogs that have no behavior history

4. Many believe shelter dogs have behavior problems and therefore are less likely to be adopted.

5. There are few veterinarians and boarding kennels willing to give animal organizations “free” or substantially discounted kennel space.

6. There are more available large dogs and their lives are at risk at the shelters because the public is wanting small dogs.

7.Urban housing restricts the size of the animals in the home and apartments placing more dogs at risk.

8. Apartments are more strictly enforcing a “no pets” rule or “cats only” rule. There are fewer available homes for dogs.

9. Real Estate management companies simplify their property management by not allowing pets at all.

10. Private parties less frequently rent to dog owners.


Questions? Comments? Email: [email protected]

Note! Always spay, neuter, microchip, collar and tag your pets.

Please Let Your Areas Of Influence Help A Cat Family.

We Need A Backyard To Live In and To Be Fed to Thrive

In animal rescue my days are filled seeking solutions to help local animals in need. Community Animal Network is looking for a safe backyard to release the black & white cat family of three. The mom and two 4-5 month old kittens have been altered and the ears tipped, which is a sign that the animals are altered!

The Cat Family’s Story: Community Animal Network was contacted by a neighbor telling of a woman who died and her immediate family just put the deceased woman’s 15 unaltered cats outdoors to fend by themselves! Our humane animal trapper was sent to the house to begin TNR, (trap neuter and return), which saves lives and controls the population.
The cat family is ready to be released back to the property after being trapped and altered. Now the neighbor tells us she has been told to stop feeding the cats, the animals are not wanted back and the house will be sold! That Good Samaritan neighbor feeds outdoor cats in her own yard and adding 15 more is just too much!

We know that outdoor cats are at risk; however, there is nowhere for this family of cats to go except a shelter. Sadly, feral or frightened cats that act fractious at a municipal or county shelter will not survive long after impound.

Our trapper has them caged now for 2 weeks hoping they would warm up and she’s been looking for someone to help. The population will be growing if we do nothing. We do not want the animals to starve and even nice seeming people can be cruel to unwanted cats in high stray neighborhoods.

If you are an animal lover reading this and can help spread the word of need it would be appreciated! Or, why not make a donation to help with the costs of altering stray and feral cats?

A recurring donation would really help by adding us to your on-line bill pay account. Or, just mail us a check it saves fees and interest!

Thank you for your consideration to help local animals in need.

Community Animal Network
P.O. Box 8662
Newport Beach, Ca 92658
Non-Profit Tax ID# 33-0971560

Trapping Demonstrations

On March 14th O.C. Animal Care hosted trapping classes and demonstrates during the morning and the evening. The ultimate goal of the TNR method is to humanely trap, sterilize, and medically treat any free roaming kittens so as to normalize the population of outdoor cats in the area. Evidence supports that doing so will benefit the lives of both stray and feral cats, while simultaneously improving our interactions with the outdoor cats near us.