Seer Farms provides a safe environment for animals of families in crisis at least until the immediate crisis passes.
Our mission is to serve families in crisis due to foreclosure, extended medical illness, extended military deployment, domestic violence and other acute situations where families are forced to make decisions quickly and sometimes unexpectedly.
Abandonment of pets is not a new phenomenon, however, “foreclosure pets” are becoming a distinct and rising casualty of the housing crisis and the economic downturn currently underway. Families losing their homes are being forced to surrender their animals to shelters, swelling the ranks of homeless pets. Across the state, shelters are reporting 10-25%1 of increases in new arrivals. Many families, unable to face turning their animals over to a shelter, are leaving those animals locked in the homes they once shared. Nearly everyone has read at least one story with a heartbreaking account of an animal discovered abandoned in foreclosed homes.
In our experience, if given the option, a pet owner able to make temporary long-term arrangements for the care of their animal(s) will do so, alleviating a considerable emotional burden that is added to an already difficult time. Foreclosures take a tremendous emotional toll on families in and of themselves, and the family that must face giving up their pets endures an additional, and often lingering, threat to the family members’ emotional health and puts the animal at risk.
Seer Farms offers these individuals an alternative. Our Out of Crisis program enables families to place their animals in a guaranteed, affordable housing situation while they move through their crisis and start to rebuild their lives or settle back in. At that time, they can make a measured decision about what to do with their pet. This decouples the difficult emotional decision about the family’s companion animal from the already difficult experience at hand. Because Seer Farms is a multi-species facility situated in a farm setting, families with combinations of animals or large animals will not be turned away.
Seer Farms operates as a temporary facility where families surrender their animals to Seer Farms for a time period arranged with the family at the time of surrender. A holding fee, using a sliding scale based on ability to pay, is part of the process. Seer Farms cares for the animal for the duration of the arranged time at the end of which, the family reclaims their pet(s), permanently surrenders them, or negotiates an extension. In some circumstances, this gives the family a bridge strategy for their pets so that they can later recover them, returning their families to “whole”. For others, it will allow them to use that time, once they have passed the stress of their specific crisis, to find their choice of home for their pets.
Out of Crisis allows pet owners peace of mind about their pets as they deal with other major life changes. The program utilizes therapists currently on the Seer Farms advisory board to assist the families with the transition process when appropriate.
1Mariam Jukaku, Star-Ledger article, July 24, 2008