Caring for a pet can be expensive. In fact, according to a 2017 estimate from the American Kennel Club, the cost of raising a dog from a puppy through adulthood is approximately $15,000. If your animal has specific needs or health issues, you may pay thousands of dollars more.
If your animals have driven you into debt, filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection may be beneficial. With this type of bankruptcy, you sell certain assets in exchange for the discharge of many of your debts.
Your pets qualify as assets under bankruptcy law
Because you love your pets, you may not be able to imagine living without them. There is some risk with a bankruptcy filing, as your animals qualify as assets under bankruptcy law. You probably should not panic, though. Unless you have animals that have a high value on the open market, the bankruptcy trustee is not likely to have much interest in taking and selling them.
You may be able to use an exemption
Animals can be hard to seize and sell. After all, they require shelter, food, medical care and exercise. These cost money, which the bankruptcy trustee is not likely to recover during the sale of your pets. If the trustee tries to sell your animals, though, you may be able to use one of the many bankruptcy exemptions to save them.
Because you may eliminate many of your debts, filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection may give you more funds to care for your animals. Ultimately, due to the hassle and cost of taking and selling your pets, you are likely to emerge from bankruptcy with your furry family intact.