The tenants in one of my rental properties had moved out unexpectedly mid-lease and left no notification they intended to move. I only discovered the property was abandoned after checking on it one day after rent was late and I was unable to get in touch with the tenants. This means that the property had been abandoned anywhere from a few days to a week or two before I was made aware.
The tenants kindly left behind the usual mess for me to deal with – trash everywhere, old broken furniture left behind, food in the refrigerator (however luckily they had not yet shut off the power so no food spoilage), holes in walls, that kind of thing. Annoying stuff, but sadly not that uncommon. What made this property stand out though was that it had an outdoor storage shed. I went out to the shed to see what was left behind, hoping for lawn equipment or something that at least had resale value. To my surprise though I found that they had left behind a rabbit. This is where it gets bad – the rabbit was left in a 100+ degree storage shed (no air conditioning) with no water, and with some old food scattered on the ground. It was stifling hot when I went in there. The poor bunny was just laying on its side, panting heavily. I had no idea how long it had been in there, but believe it was very close to overheating and death.
The rabbit was obviously a pet, based on the cage and food I found, as well as how it liked being handled by people as I later discovered. I was shocked. I could not imagine why anyone would leave behind an animal, let alone a pet, to suffer a horrible death of dehydration or overheating. That is cruel and inhumane. I tried getting in touch with the tenants but of course could not get a response. I was finally able to get in touch with a family member and explained that we had found the rabbit. The response was “Oh, if they left it they probably don’t want it. I would just let it go.” Their solution was to just release the almost-dead bunny into the wild to fend for itself.
Of course that was an unacceptable solution for me. I did not call animal control as I know rabbits are not commonly accepted into the local shelters, so decided to try my own luck helping the bunny. I was able to find a friend who agreed to temporarily foster it, then was eventually able to find a permanent home for it. The bunny turned out to be very sweet and calm, so hopefully it is being a great pet for someone.
I can deal with tenants leaving behind trash, but abandoning animals in a cruel manner is one of the worst things I have encountered, and hope to never find again.