Bankruptcy and Pets

Meeting with a bankruptcy attorney in Minneapolis or St. Paul for a free consultation to evaluate your options means discussing a lot of information. Pet owners often wonder how going through this process will affect their ability to own and care for their animals. Minnesotans of all kinds file for relief from their creditors every year and keep their dogs, cats, and other pets by their side the entire time.

First and foremost, tell your attorney about all the animals you have. All non-farm animals like dogs, cats, birds and fish must be listed as assets if you own them. Everything that you own at the time the case is filed must be listed in the paperwork, even it if has a very small dollar value.

Second, pets and other animals have to be disclosed to the court so that the proper laws used to protect property can be applied to them. Generally speaking, the court is not going to want to take your animals in exchange for wiping away your debts. Your attorney will tell you in evaluating your case whether there will be an issue, but such issues rarely come up. The types of assets that are most sought after in the bankruptcy process are ones that don’t cost much to keep around and that can be sold for money to distribute to creditors fairly quickly. For most people, our pets are worth more to us than they are objectively worth to anyone else and are not cheaply maintained or sold quickly, so the likelihood of liquidation is low.

Third, owning animals like house pets and horses also have an impact on your household budget. It is reasonable to accurately account for an amount you need to spend in an average month for food for your pet, average veterinarian bills based on your pet’s age and health condition, and grooming costs. Your attorney can give you guidance on whether these amounts may need to be reviewed to try and lessen them, but reasonable expenses should not be objectionable to the court.

Consulting an experienced bankruptcy attorney like the attorneys at Martin & Hedervare will give you the information you need to make informed decisions about your financial future. Minnesota residents can call 651-243-2974 or go to the website at to request a consultation and get on the road to financial recovery.