Can My Pet File Bankruptcy?

Woman and papers

Question: I'm in serious financial trouble because my pets got very sick and needed surgery and drugs. I spent a lot of money when my cat and dog became ill. Now, because I spent so much money on the pets, I am in a debt and I don't think I can get out of it. My pets may force me to file bankruptcy.

My dog and cat both needed surgery for cancer. And now they are taking pet meds for other medical issues as well. The surgeries cost me over $35,000.00. The veterinarian bills are still piling up. And I have to take them to the vet at least once a week.

I have just gone through a divorce and my business is having financial issues. I put most of the surgery and vet bills on credit cards. I'm worried about a car repo because I had to miss a couple of payments on my car note.

I don't know what to do. I think bankruptcy is the answer. I know this might be a strange question, but can my pets file bankruptcy? Because the surgery and meds are for their benefit (not mine!) I was thinking that maybe my pets could go bankrupt.

T.R. in Alpharetta

Answer: We are pet lovers and we congratulate you on taking care of your pets through what must be a very difficult time.

We have actually gotten your question before. Other pet owners have asked whether their pet could file a bankruptcy petition, either a chapter 7 or a chapter 13. We have owners of birds, snakes, cats, dogs and horses inquire about the feasibility of an animal filing for bankruptcy. Pets do feel like members of our families so it makes sense that someone would pose the question.

Now, to answer your question. Animals cannot file bankruptcy. The bankruptcy laws (as well as all municipal, state and federal laws) govern the actions of people, not pets. Also, you were the one who obligated yourself to pay for the surgery and vet bills, not your pets. So, because you obligated yourself to pay, you can file bankruptcy to have those debts eliminated (discharged).

As the cost of veterinary care escalates, we are seeing more and more people seek bankruptcy protection for veterinary bills and other charges stemming from the illness of a pet.

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When financial problems strike, you need to speak with a bankruptcy lawyer. When you need an Alpharetta bankruptcy lawyer on your side, call us at (678) 712-8561.

As Alpharetta bankruptcy attorneys, we're here to help you get a fresh financial start. The Sherman Law Group will help you navigate the entire system. We proudly serve the entire Atlanta metro area and North Georgia.

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