Pet trusts growing in popularity

Legal in 46 states including Florida, Georgia

Author: Jodi Mohrmann, Managing editor of special projects, jmohrmann@wjxt.com
Published On: Jan 15 2014 12:26:07 PM EST   Updated On: Jan 20 2014 06:20:00 AM EST

There's a new type of after-care insurance gaining in popularity, and it's for your pets. More than 95 million cats and 83 million dogs belong to pet owners in the United States, according to the American Pet Products Association National Pet Owners Survey.

Instead of a will for these pets, owners are turning to pet trusts which allow owners to provide special instructions about the pet's care. Some veterinary practices are also helping with long-term plans.

"The Perpetual Pet Care Program is simply peace of mind for clients who have concern about what will happen with their pet or pets if something should happen to them and they don't have family members who are able to take care of those pets," explained Kansas State University Veterinary Health Center Director Dr. Roger Fingland.

The Veterinary Health Center at KSU gets calls weekly about its perpetual pet care program. Enrolling your furry friend into that kind of program ensures that the pet's medical care will be provided if the owner is no longer able to take care of the pet.
And at the Veterinary Health Center, if something happens to the owner, the center tries to find the beloved pet a home with another animal lover.

"We first do a health check and we determine everything is okay with the animal," explained Andrew Dame, Development Officer with the College of Veterinary Medicine. "Then we go through the file and determine exactly what the previous owner intended for that animal. Did he or she want a home with other dogs and cats? Did he or she prefer homes with children? Was that a dog that really related well to an older man? Then we scour through our list of vet med family and we always know who is looking for another animal or who would just be a perfect fit for that animal."

Pet trusts are legal in 46 states, including Florida and Georgia.  The ASPCA has more information on pet trusts and alternatives for pet owners.