By Jennifer Pierce, NEWS 9

More people are abandoning pets in the metro.

As the number of foreclosures rises, an increasing number of people are leaving their homes and animals behind. Metro animal rescue groups are jumping in to help.

Tara Beares with the Safe Haven Center has rescued pets from 11 foreclosures this year.

 "Once the foreclosure process starts I think the families are pretty stressed out and the dogs and cats become last on the list to take care of," Beares said. "They're just trying to get out of their home and get their personal belongings."

Katrina Washington is usually the first to find the pets left inside the abandoned homes.

She said family members or neighbors will take the pets, if not she calls animal shelters to help. 

"There's a lot of local agencies that come and pick up one or two animals, but when you have a case of eight or nine it's not as easy," Washington said.

Animal advocates said they're working to increase public awareness. If someone is struggling to take care of their pets, advocates recommend calling their local Humane Society or animal shelter.