A local animal rescue agency is urging people to support an effort by the BC SPCA for more pet friendly housing across the province.
On Oct. 13, the BC SPCA initiated a pledge campaign for more pet friendly housing across the province.
Maple Ridge branch manager Krista Shaw is hoping local residents voice their support for the campaign.
“That’s one of our biggest reasons for surrender,” she said.
So far this year five per cent of the animals that came into their care was due to a lack of pet-friendly housing locally – five cats and one dog out of 100 animals that were surrendered since January.
Across the province that number grows to 25 per cent.
But, said Shaw, tenants with pets are more reliable and generally stay longer in a rental situation than those without animals.
“They stay longer because they don’t want to risk losing out,” said Shaw.
And not only will people with pets change their housing less frequently, they are usually willing to pay more, said Meghann Cant, BC SPCA manager of companion animal welfare on the animal welfare agency’s website.
“A FIREPAW study shows tenants with animals in pet-friendly housing stay an average of 46 months compared to 18 months for tenants in rental housing prohibiting pets,” noted Cant, and there is no significant difference in damage. FIREPAW stands for Foundation of Interdisciplinary Research and Education Promoting Animal Welfare and its website states that it is a nonprofit organization dedicated to scientific research and public education of animal welfare issues .
Recently Vancouver City Council threw their support behind a motion to end no pets clauses in rental contracts.
Proud that Council supported the call from the Renters’ Advisory Committee to call for an end to “no pets” clauses in rental contracts.
More than ever, pets are critical to so many renters' mental health & well being.
— Kennedy Stewart (@kennedystewart) October 15, 2020
However, in communities like Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, and others across the province, no pets is a common restriction when looking for housing.
There is an emergency boarding program at the shelter, said Shaw, but it is reserved for emergency situations – like people fleeing domestic violence, or a family whose house has burned down or are victims of a flood, or if a person is evicted out of the blue without any warning whatsoever. Emergency boarding, she said, is only for two weeks maximum.
“It’s not normally for lack of housing,” she added.
But, the BC SPCA has an online “tool kit” where pet owners can find information about pet-friendly housing and landlords can find information about the benefits of having tenants with pets and a resumé with references that explains why the pet and guardian are good tenants. It also includes a pet policy that both the tenant and landlord can mutually agree upon and sign, said Cant.
Furthermore, there is the added benefit that tenants with pets have greater interaction and there is a sense of community, Cant added.
To take the pledge go to spca.bc.ca.