Keeping Pets With Their Families
People love their pets and consider them to be part of the family. In fact, two-thirds of American households include at least one cat or dog, which makes having a pet-inclusive place to call home essential for most Americans.
But sadly, there isn’t enough pet-inclusive housing for renters. Animal shelter admissions data shows that housing-related issues are the second most common reason that families surrender their pets to shelters, even ahead of financial reasons.
Housing that is truly pet-inclusive can be difficult to find
According to Zillow, 46% of rental households in the U.S. have pets, with 22% of moves occurring because of pets. Yet rental and government-subsidized housing can make it difficult to own a pet. Even properties that are "pet-friendly" often have pet weight limits or breed restrictions. Families may be forced to choose between securing a place to live and keeping their family pets.
Why we need affordable, accessible pet-inclusive housing
Every day, more than 1,700 cats and dogs are killed in America's shelters, simply because they don't have safe places to call home. Pet-inclusive policies that prevent pets from being separated from their families will help to change that.
Pet-inclusive housing policies benefit housing providers
More than 90% of housing providers and residents agree that pets are an important part of families.
The majority of housing providers say that pet-friendly vacancies can be filled faster than units that don’t allow pets and also help increase the pool of applicants for those vacancies. In addition, residents in pet-inclusive units stay significantly longer than those in units that aren’t pet-inclusive.1
What can you do to help keep pets with their families?
- Reach out to your local animal shelters and human shelters to find out if they have pet foster, volunteer or donation programs for people experiencing displacement and housing transitions.
- Contact your local city council representatives and ask them to ensure that government-sponsored housing providers are pet-friendly.
- Reach out to your local housing authority to see if pet food pantries and low-cost veterinary services are available.
- Adopt your next pet, rather than buying one. Adoption gives a homeless pet a much-needed home and frees up space for another pet who may have been surrendered because of financial hardship, health challenges or housing issues.
If you find that your community lacks any of the services mentioned above, start a local coalition to fill those gaps. You can also join or start a local action team, made up of advocates who pool their collective energy and resources to create compassionate communities for people with pets.
Affordable housing needs to be accessible housing for all types of people, including people with pets. We all have a role to play, so join us today and, together, let's help pets and their families stay together.
1. Michelson Found Animals, Pet-Inclusive Housing Initiative: foundanimals.org/pets-and-housing