Saturday, 12 July 2008

Pets Abandoned as Rental Crisis Bites

On 1st May reported that there is an increase in "Pets being abandoned as rental crisis bites".

By Emily Macdonald
MEET the newest victims of our rental crisis. The RSPCA has been inundated with animals as owners are forced to abandon their pets due to an unforgiving rental market.

"We get a cat or dog brought in almost every day because its owners have moved to a place that doesn't allow pets,'' said Townsville RSPCA shelter manager Gail Lane.

"Most of the people we get in that situation are quite distressed because they've tried really hard to find somewhere that will let them take the cat or the dog.

"At the moment rental properties are quite hard to come by so sometimes it comes down to the fine line of either the family get a roof over their head or they get to keep their pet and unfortunately some people have to make hard decisions.''

However there may be a solution.

Ms Lane said the RSPCA was in the process of rolling out a new scheme which would allow the RSPCA to `vouch' for pets to property owners and real estate agents.

"The RSPCA is looking at trying to contact rental agencies and property owners to see if they would join with us in coming up with a solution,'' Ms Lane said.

"If a pet comes through our centre, we can confirm it is clean, healthy, microchipped, vaccinated, well adjusted, toilet trained, is not destructive and has passed a behavioural assessment.

Ms Lane said the RSPCA urged property owners not to stereotype pet owners and to assess each potential tenant based on their merits.

"There's always going to be the people who rent out their home and a dog trashes the property.
"Unfortunately the next person who tries to rent that property and wants to bring their dog gets knocked back because the experience has been bad for the owner of the property.

"When you rent your property you find out if people have a job, if they can afford to pay the rent and whether they have a good credit rating so now let's find out if they are good pet owners too, and if they are, give them a go.

"I would urge people who own properties and are renting them out to look at each person individually and talk to them about the animal they've got and find out about the exercise level the dog has and anything else they're concerned about.''

A distraught former pet owner told the Townsville Bulletin about her heartwrenching decision to give up her two cats.

"I adopted two kittens that had been dumped in a garbage bin after I finally moved to a rental property where I could have pets,'' she said.

"Then suddenly I had to move and it was impossible to find a new place, let alone one that allowed two pets.

"I was absolutely devastated to leave them at the RSPCA and cried for days but I had no other choice.

"It was either find them a new home or I wouldn't have a home.''