The rising number of no-pet rental properties is placing pressure on local animal shelters as people are forced to choose between their furry friends and a place to live.
- An increase in ‘no pet’ policies has led to a rise in the number of animals being surrendered to welfare shelters
- The current shortage of rental properties means landlords can be more selective of tenants
- Single people and people on low incomes are disproportionately affected
Katrina Twilley, operating coordinator at the South East Animal Welfare League, said she had seen a rise in the number of pets being handed over.
The kennel has been at full capacity the past few years, something Ms Twilley attributes to the scarcity and price of rental properties.
She says winter is also a factor, as it is traditionally a slow time for animal adoptions.
“Our adoption rates do definitely drop off around July and August,” she said.
“But the majority of it is to do with people who have to move and find another rental; there’s a lack of rentals here in South Australia and the expense is very high.
“It’s very hard in South Australia to find housing where you can take your pets with you.
“I believe Victoria made it mandatory that you couldn’t discriminate.”
Ms Twilley says the majority of the dogs they take into their kennels are surrendered by owners.
“We have 15 kennels available to house dogs,” she said.
“As of tomorrow, we will have 12 dogs in our care: one is an emergency care dog, three are owner-surrenders.”
“At the moment, we’re offering a waiting list for people so it might be that we get two or three adoptions in the next week.
“That then opens up vacancies for other owner-surrenders to come in.”
Ms Twilley encouraged people who were looking to purchase a pet to consider adoption.
Anglican Community Care homelessness manager Trish Sparks said she frequently heard from people unable to find rentals due to having pets.
Ms Sparks said around 25 per cent of people experiencing homelessness have a pet.
“It’s not a new thing, but it is harder now because of the number of people looking for rentals, and the short supply.”
“Landlords can really choose who they want to put into their property.”
Ms Sparks said this issue tends to affect some groups more than others.
“Single people and people on low incomes can often only afford a small flat, which generally doesn’t have a yard and they can’t have pets in those places.”
“Some do manage to get properties with pets, because if they’re a family, they can afford a bigger property, which then generally has a yard.
“It’s really up to the home owner; some home owners will allow pets and they do a pet lease as well. So, it’s just sort of really some conditions that you sign around your pets.”
Ms Sparks said pets can provide comfort to people experiencing homelessness or mental health issues.
“To some people, I think pets are a huge part of their life; they’re like their family,” she said.
“They choose to remain homeless rather than accept a property where they can’t have their pets.
“Sometimes people who have been homeless for a while feel their pets are the only support or family that they’ve got.
“There isn’t any law in South Australia around discriminating against pets, that’s just a choice that you have.”
Ms Sparks said it would be good if more rentals allowed pets, but appreciates the issues posed by animals in smaller homes and shared spaces.