Sunday 25 August 2019

'It's a constant struggle' - Dog owners forced to give up beloved pets as a result of housing crisis

Gabija Gataveckaite

Dog owners are being forced to give up their beloved pets as fewer landlords are welcoming the four-legged friends alongside new tenants.

Animal charity Dogs Trust received 75 emails last year from desperate owners looking to give up their dogs as a result of moving properties.

It said the housing crisis is having a "damaging impact" on dog ownership and is calling on more rental properties to accept pets.

Dog owner Martina explained how her life is now in a “constant struggle” to find accommodation as she’s looking for somewhere that’s both dog friendly and has a back garden for herself and her dog Sega.

“We currently live in an apartment complex but as Sega has numerous medical conditions such as cancer, arthritis and a torn cruciate in her legs, we need to find somewhere more suitable,” she explained.

“My life is a constant struggle in our current accommodation, with no back garden I have to bring Sega for bathroom breaks multiple times a day, up and down many flights of stairs.

“I have been looking for six months, I have tried everything I can, but finding somewhere to rent with a dog that has a garden is an impossible task,” she added.

As part of Dog Friendly Day today, Dogs Trust have launched ‘Renting with Rover’ guidelines to encourage landlords and estate agencies to accept dogs in rental properties.

According to the charity, 42pc of landlords have banned tenants from keeping pets. A fifth of landlords would evict tenants if they found out that pets were being kept on a property without their knowledge.

Owen Reilly is one of the few estate agents who is now encouraging landlords to consider tenants with pets.

Speaking to Independent.ie, he explained that tenants with pets face many challenges when looking for accommodation.

“Tenants with pets get a blanket ‘no’ from landlords everywhere,” he said.

“Landlords have a perception that dogs will damage the property- but usually those who have dogs are more mature, older and have more possessions. Dog owners are also more responsible by nature.

“Tenants are older and more mature than say ten years ago, so many have dogs,” Mr Reilly said.

“But humans usually cause more damage than dogs.”

He added that pet friendly accommodation is in demand.

“Pet friendly houses, of which there is a shortage of, rent faster.

“Tenants are also willing to pay more rent to secure the property or pay a pet deposit,” he said.

This is the third year that Dogs Trust is running its Dog Friendly campaign, which aims to make Ireland more accessible to dogs and their owners.

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