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Foreclosures and Job Losses Continue to Create Homeless Animals

Over the past year, we have taken in many dogs whose owners are unemployed, whose homes are in foreclosure, who have taken jobs at lower wages, or who have been forced to work longer hours to make up for absent co-workers. Many people are moving into apartments or in with their parents or other relatives, and their dogs are not welcome.

We wanted to point out a few resources for those who must rehome themselves and their pets. The first two are sites that help people find rental housing that allows pets:http://www.mynewplace.com/ and http://www.MyCheapApartments.com. For some excellent advice on changing minds and presenting a good case for your well-behaved and healthy dog, see the HSUS site.

For property managers and rental property owners, we would like to put in a good word for responsible pet owners everywhere. Somewhere around fifty per cent of US households own pets; think of how many more potential applicants you'll have with a careful pet policy in place! Property owners, you are ultimately the decision makers on this issue. Please consider allowing pets whose owners can provide clear evidence of commitment to their pets: references from previous rentals; a letter from a vet indicating their pets are spayed/neutered and up to date on vaccines/titres and yearly exams; a letter from the president of a homeowners' organization; willingness to pay a deposit or slightly higher rent for the privilege of a pet-friendly home; even a letter from an obedience class instructor. All these can be evidence that your potential renter is not just a responsible pet owner--she's a responsible person, and she'll take good care of your property. Finally, please remember that a great many people have lost a great deal in the past two years; must they lose their pets as well?

Our hearts go out to those whose lives continue to be wrenched out of shape by circumstances beyond their control. If you are being forced into an apartment or rental, please start looking for a pet-friendly home as soon as you can. Many local shelters have lists of pet-friendly apartments. Ask friends and colleagues for recommendations and suggestions. The competition for housing that allows pets can be stiff, so be creative, assertive and positive when it comes to finding a new place for yourself and your family.