We’re working hard to increase pet-inclusive rental housing, because we believe everyone should have access to the joy of pets – and, in turn, that pets help communities grow stronger.

History & Background

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when so many animals were found without a home, Dr. Gary Michelson started the Found Animals Foundation, which led to the microchipping and adoption of millions of pets. With a commitment to continue keeping pets and people together, he turned to the next scalable solution: increasing the availability of truly pet-inclusive rental housing.

Teaming up with the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), the Michelson Found Animals Foundation commissioned a much-needed survey to better understand the issues and find the right solutions in order to keep animals with their owners.

From these findings, the Pet-Inclusive Housing Initiative has developed resources and partnerships that support pet owners, as well as showcase the value of pet-inclusive rental housing with rental owners and operators.

Looking Ahead


Through compelling research and actionable tools, our goal is to build a stronger rental housing industry and a more pet-positive world.


Our survey found that 92% of renters and 93% of rental housing operators agree pets are important members of the family. We will use this positive connection with animals to drive the conversation, working together to help rewrite decades-old policies and find homes that keep pets and people together.


83% of property managers say pet-friendly vacancies fill faster. There's a clear financial advantage for rental housing operators – and it could lead to millions more pets finding good homes.


Through relevant research, resources and tools, we want to help the rental housing industry explore pet-inclusive opportunities, while also supporting pet owners in being a positive part of their community.



Meet a few of our team members who are standing up for what’s important for pets and the people around them.

Dr. Gary and Alya Michelson

Co-Chairs of Michelson Philanthropies

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Dr. Gary K. Michelson is a board-certified orthopedic spinal surgeon, inventor of more than 990 patents throughout the world, the founder and funder of three private foundations, as well as an inventor, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and humane advocate. Alya Michelson is a recording artist and an integral part of the Michelson Philanthropy effort, launching FirstGen, an initiative that uplifts and supports immigrant women.

Steve Feldman


Human ANimal Bond Research InstiTute (HABRI)

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Steven Feldman is the President of the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI). As the leader of the only research organization focused solely on the human-animal bond, he has developed significant expertise in communicating the science of human-animal interaction and its practical application in society. 

He also serves as liaison to the American Veterinary Medical Association Steering Committee on Human-Animal Interaction and on the Pet Partners Human-Animal Bond Advisory Board, where he has the opportunity to develop policies and resources to strengthen the human-animal bond for all.

brett yates

Brett Yates

Chief Executive Officer, Michelson Found Animals

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Brett Yates is the Chief Executive Officer for the Michelson Found Animals Foundation, where he has helped launch and grow the Return To Owner program, Leap Venture Studios, the Better Neighbor Project, and the Pet-Inclusive Housing Initiative. His goal is to confront the industry’s broken legacy systems and create a world where everyone, regardless of their socioeconomic status, has access to the joy of pets.

Ross Barker

Program Director

Pet-inclusive housing initiative Michelson Found Animals

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Ross Barker focuses on creating more housing opportunities for people with pets trying to find rental opportunities by demonstrating the benefits of pet-friendly housing to rental housing operators, residents, and communities. Prior to joining Michelson Found Animals, Ross led research and innovation teams for Banfield Pet Hospital and Kinship, both part of the Mars Petcare organization. Ross serves on the board of CATalyst Council, which works to enable the lifelong health and welfare of companion cats, and holds master’s degrees in business and public policy.

Judy Bellack

Industry Principal 

Pet-Inclusive Housing Initiative
Michelson Found Animals

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 Judy Bellack is a 30-year veteran of the multifamily industry, holding various executive leadership positions with some of the foremost supplier companies.  Judy has served both as Chair of NAA’s National Suppliers’ Council and NMHC’s Supplier-Partner Alliance and was the recipient of NAA’s Outstanding Supplier in 2010. She currently operates a consulting practice advising start-up technologies in the multifamily space. Through her expertise in the multifamily industry, Judy is helping to advance the Pet-Inclusive Housing Initiative.


Pet-Inclusive Housing Report

The Pet-Inclusive Housing Report highlights the benefits of pet-friendly rental housing by sharing new data and market-based solutions that benefit all – so operators, residents and communities win together.

A major opportunity exists for property owners and operators to embrace pet-inclusive policies to attract and retain residents and enable more people to access the joy of pets in their lives.

Brett Yates

Chief Executive Officer, Michelson Found Animals

From Our Blog

Read the latest news, trends and tips in building more pet-friendly communities.

Breaking Breed Barriers: Pawsitive Insurance Providers

Breaking Breed Barriers: Pawsitive Insurance Providers

By Judy Bellack, Industry Principal, The Pet-Inclusive Housing Initiative Liability is a serious thing, especially when managing a multimillion-dollar apartment asset. Every policy decision and many partnerships must be viewed through the lens of accountability,...

What’s the Score? Leveling Up the Rental Housing Pet Game

What’s the Score? Leveling Up the Rental Housing Pet Game

By Judy Bellack, Industry Principal, The Pet-Inclusive Housing Initiative   Is your property pet-friendly? If you’re one of the 70-80% of market rate rental housing operators who accept pets, you’ve probably just answered that question with a resounding ‘yes.’...