August 3, 2023
Affordable housing is hard to find, and it’s especially difficult with a large dog. Size, weight, and breed restrictions force many families to make the heartbreaking decision to surrender their pets and also prevent people from adopting — leading to more pressure on already overcrowded public animal shelters.
Best Friends Animal Society and Michelson Found Animals are working together to increase pet-inclusive housing through research, policy and legislative change, and by providing tools, resources and education for dog owners, and rental owner/operators. Best Friends and Michelson Found Animals aim to empower renters to educate owner/operators about why allowing all good dogs, regardless of their size or breed, is good for the owner/operators, the renters, and animal shelters.
Arbitrary housing barriers, most often regarding size or breed, are the number one reason dogs are surrendered by their family to a shelter. Sadly, big dogs wait in shelters much longer than small dogs. In addition, they are at a significantly higher risk of euthanasia because inaccurate stereotypes about the space and care they require cause many landlords to restrict dogs based on their size and/or breed. Michelson Found Animals Foundation and the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) released a 2021 Pet-Inclusive Housing Report, and the residents surveyed said pet-inclusive housing is hard to find and too expensive. Arbitrary pet policies caused nearly a quarter of respondents to move, and 14% of respondents surrendered their beloved pet because of their housing situation.
Easing restrictions to create pet-inclusive housing saves lives. Best Friends has dedicated a web page to helping big dogs and their humans. Here, we encourage people to adopt from their local shelters and urge them to get involved in advocacy. Michelson Found Animals worked with Best Friends to create resources for tenants, including talking points supported by data about why pet–inclusive policies are good for owner/operators, a downloadable pet resume, and doggy date trading cards. The Pet Inclusive-Housing Report found that 33% of pet-owning residents would adopt another pet if restrictions on their rental housing were lifted. With a common-sense easing of restrictions over time, up to 8.2 million more animals could find homes in pet-inclusive rental housing. This will save the lives of these animals as well as improve the lives of their owners.
“Most Americans view their pets as members of the family, and arbitrary breed and size barriers in housing force families to choose between keeping their pets or keeping a roof over their heads,” said Kelsey Gilmore-Futeral, legislative attorney for Best Friends Animal Society. “We are facing a national housing shortage, which affects people with limited resources more acutely than others.”
About Best Friends Animal Society
Best Friends Animal Society is a leading animal welfare organization working to end the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters by 2025. Founded in 1984, Best Friends is a pioneer in the no-kill movement and has helped reduce the number of animals killed in shelters from an estimated 17 million per year to around 355,000. Best Friends runs lifesaving programs across the country, as well as the nation’s largest no-kill animal sanctuary. Working collaboratively with a network of more than 4,200 animal welfare and shelter partners, and community members nationwide, Best Friends is working to Save Them All®. For more information, visit bestfriends.org.
About Michelson Found Animals
Michelson Found Animals Foundation is a leading animal welfare non-profit that believes people and pets are better together. Funded by Dr. Gary Michelson and Alya Michelson, Found Animals operates a range of programs, including community partnerships, catalytic grants, impact investments, and education and advocacy initiatives that share a common goal: championing pets at every point they intersect with our society. Found Animals has helped more than 8 million pets since it was founded in 2005. Learn more at foundanimals.org.