In a recent Booster, Premier Brad Wall was seen in a photo with a dog at the SPCA—sometimes called the Humane Society. It is great that Mr.
Wall shows support for the SPCA, but there is much more his government could do for our four legged friends.
Because of the outdated residential tenancy laws and attitudes toward renters the matching of homeless pets and non-homeowners does not happen in Saskatchewan. When it comes to pets in public and private rental housing, Saskatchewan is many years behind other provinces and countries. As long as governments value the landlord business more than animals and renters, it is going to stay that way.
There is not enough money or space at the SPCA to provide appropriate care of stray animals. People think that the main way to solve this problem is with money for a bigger building. In the meantime there are many renters who would love to have one or two pets and would gladly adopt an animal in need.
Renting is no longer a temporary form of housing. Because of the cost of buying a house or condo, renting for a lot of people is long-term/life-long. There are many renters living in one place for 15 or more years. Imagine longing for a pet, but because of your socio economic status, not ever being allowed to have one.
There are also people who live in their own home for many years, but because of health or lifestyle changes they can no longer maintain a house and yard. Those people quite often buy a condo or become renters and are forced to give up their loved-ones—the dog or cat that has been a part of the family and provided happiness, purpose and good mental and physical health.
There has to be ways in which most potential pet owners and landlords can put in a little extra effort to provide more people with the opportunity to have pets, decrease the demand on pet shelters and provide a home for more puppies and kitties, In the big picture—in the long run, it likely doesn’t cause any more problem or cost to rent to pet owners than it does to some people without pets.
There are tenants who might be willing to have frequent inspections, take pet care and training workshops, abide by pet quotas (set for all city households), pay a refundable pet damage deposit and of coarse follow the noise bylaws just as homeowners with pets do. Maybe the City and SPCA could use funds to hire people to carry out ideas such as the above and have more people overseeing pet care in the community—as well as spaying and neutering all feral cats, which is another whole discussion.
It seems that governments, landlords and housing groups choose to take the easy way out and punish all pets and all renters because of a few bad experiences. It is the view of this writer, that adversarial approaches like this leave society as a whole, less humane.
Brenda Cooke - Swift Current