The industry welcomes discussions of federal proposals in Congress.
US federal lawmakers have introduced 2 legislations in June that seek to ease housing for pet-owning citizens and families from lower-income brackets.
The Pets Belong with Families Act aims to prohibit breed-specific, size and weight restrictions imposed by public housing agencies (PHAs) on housing, undoing the current regulations that prevent pet owners from finding stable and affordable housing options.
The legislation, however, will also safeguard various PHAs’ rightful discretion toward “potentially dangerous individual animals,” not overriding local jurisdictions or private housing restrictions.
The bill was introduced by U.S. Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), and Jason Crow (D-Colo.).
Another bill, the Providing for Unhoused People with Pets (PUPP) Act, proposes to support homeless shelters with grants for pet-owning residents.
Under this, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) may offer one-time grants for the acquisition, rehabilitation, re-purposing, retrofitting or construction of new properties to provide for unhoused individuals who own pets. These grants also cover pet-related operating costs and vet and behavioral services.
The bill is sponsored by U.S. Reps. Jason Crow (D-Colo.), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Nancy Mace (R-S.C.).
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) commends the federal lawmakers.
Matt Bershadker, President and CEO said: “The ASPCA is proud to support these critical pieces of legislation that protect the powerful and mutually beneficial connections between people and their beloved pets.”
President and CEO of the Pet Advocacy Network, Mike Bober, attributed the PUPP Act as an “important resource for pet owners in crisis.” While the Pets Belong with Families Act “removes [the] barrier to pet ownership” faced by pet-owning families in public housing.
“[If] taken together, they would send a strong, clear message that Congress recognizes the power of pets in all our lives and takes steps to protect and encourage it,” he says in a conversation with GlobalPETS.
Why this move?
Major challenges citizens face when trying to find pet-friendly accommodation include breed, size and weight restrictions, no-pet policies, high pet deposits and sparse pet-friendly emergency shelter options.
Furthermore, transitional housing for unhoused individuals often poses restrictions on pets, exacerbating homelessness.
The 2021 Pet-Inclusive Housing Report reflected that over 70% of residents in rental housing found it difficult to find pet-friendly rentals. Nearly 6 out of 10 also reported landlords asking for higher rent for spaces that did allow pets.
“These bills will ensure people living in affordable housing or experiencing homelessness can keep their pets by removing discriminatory breed restrictions in public housing and providing funding to housing services to accommodate pets,” says Rep. Adam Schiff.
For Rep. Nancy Mace, the legislation removes a “significant barrier” to emergency housing by recognizing the importance of keeping families and individuals together with their animals.
In the UK, a bill introduced earlier in the year wants to change the country’s private rental sector by allowing more freedom to those renters who own pets.
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