Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pet friendly rentals hard to find in wake of cyclone, flooding

Cairns Pet owners faced difficult decisions as cyclone Yasi approached: as if worrying about your home and family wasn't enough, people considering evacuating their homes (or facing forced evacuations) needed to plan for their pets too, as pets are not accepted by evacuation centres.  Even shelters like the RSPCA in Cairns needed to be evacuated.  Now, elsewhere in Queensland, families whose homes were damaged by Queensland floods or Cyclone Yasi are struggling to find rental accomodation which accepts pets (a difficult job at the best of times).  This highlights the importance of planning for pet ownership (thinking of possible complications) and better community planning in the face of disaster.

Read Cairns Vet pet advice and Pet news on the web.

Disasters should cause 'no pets' policy rethink: RSPCA

Caitlin Milne
February 10, 2011

Many pets were shut out of new buildings when their owners relocated after the floods.

Many pets were shut out of new buildings when their owners relocated after the floods.

The RSCPA has called on landlords to show leniency and relax 'no pet' policies as struggling pet-owners seek temporary housing after recent disasters.

RSPCA Queensland spokesman Michael Beatty said while the task of reuniting pets with their owners in flood or cyclone affected areas had been "significantly successful", they were now concerned about residents searching for temporary accommodation.

Mr Beatty said the outlook was grim for owners whose homes were damaged or "wiped out" from the disasters and had to turn to rental properties with a strict 'no pet' policy.

"We urge landlords who have previously had a no pet policy to show a bit of compassion to those people who rent their temporary accommodation,” he said.

“This obviously applies to people whose houses have been badly damaged or wiped out by the floods and need to find temporary housing.”

Although he was unaware of anybody being turned away by landlords, Mr Beatty said the RSPCA expected it would become an emerging issue.

“We may need to do what we did in Rockhampton and set up temporary animal shelters during this time," he said.

“RSPCA Queensland set up two temporary shelters to look after pets displaced by the Rockhampton floods and they fulfilled a vital role, but we really urge land lords to make an exception.”

Property Owners Association of Queensland president Bruce McBryde said it was up to prospective tenants to negotiate with landlords to relax the policy.

“I guess people who have no pet policies have generally got them because they realise that people who have pets tend to cause lots of wear and tear,” he said.

“So it is part of the initiative - if you have a good quality property in a good condition that you have kept pet-free, having a pet in for even a small time will involve a fair bit of cost for the landlord, which tenants usually aren't willing to pay.”

Mr McBryde said although he was a pet-friendly landlord, others had their own reasons for their policies.

“Landlords who don't want pets, clearly don't want pets,” he said.

“In terms of costing, it costs more to maintain a property that has pet access to one that doesn't, [so] I guess it's about negotiation.

"Most people are reasonable, but if you want to have a pet on a property that's designated pet free you certainly have to be willing to pay the extra costs.”

Mr McBryde said having pets was a long term commitment and owners needed to be responsible for their animals.

“People with pets can choose places where people want pets. If that means paying more or not having the same access to facilities, that's part of the cost with having pets,” he said.

Mr Beatty said the RSPCA was still working to reunited animals with their owners and that Queensland councils had shown compassion in not setting a time frame for unclaimed animals to be put down.

“Originally Brisbane had a time frame, Ipswich didn't,” Mr Beatty said.

“But it is to the best of my knowledge that all councils are showing compassion and holding animals from flood and cyclone affected areas ... and have not started to process the animals as of yet.”

To list a pet with the RSPCA Queensland Lost and Found service, phone 1300 363 736 or 07 3426 9999 or visit www.rspcaqld.org.au.


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