An increase in pets surrendered to shelters has correlated with the current rental crisis, experts have said.
RSPCA WA Executive Manager of Animal and Enforcement Operations Hannah Dreaver said RSPCA has recorded an increase in surrenders and a spike in phone calls from owners struggling to find a rental property with their pet.
“Trouble finding a pet-friendly rental continues to be a top reason pets are surrendered to RSPCA WA,” she said.
“It’s painful to think of people already struggling due to the rental crisis having to part with a beloved pet, which is why RSPCA WA is offering emergency cat boarding at a heavily discounted rate for pet owners in need.
“Unfortunately, we don’t have room to take in dogs for emergency boarding at this time.
“RSPCA WA is also lobbying the State Government to introduce legislation that requires landlords to provide a good reason to refuse a renter’s request to keep a pet.”
The rental crisis has seen landlords increase the rent of their properties substantially, with one Byford resident claiming their rental increased by $90 a week in March.
The crisis followed the end of the moratorium on rent, which was in place until March 30 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last year when lockdowns and job loss was at its peak the state government introduced a moratorium, which prevented landlords from increasing rent and stopped residents from being evicted without proper cause.
Shelters across Perth noted an increase in surrendered pets when the Moratorium ended in March, and has since seen more pets surrendered.
Many homes listed for rent are advertised as no pets permitted or that only small pets will be considered.
This has left many Western Australian’s with limited options and some residents have had to consider giving up their pet in order to be considered for rentals.
“An increase in surrenders puts huge pressure on shelters and rescue groups across WA – there is a finite amount of space and resources available to care for these animals,” Ms Dreaver said.
“Adopting from a rescue means you’ll be giving a gorgeous animal a second chance, and helping to relieve some of this pressure. “
RSPCA WA advises residents if a landlord initially refuses to allow pets, it may be possible to talk them around by showing a photo of the pet or offering to introduce them.
“A ‘pet resume’ is another good option – include all your pet’s details and references from previous landlords, neighbours or your vet,” Ms Dreaver said.
“Some properties may allow you to have pets if you are able to pay them a pet bond.
“This will help cover the landlord’s costs for cleaning or repairs and give them peace of mind.”
RSPCA WA said if it is impossible to keep the pet at the residence owners could consider options such as family and friends.
“Your pet may not be able to live with your right now, but that’s no reason to give up on a buddy forever.
“If no one can take your pets in, short-term boarding could be a good option.”