03 October 2008

No pets laws should be outlawed - Response

In the Victoria Times-Colonist today is a Letter to the Editor by Val McWilliams.

I assume McWilliams was writing in response to a TC article about pets in rental units. BC's archaic Residential Tenancy Act allows landlords to prohibit tenants from having pets.

I sent my own Letter to the Editor today, in support of McWilliams.

Bravo! to letter-writer Val McWilliams, of Victoria ("No pets rules should be outlawed").

There are three classes of residents in this province: those who own their homes, those who rent the places where they live and those who haven't a home at all.

Only the first class can choose to have pets without someone else's "property rights" overriding that choice. Only members of that first class can reap the health benefits from having pet companions. Only members of that first class can choose not to be lonely. Only members of that first class can take in a warm live being whose companionship makes the human in the relationship feel needed and appreciated. Only members of that first class can choose to have a companion on which they can pour their otherwise unused love and need to nurture.

With few exceptions, renters and those without homes have incomes substantially lower than homeowners. And more of renters' scant incomes today go to housing - increasingly, over 60 per cent.

It therefore comes as a tremendous irony that the residents of our fair province who would most benefit from having pets are those most likely to be denied them - the people most likely to be in poor health due to the stress of living on too low an income, the people most likely to need the love of a pet companion, and the people most likely to be isolated and lonely and desperately in need of someone to love.

Pets help alleviate stress, improve one's sense of wellbeing, stave off loneliness and isolation, provide security and comfort.

But only homeowners in this province are allowed unrestricted choice to have these health benefits. And property owners - including the BC Government, which provides or subsidizes housing for those on low income - can choose to deny it to the rest of us.

Duncan BC.

Am curious to see if the letter gets published. Given that one letter in favour of tenants is likely enough for this CanWest paper for awhile, I suspect not.

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