16 December 2008

Worsening Economy Hard on Animal Companions

Same old story, over and over and over again. Yet the interests of property owners continue to override the right of renters to hang onto what may be the only thing keeping them alive.

The North Cariboo SPCA, one of the busiest in the province, takes in more cats than any other shelter in the province, and it's second only to Surrey in rescuing dogs.

Anne Gough, who manages the branch that stretches from Prince George through Mackenzie, said many people in the area have lost their jobs and now they can't afford to fill their dog dish.

"We have some people that love their pets but can no longer care for them," Gough said.

Another problem, Gough said, is that some people are being forced to leave their homes and that often means they must give up their pets.

"More and more are moving into rental complexes that don't allow animals,"
she said.

Ever wonder why there are so many homeless singles with pets?1

The fact is that for some, the presence of a pet is the only thing preventing suicide.

So when your choice is between having shelter and suicide, you've really no choice left. And temporary shelters don't allow pets either nor do the overwhelming majority of subsidized housing units in BC.

When everything else is gone, when distrust of humans has taken hold, for those with an affinity for animals their companions are all that's left to help them maintain their humanity, their ability to care for and love another being. Yet these most vulnerable members of our society are shut out from the very services which are supposed to help them, services such as shelters and subsidized housing, because they literally cannot live without their animal companions.

The BC residential tenancy act must be changed to reflect this reality.

1 Take a look at the first category listed in the Photos section of the Dignity Village website. Such a village, of course, would never be tolerated in places like Victoria or Toronto. And one can completely forget about BC's (and Alberta's) corporate government disallowing no-pets clauses in rental agreements.

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