More landlords should allow pets in apartments

Foeleana Sansevero

As a Connecticut resident and senior, I have begun the challenge of apartment hunting. I’ve made a daily habit of scanning through the Classified section of the New Haven Register. Amongst the creative descriptions of otherwise ordinary apartments for rent, there seems to be an overwhelming presence of the saying “no pets”. Even if the ad itself doesn’t specify whether pets are allowed or not, the phone call is usually cut short once they find out that I have a dog and a cat. Although my adopted beagle mix, Skyler, only weighs about 18 pounds, is crate trained, and housebroken, there is some strong pre-conceived notion that dogs shouldn’t live in apartments.

The risk of housing an aggressive dog is fully understood. However, the majority of dogs are not aggressive. Anyone that has met Skyler knows that he loves people. Is it fair to discriminate against all dogs because a few dogs that made it into the five o’clock news for attacking some intruder? Most apartment owners that I have met or talked to won’t budge from their “no pet” policy, even after I’ve offered to bring Skyler along for a visit.

It would seem that there should be an interview process that would allow responsible guardians of dogs to apply for an apartment knowing that their dog should be up to date on vaccines and not a hazard to other members of the building/house. Rather than flat rejection of all pet guardians, apartment owners should give each person a fair opportunity to find a place to live with their four-legged companions. Not to mention that the few places that do allow dogs make the human pay rent each month for their dog, so it could be a potential source of extra income for the apartment owner.

Amazingly, there are an overwhelming amount of places that allow cats. I know cats that could make more damage to an apartment than a dog! Shredded carpets and couches, and scratched wood floors, panels and corners, along with the problems associated with urine spraying. It is a good time to mention that most cats do not engage in these behaviors, like most dogs are not aggressive, yet apartment owners are willing to let you house a cat or two for the right monthly fee with no hesitation.

It is so frustrating to find a great place to live and then find out that your cat would not be allowed. Millions of cats and dogs are dropped off at animal shelters each year because their guardian is moving to a place that doesn’t allow pets, simply because these individuals cannot find an affordable place to live that allows pets. As a guardian, I would rather be homeless than force my pets to be homeless.

Imagine how few animals would be homeless if apartment owners screened both the human guardians and pets? For example, the landlord could request a vet reference and meet the pets prior to accepting an application. I’m not sure that landlords even realize the magnitude of negative impact that they have on the lives of so many animals.

I have only met one landlord that truly hates animals. The rest have been self-proclaimed animal lovers and guardians themselves. Yet, they take no action and make no exceptions for even the most friendly of animals. Although frustrated, I am optimistic that one day soon I will find the perfect place to live that will accept Skyler and Bomani. After all, humans are the most destructive of creatures on this planet.