Rental paws

A beach stroll. Photo: Jessica Moroney

Animal shelters and foster care facilities around Perth are at maximum capacity, with animals struggling to find homes.

The government’s rental moratorium ended on March 31, with tenants no longer protected from being evicted.

With many families unable to find a rental that allows animals, they have been forced to surrender their pets or risk becoming homeless.

Dogs Refuge Home in Shenton Park have gone from an average of eight surrender applications per week to eight in a day since the moratorium ended.

Aaron Brock speaks about growing surrender applications in Perth. Video: Jessica Moroney

Perth Rescue Angels chairperson Laura Durkin has noticed the significant increase in cat surrenders since the end of the moratorium.

“We are getting daily contacts from people looking for someone to look after their pets for an unknown amount of time. It’s not a great situation for anybody,” she says.

Ms Durkin says in 2020 there were a total of 2,247 adoptions, and they are hoping to increase adoption rates this year.

“We are averaging 200 adoptions a month, in 2020 we were averaging 300 adoptions,” she says.

In Western Australia the cap price for pet bonds cannot exceed $260, however there is no legislation that lessors must allow pets.

Dogs Behind Bars director and foster adoption coordinator Carol Stewart says pounds and animal shelters are inundated with private surrenders from people unable to find a rental allowing pets.

“A lot of these are very emotional and heartbreaking situations for families who have had their dogs since a puppy and now have to give them up because they can’t find anywhere to live,” she says.

Ms Stewart says there should be legislation allowing families to have pets through a pet bond, with people being happy to pay the price if it meant keeping their pets.

“Landlords are taking advantage; rents are going through the roof and people are being held to ransom about getting a roof over their kids’ heads,” Ms Stewart says.

“We have a lot of dogs come in with behavioural problems, however at the moment we are getting a lot of dogs in who are just lovely, they have been in a home environment their whole lives.”

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