We see firsthand how the lack of pet-friendly housing negatively impacts dogs and cats. Our surrender numbers in the past year show that 190 pets were surrendered for housing or financial reasons. Those two issues are by far the most prevalent factors in pets coming into our shelter. Other animal welfare partners have also seen an increase in surrenders because people lost their housing and can not find a new place to live that will accept their pets. In our service area, housing is scarce, expensive, and pets are not welcome in many rentals.
A small bit of good news for renting pet parents came from the legislature and governor last month when a bill capping pet deposits and fees was signed into law. Gov. Jared Polis signed House Bill 23-1068 and the new law will go into effect on January 1, 2024. The law limits the amount a landlord can charge for a pet security deposit to $300. While that is still a lot of money, some landlords currently charge a full month’s rent for each pet in the home. Pet deposits must also be refundable, which is not currently required. Monthly pet fees (pet rent) are capped at $35 or 1.5% of the rent, whichever is higher.
In addition, insurers are now prohibited from denying homeowner’s insurance or a dwelling fire insurance policy based solely on the breed of a dog at a residence. Insurers are not allowed to inquire about the breed of a pet dog, although they can ask if a specific animal has been deemed dangerous.
Another change that comes with the passage of the bill is that law enforcement officers executing an eviction must give pets to tenants if they are present. If tenants are not present, the animal must be given to local animal control with efforts made to inform the tenant of its location.
While this is progress, it doesn’t go as far as originally intended. The original bill banned all pet deposits and pet fees, which would have been huge for pet families. While some view the passage of the bill as a victory regarding pet-owner rights, others worry that new limits on pet rent and security deposits may result in fewer landlords renting their properties to pet-owning renters.
When the bill was being debated, a shelter dog named Queso was inside the Capitol. His furry face reminded lawmakers that their vote impacts real family pets who may end up homeless because of the financial challenges families face when renting or insuring their homes.
Our longest-term dog is Rosco, a young shepherd mix. At 45 lbs, he is the perfect-sized dog for traveling and other adventures. He is a happy, handsome, energetic boy who loves to swim, hike, play with toys, and hang out with people. He knows sit, down, off, wait/stay, come, spin, and has even started agility! He is selective of his dog friends, so being an only dog may be best. Our wonderful trainer has been working with him on learning his manners. Rosco is very smart, affectionate, and trainable. Rosco would be great on a ranch or in an active outdoorsy household.
Second Chance Humane Society’s Animal Resource Center and Shops have served San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties since 1994. Adoption hours are Wednesday through Sunday from 11 am to 5:30 pm. View our shelter pets and services online: www.secondchancehumane.org