Not enough pet friendly homes available, fears situation will get worse
My name is Jake King and I'm an ex Royal Australian Navy clearance diver and volunteer for K9 Rescue Group, a non-profit organisation that rescues, treats and rehomes dogs in WA.
Unfortunately, due to a diving injury I had to medically discharge in May of this year.
As my career in the military came to an end, the opportunity to spend more time with K9 Rescue Group presented itself. I had been a volunteer dog handler for K9 Rescue since 2019. In March of this year, I took on the role of President.
Being a rescue that works very closely with the community, especially dog pounds, there have always been animals needing our care due to the owners becoming homeless. This happens for many different reasons and in the past, mental health seemed to be a large factor in an owner's inability to stay in a home.
Post Covid, those reasons are very different. The main reason is simple – there are not enough homes available and there are even less willing to let families with pets live in them.
We receive on average around 10 to 15 phone calls a week from the public specifically having to surrender their dog due to landlords’ blanket "no" to pets. That’s not including the pounds in the area we service.
Unfortunately, I fear this is only the tip of the iceberg and the situation will get worse before a positive change is made. We are not alone in this. All rescues from rabbits to cats are facing the same issue.
The community can take charge of this situation and affect change. Write to your local MPs and ask for change. Get together for pet walks and rallies. Find and support rescues in your area. Most are not-for-profit, as we are, and rely heavily on the community for support and donations to keep doing what we do.
WA MP Lisa Baker is a huge advocate for change and we can't thank her enough for being a voice for rescues all over WA. I have no political ties to anyone. I simply want to see positive change that will help the families struggling post covid. Ms Baker seems to be the only person at the moment who is taking the housing crisis seriously. The change she is asking for will eventually make rescues, such as ours, in less high demand as more and more families are able to hold on to their beloved pets!
The impact of the crisis is huge. We see families almost daily that have to give up their family pet. This ongoing negativity being released into the community is having an impact on the mental health of thousands of people. That can't be good. Our people are on the frontline. We are the ones dealing with it, giving out the hugs and wiping away the tears as we lead their dog, confused and scared into a strange, loud kennel block. We give the love and care they need, we go home and then do it all again the next day 365 days a year. It takes its toll on our volunteers and staff, also.
To landlords I say, I get it, you’re not doing anything wrong in the eyes of the law. People have done the wrong thing by landlords also. There are definitely two sides to every story.
Just please let's start showing some empathy to our fellow people. They're real people with kids and pets who don't understand. They're not a number or a simple a way to pay a mortgage.
Let's start to change how we think and help each other. Even a little change will inject so much goodwill into the community – it has to be a good thing!