Living in Vancouver and being a pet owner is tough. Landlords all over the city have a blanket “no pet policy,” citing reasons from “animals are too loud” to “animals damage apartments.”

Even my own home is now “no pets allowed.” When I first moved here, it allowed dogs and cats. Most of us had small dogs, and we knew each other from walks and our dogs playing in the courtyard. 

The building was friendly, and it attracted a nice quality of tenant.

Now my dog is “grandfathered” into my lease as new tenants are not allowed pets. The neighbours I knew are all gone, and no one knows anyone in the building. Correction. No one knows everyone, but everyone knows me. Why? Because when I’m walking my dog, people feel comfortable to say hello and start a conversation.

The fact is, anyone with a pet that destroys an apartment will be a nightmare tenant even without the pet. If they don’t have a dog that barks at 2 a.m. unchecked, they’ll have a stereo blasting at 2 a.m. If they don’t have a cat that urinates on the hardwood floors, they’ll have a party where guests … I think you get the idea.

This law is doing only one thing. It’s punishing law abiding, responsible citizens. Actually, it’s doing two things. It’s also crowding the SPCA with animals from people who had to make that ultimate choice: live in a home without the pet, or on the street with it.

On paper, the landlords sound as though they have an iron clad case. In practice, however, their case falls apart. Several years ago Toronto adopted a law that forbade landlords from discriminating against tenants with pets. At first there was the typical outcry, but eventually landlords discovered there was zero increase in problems due to allowing pets.

If you live in Vancouver and want to make sure pets always have a homes the online petition.

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