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Pet abandonment nearly triples during moving season

2SPCA-VIR2-15-CampaignVisualMontreal, June 29 2016 – Every summer, thousands of Quebec residents are forced to make the gut-wrenching decision to part with a beloved pet, whom they consider a member of their family, in order to secure affordable rental housing. Indeed, though one in two Quebec households has a pet, only 4.2% of landlords accept tenants with dogs. This restriction disproportionately affects low-income families, who have more limited opportunities for housing.

Faced with a similar problem, the Ontario government responded by enacting legislation invalidating no-pet clauses in leases in the 1990’s. Similarly, France and Belgium have judged no-pet clauses in residential leases to be unreasonable, abusive, and contrary to public order, and have consequently declared them null and void.

The Montreal SPCA believes it is time for Quebec to follow suit. No-pet clauses in residential leases are devastating, not only to the families who find themselves unable to keep their pets, but for the animals themselves. “We are currently in the middle of what we call “moving season”, the weeks before and after July 1st, where the number of animals coming into the Montreal SPCA shelter nearly triples from 600 to 1,600 animals per month”, explains Me Alanna Devine, Director of Animal Advocacy at the Montreal SPCA. “We know that a significant portion of these animals are abandoned because their families are unable to find affordable rental housing that permits pets.”

In March 2015, we launched a provincial petition sponsored by MNA Manon Massé to invalidate no-pet clauses in residential leases. Though the petition received overwhelming public support, collecting over 22,000 signatures in three months, the provincial government refused to take action. Despite this disappointing turn of events, the Montreal SPCA will continue to work to make no-pet clauses a thing of the past. In the meantime, we provide the public with tools to assist in finding pet-friendly housing, as well as some tips on how to deal with a problematic landlord or syndicate of co-owners below:

  • Click here for some suggestions on how to facilitate your search for pet-friendly housing.
  • Visit Appartmap to find pet friendly rentals in your area.
  • Click here for information on your rights and obligations, as well as for some tips on how to deal with your landlord.
  • Download a model letter to send to your landlord by clicking here, or to your syndicate of co-owners by clicking here.
  • For additional information on the issue of no-pet clauses in residential leases, consult our frequently asked questions (FAQ) by clicking here.
  • To express support for the right to possess animals in residential units and to obtain legislative change on this issue, we encourage the public to communicate with Martin Coiteux, Minister of Municipal Affairs, Regions and Land Occupancy at: ministre@mamot.gouv.qc.ca. For a model letter to send to Mr. Coiteux click here.
  • For more information, visit www.spca.com/keepingfamiliestogether

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Media contact: Anita Kapuscinska, Media Relations Coordinator, Montreal SPCA, 514 359-5198, or anitak@spca.com.

About the Montreal SPCA
Founded in Montreal in 1869, we were the first humane society in Canada and our mission is to:

  • protect animals against negligence, abuse, and exploitation;
  • represent their interests and ensure their well-being;
  • raise public awareness and help develop compassion for all living beings.

For more information about the Montreal SPCA, please visit our website at www.spca.com.

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