LIVINGSTON, Mont. – Finding housing in the Gallatin Valley is hard enough, never mind if you have pets. The surrendering of pets is on the rise.
“It’s almost an epidemic. Our surrenders are 430 this year alone and that’s up 20% a year ago,” Stafford Animal Shelter Executive Director Steve Leach said.
Eight-year-old Phoebe is a well-behaved dog that was surrender to Stafford a couple weeks ago because her owners couldn’t find housing that allows pets. The shelter is receiving dogs and cats that used to be Stafford puppies and kittens.
There’s a new room at the shelter called the surrender room. Surrendering of animals has been happening so much at the shelter that they thought it was necessary to have a private room for the owners and their animals to go through this process together in private.
“When they surrender them it’s like giving up a family member and it’s a very emotional experience,” Leach said.
Many landlords don’t allow animals because they’re afraid of the wear and tear on their rental, though one landlord told Leach that it can be beneficial to allow animals.
“Their gross profit goes up 10% and they charge higher rent, they charge higher damage deposits. They find that the renters stay longer because they want to keep their pets and they don’t have a lot of alternatives. In a lot of cases and there’s a lot of studies for it that it’s good business to rent with pets,” said Leach.
Leach said about half of the surrenders the shelter receives are due to housing issues.
Older animals are typically the ones being surrendered and they are the ones that have a more difficult time being adopted from the shelter.