Pet-Friendly Housing Toolkit: Policy Samples for Cities

A growing body of research suggests spending time with pets is good for people’s health and wellbeing. People with pets tend to get more exercise, report less loneliness and stress, and have stronger social ties.

Even in the face of significant stressors, like the loss of a spouse or close friend, pet ownership appears to help mitigate the negative health effects of stress.

Yet despite all these benefits, there are barriers that stand in the way of people enjoying life with a pet.

Barriers for pet ownership

  • One of the top reasons people surrender pets to shelters is that they have to make a housing change and can’t find an apartment where they can bring their cat or dog.
  • Even where pets are welcome, in many places there are restrictions on what breeds may be allowed.
  • Some housing also requires high fees from pet owners.
  • Seniors are often forced to give up beloved pets if they have to move for senior care.
  • When pets get lost, there may not be local processes in place that help them get back to their owners.
  • Finally, when pet owners face financial or other crises, they often don’t know where to turn for support.

Ways cities can help

Here are tools to help cities support pet-friendly housing and pet ownership, including model ordinances and information for housing owners and citizens.

Model ordinances for cities

These downloadable model ordinances can be customized for any city, providing a starting point for pet-friendly legislation.

Other tools to help

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