Housing and Animal Ownership
Pets in Social Housing
Housing policies can have a considerable impact on animal welfare.
The Housing (Wales) Act, which received Royal Assent in September 2014, offered numerous opportunities to improve animal welfare, and RSPCA Cymru worked closely with the Welsh Government to ensure this potential was realised.
Many challenges are posed by the keeping of pets in sheltered, social or council accommodation; and dealing with these issues should be an important consideration for social landlords, with a well-enforced Pets Policy, potentially linked to a tenancy agreement, a key step.
The work of many housing providers in Wales is recognised through the RSPCA's PawPrints scheme.
Pets in privately rented accommodation
With the Renting Homes (Amendment) (Wales) Bill - which seeks to provide greater safeguards to those in the private rented sector - now law in Wales, the RSPCA is concerned by the lack of attention the Bill has afforded to both pets and pet owners within the sector in Wales.
Around one in three people in Wales live in privately rented accommodation, and 47 percent of all households in Wales own at least one pet, while recent RSPCA polling states that 24 percent of Welsh adults say they are interested in buying a new puppy or dog in the next six months. Amid ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, pet ownership is on the rise in Wales, but accessibility to privately rented accommodation that allows owners to responsibly have pets is not growing with that trend.
The RSPCA believes that the best way to create a Wales that is kind and compassionate is to create a more level playing field in which tenants can keep their pets in a responsible manner within privately rented homes through the introduction of model tenancy agreements. Such agreements will remove many of the current blanket bans on pet ownership and provide tenants with greater flexibility to keep their pets where it is appropriate, and where they can look after them responsibly.
The RSPCA has produced standard pet policies for private landlords and best practice guides which can be downloaded from the tab below.