Over a year ago I wrote a blog post called “Beauty in Cat Poo“, in which I had a rather long rant about pet-unfriendly rental and strata accommodation.
So it is with happiness that I write 18 months later that the NSW government is calling for submissions asking whether people support a review of the barriers to cat and dog ownership in relation to residential tenancy laws.
I will be submitting my opinion with a resounding yes. I only wish I could tick a double yes, or a yes plus, a yes on steroids, a yes the size of a mammoth! A yes which is big cat sized!
While some may not go as far as to say that pet ownership is a right (I think it should be), I’m sure there are plenty of like-minded people out there who are unaware that the government is even considering the issue. I think it would be terribly sad if the opportunity to make some headway on this issue was lost.
So I’m making as much noise as possible about it. I’ve put it on my facebook. I’ve emailed almost my entire address book, and now I’m blogging about it. (I find myself at this moment wishing I had more friends so I could help make a bigger wave of support).
Here’s a snippet of what got me so hot under the collar 18 months ago:
The invisible rulemakers
…To be honest I often think of the body corporate and strata managers as figments of someone’s imagination. I acknowledge that one frequently hears of the body corporate. However have you ever seen one?
There’s no office with ‘body corporate’ signage. There’s no letterbox.
Forget the invisible man of politics the true mystery of today is the body corporate. Really, think about it… what does a body corporate look like? What makes a body look corporate? Is it the human figure which has been processed, streamlined, structured, and programmed to function off finance rather than more natural fuel?
However I will put aside for a moment the mysterious-ness of the body corporate or the strata management company and move on to the critical question at hand.
Why do these people get to decide whether you have a pet? In some situations, your landlord may be quite happy for your to own a pet, but this body with the corporate look has decided you cannot. Ah, I hear you all cry out… but of course they can decide this. Pets can be messy. True. However so can children and I’ve yet to see a complex advertised as ‘no children allowed’. (I suspect retirement villages are generally without children, although with the age of childbirth creeping ever higher who knows what may happen in the future).
In 2011, with more and more people remaining single, I believe pets should start to have the same rights as children – at least in the home. I get mad when I read on the cat protection society website that a cat was surrendered because of “unfriendly accommodation”.
My home was ‘pet friendly’ when I moved in four years ago… Recently the strata management company issued new strata laws which said only fish and birds (in a cage) were permissable. I checked with the real estate agent regarding a grandfather clause. Surely if you have moved into pet friendly accommodation, they cannot suddenly become unfriendly and expect you to give up your pets? The answer I received was – as much as they knew – it was fine to continue as before. So while that’s good news for Licorice, Saffron and myself, I do feel for anyone new moving in who may be denied the chance to have a pet.
And why did they change their minds? Because some people had some dogs and they were irresponsible owners and the dogs made such a mess of the carpet that it had to be replaced. To this day I’m still puzzled how they went from ‘dog causes mess’ to ‘cat not allowed’.
Such a situation would be aided if the laws were changed as currently proposed. New South Wales would adopt the same laws as the ACT where
“the default position is that pets are allowed, with the onus on the owners corporation to not unreasonably withhold permission.”
Oh, what a delight if that were to occur. Had the strata remained resolute that no pets were allowed, I would have moved back to mum’s place rather than surrender Licorice and Saffron, yet I know that some people don’t have that option up their sleeve. According to Cat Protection NSW, up to 20% of adult cats they take in are victims of pet-unfriendly rental and strata accommodation.
That’s 20% too many.
Please take a few minutes to answer the survey and please, vote yes in question 18.
For more information see: www.dlg.gov.au/CATaskforce or contact Cat Protection Society.
I thank you all for your support in advance and the kitties thank you too!