This month I am taking a break from the cats’ point of view to shed light on a very important topic that affects all animals, July 1st otherwise known as Moving Day.
July 1st can be a very happy day. It can be celebrated as our country’s birthday with a neighborhood BBQ or time with friends and family. Or it’s also known as the day which consists of a packed up moving truck; filled with boxes and many flights of stairs – Moving Day! Of course not all moving days are bad, some of them are great, but the worst ones of all are those that leave family members behind. You got it; we’re talking about animals being abandoned on moving day. The little fur babies that once slept at the foot of a warm bed, or lapped milk off a grandmother’s tea saucer are sometimes being left behind. Left behind to fend for themselves in the alley or worse yet locked in an empty apartment waiting to be found. It’s a very sad fact that all Quebecers need to start facing head on.
It is usually for one of two reasons that an animal is left behind. Either the owner no longer wanted the responsibility of caring for the animal (they should have never had it in the first place right?) or the owner was forced to abandon or leave their animal behind because their new home had a “no-pet” clause. What’s a “no-pet” clause you ask? It’s exactly that, a NO PETS ALLOWED clause, forced into a lease agreement by the landlord of said dwelling. For the sake of a worthy article, and not a rant about people who shouldn’t be animal owners, I am going to focus on the latter of these two reasons.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Anita Kapuscinska the Media Relations Coordinator from our local SPCA about this horrible annual occurrence. We touched briefly on some issues that surround this Moving-Day Nightmare; some of her answers might surprise you.
Precious Pets (PP): Approximately how many animals do you take in per month around moving day?
Anita: On average the SPCA takes in around 600 animals per month, every month of the year. In the months around moving season that number nearly triples as we take in close to 1600 animals per month. Within that number there are usually 3 times as many cats as dogs.
PP: Does the SPCA have the capacity to care for 1600 animals, or even 600 animals?
Anita: It is of course very difficult to care for that many animals. The SPCA cannot do it alone. We strongly rely on our foster families and other shelters for assistance throughout the entire year as well as our Annexe (located just across the street from us). We hold many adoption events in order to reach out to the public and encourage adoption. Many people are simply unaware of the number of animals that we receive each month.
PP: Why are so many animals left behind or abandoned.
Anita: Part of the reason for the spike in the animals we receive around July 1st is because, in Quebec, everyone typically moves at the same time. For many lower income families, who have less choice of where to live, their new leases usually include a discriminatory clause ( i.e – no-pet clauses).
PP: These “no-pet” clauses make it very rather impossible for some families to keep their pet with them as they move. What can we all do to help or change what is happening?
Anita: Well, how much trouble is a cat or dog in an apartment really? There are options that each pet owner can try:
- Speak to the landlord and have them meet the animal.
- Ask their vet for a reference, that the animal is in good health and sterilized.
- Ask their current landlord for a letter of reference
- Offer a security deposit
- Propose a trial rental period
- As a last resort ask friends and family if they could temporarily care for your animal.
PP: Is there a petition that we can sign to invalidate these “no-pet” clauses”?
Anita: Yes there is, and in fact we would like to encourage Quebec to follow Belgium and France; countries who have already passed legislation saying that you cannot discriminate against those individuals owning animals. To be part of those who care to make a difference please go to the following website to sign the petition: www.stoppetabandonment.com
So, to all of you out there who can no longer tolerate the injustice some renters face, take 5 minutes out of your busy day, to sign your name. Sign with pride, sign with new knowledge, sign knowing we can all make a difference!