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New research shows ‘mixed messages for pet-owning tenants’

The message from housing providers for the pet-owning tenant seeking a home is at best ‘mixed’, says new research contained in a report published by PATHWAY.

The Pet Policy survey, conducted by PATHWAY, a pets and housing working group formed in 1990, shows that 84% of UK housing providers currently have pet policies for all new tenants.

But a closer look reveals that in many cases those same policies actually exclude the most popular of all pets – cats and dogs!

52% of local authorities and 37% of housing associations specifically bar ownership of, effectively, all but fish and caged birds.

Commenting on the PATHWAY findings Roger Gale MP, Chairman, said:

"Although the fact that 84% of housing providers do have pet policies sounds impressive, we can see from the research that many are so restrictive as to deter or disappoint pet-owning prospective tenants.

"So many different categories of permission causes confusion and it can be argued that many housing providers still don’t really know how to handle the issue of companion animal ownership. There is a strong case for a standard Pet Policy format for all housing providers to remove the anomalies once and for all".

The PATHWAY survey also revealed that only 10% of UK housing providers have consulted animal welfare and other organisations such as PATHWAY, for informed guidance before determining pet policy.

The report on the PATHWAY housing provider ‘Pet Policy’ survey was produced by Ian Bryant and Dr Anne McBride, both from the University of Southampton. PATHWAY members sponsoring the research are Dogs Trust (formerly the NCDL), Anchor Trust, Blue Cross, Cats Protection, Wood Green Animal Shelters and SCAS.

In light of the recent recommendations from the housing provider survey, Pathway will be working in collaboration with PAC (Pets Advisory Committee) to produce a new resource for housing providers. The new guidelines, which will be available in Spring 2005, will help housing providers adopt more informed and clear pet policies.

* For a copy of the report on the Pathway Housing Provider ‘Pet Policy’ survey, please email pathway@dogstrust.org.uk. or go to www.pathwaypetsandhousing.org.uk