Rise of the cat ladies: Survey says more pets are in rentals

Published: Monday, April 29 2013 3:23 p.m. MDT

More renters have pets than in the last few years, a new survey by Apartments.com says.

Cortney Martin, "cortneymartin82" via flickr

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Pets are lovable, adorable and cost a fortune. In down economies, more people get rid of their pets. But a new survey from Apartments.com finds a huge jump in the number of pets in rental properties: "It is more likely renters could be living next door to a dog lover, a cat lady or a bird boy today compared to recent years. This year, 75 percent of renters surveyed said they are pet owners, compared to 43 percent in 2012. These findings align with the improving U.S. economy; according to an American Veterinary Medical Association survey released last year, the difficult economy played a very strong role in the first decline in pet ownership since 1991."

It jumped from 43 percent to 75 percent in one year.

Perhaps one unidentified woman accounts for that statistical leap (not really). Her apartment has a no-pets policy, which she violated 100 times over. "It took officials from the Ulster County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals several hours Wednesday to remove the approximately 105 adult cats and kittens from the apartment," an AP article says. "Officials say the woman told them she took in strays with the intention of finding them homes."

San Diego, on the other hand, may not be contributing to the rise. KPBS reports the city council is considering a proposal that would make it "unlawful for any person to display, offer for sale, deliver, barter, auction, give away, transfer or sell any live dog, cat or rabbit in any pet shop, retail business or other commercial establishment located in the city of San Diego, unless the dog, cat or rabbit was obtained from a city or county animal shelter or animal control agency, a humane society or a nonprofit rescue organization.''

The rise in the number of pets in rentals notwithstanding, the recovering economy still is hard on pets, according to a Wall Street Journal article: "(Marc) Okon started a privately funded nonprofit called Pet Food Stamps. People who are already on government assistance can apply for free pet food. The group has been swamped with more applications than his staff of a dozen people can readily process. Most applicants send letters detailing how they lost their jobs to outsourcing, their homes to foreclosure or their health to disease or accident."

"Millions of pets are surrendered to shelters each year and euthanized because their owners can't afford to feed them," Okun told the Wall Street Journal.

EMAIL: mdegroote@deseretnews.com

Twitter: @degroote

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