No-pet clause on moving day brings chaos to the SPCA

Photo: SPCA

July 1st is focused on Canada Day, but for Montrealers, it's moving day.

Every year during the moving period, the Montreal SPCA sees a large increase in the number of animals coming in.

Anita Kapuscinska of the SPCA told CJAD News they see an increase from 600 to 1 600 animals per month.

"So this number triples," said Kapuscinska. "We're not just talking about July 1st, we're talking the months of June, July, and August."

The reason for the sudden increase is because many people end up moving to a new home that does not allow pets.

The Régie du logement estimates that 3% of landlords accept animals.

"Landlords can put a no pet clause on their apartments, which most of them do." said Kapuscinska. "So it's very difficult for people to find apartments that allow animals. So when July 1st comes and people have already signed their leases, a lot of people, specifically people with lower incomes are faced with the gut wrenching decision where they have to part with their animal."

While the SPCA is taking in the extra animals, they want to remind pet owners not to leave your animal behind.

"We also receive unfortunately some people who end up abandoning their animals in empty apartments," Kapuscinska said. "And we'd just like to remind everyone that it's actually a criminal act to abandon an animal in distress."

Part of the problem is how animals are treated in the province.

"We definately have a lot of progress to be made when it comes to the protection of animals. The laws are not strong enough." Kapuscinska said. "Not all species are protected in the same way, and we'd like to see all animals treated equally."

The Quebec government recently set up a new hotline for tips about animals abuse. According to Kapuscinska, it's a great step but more needs to be done.

The SPCA calls Quebec the worst province in Canada when it comes to animal protection.

Kapuscinka said the SPCA is trying to get the pet ban removed from the civil code. They would like to see Quebec join Ontario, Belgium and France, which passed legislation invalidating any and all clauses that prohibit having pets in rental housing, while still ensuring that landlords have recourses to address problematic or irresponsible tenants, regardless of whether or not they have animals.

The SPCA is trying to educate people on what is needed to care for animals.

Earlier this year the SPCA tried a new initiative that was aimed at curbing the number of rabbits that get abandoned after the Easter period.

People were given the opportunity to foster a rabbit for three months, and would receive an information session with an adoption counsellor where they would learn about what it entails to care for a rabbit. Kapuscinka said it was a huge success and the SPCA has plans for more.

A new cat and dog adoption event will be announced soon. The event will primarily focus on cats because they receive three times as many. Anyone who goes to the event will be paired with an adoption counsellor where once again those looking to adopt will be given all the information needed to care for a new animal. Kapuscinka adds the city of Montreal will be absorbing part of the adoption fee for cats.

The SPCA is asking the public to join the campaign against no-pet clauses in residential leases by visiting their microsite:

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  1. Paul posted on 07/02/2014 06:35 AM
    No pets without a substantial security deposit. Pets cause damage.
    1. Grace posted on 07/02/2014 09:34 AM
      @Paul Not all pets cause damage; I have two cats and they have never damaged a rental property, whereas my neighbours downstairs have a young rottweiler that has caused extensive damage. It should be on a case by case basis. If your pet causes damage or is way too noisy, then your landlord can talk to you about it. You pay all the damages and get three strikes to keep the animal quiet before you may be asked to rehouse them.
    2. Drew posted on 07/09/2014 12:40 AM
      @Paul I own an apartment building and if pets paid the rent I would throw out there owners they do more damage then the pets
  2. joeN posted on 07/02/2014 12:57 PM
    If you want the removal of the "no pet clause", suggest you buy your own house. When you sign the lease well before you move, you can make all the necessary arrangement to properly seek adoptive pet owners. Why should it be the new landlord who has to accommodate you the irresponsible tenant?
    1. Marge posted on 07/02/2014 06:20 PM
      @joeN Because not everyone is a irresponsible pet owner!
  3. C-Girl posted on 07/02/2014 05:54 PM
    Some people can't have children so their pets are their children. Also some people have service dogs and older people need pets for companionship. Some low income places are located in not so safe areas so having a dog certainly helps as a means of property protection. I live right downtown in my city and I have a dog. I'm also located close to a Methadone clinic. Do you realize how many undesirable people my dog has kept out of the backyard and away from our cars ? The kids that visit can park their bikes safely on the other side of where my dogs goes out without having to worry about their bikes being stolen. Bikes being stolen and cars being broke into is a huge problem here. So yeah.....she has been great for the landlord and his property. What's the big deal. It's not very often a landlord doesn't go in and renovate after a tenant moves out and raises the rent anyways. It also isn't fair to the people who need their pets to survive. There should be acceptances to the rules. Discrimination shouldn't be allowed when it comes to any living being.
  4. S posted on 07/02/2014 06:49 PM
    All my rentals allow pets, no additional damage deposit, no additional rent. Judge the pet owner on their merit not just blanket no. Renters deserve pets too. As a landlord just use good judgement on the quality of pet ownership. Been doing it successfully for years. My secret usually big dogs, rotti's, a great dane, german shepard. More trouble with the people than the dogs ever caused.
  5. Ezra posted on 07/03/2014 01:24 PM
    Who is the minister - and critics from the other parties- in charge of animal welfare?
  6. Michelle posted on 07/08/2014 09:59 PM
    There are a few changes that need to be made for rentals. Landlords should be able to get first month and last months rent upfront, this would prevent tenants from not paying their last months rent and leaving in the middle of the night, The landlord should also have to give the tenant any interest accrued on the last months rent yearly until they leave. I agree on banning the no pet law in rentals, its discrimination and for those saying buy your own house.....well most people in Montreal cant afford to, hence the reason why they rent. I do agree with a security deposit being handed over not just if they have pets, but because allot of people here are just pigs and cause damage whether they have pets or not. However, before a tenant moves in, they need to take pictures of the apartment, as does the landlord of everything. If the landlord does not give back the deposit when no damage has been done by the tenant ( as is the case quite often), then the tenant should be able to take the landlord to the Regis and not only receive his/her deposit back, but also receive 10 times the amount of the deposit as compensation for with holding it. The landlord should also have to give the tenant the yearly interest on the security deposit until its given back, or in the case of damage by the tenant, kept by the landlord to pay for the repairs. Normal wear and tear or upgrades done due to the apartment being in shabby shape should not be a reason for the landlord to keep the security deposit. Normal ware and tear should be included in the rent
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