Calgary Humane Society offers renters free training program to help stop surrenders

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The Calgary Humane Society is offering a new program it hopes will provide pet owners with more rental options and ultimately curb animal surrenders.

“Pets & Renters” was set up to help pet owners navigate Calgary’s rental crunch, a years-long shortage that has resulted in an increasing number of pets being given up.

“In 2021, we had about 60 animals that were surrendered to the shelter for no pet housing, and in 2022 that increased to about 160,” Bob Siemens told Global News.

Siemens, a senior behaviour outreach trainer & coordinator, said that number has continued to rise substantially in 2023 and this year.

He added there are a large number of rental agencies and landlords across the city that won’t allow pets onto their properties for a variety of reasons. He said he’s hopeful more resources will change some landlords’ minds.

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“A lot of landlords don’t allow pets because maybe they’ve had a history of pets that have caused damage to the home. So if we can get better behaved pets, we should hopefully see more pets in homes,” he pointed out.

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The one-on-one consultation program will focus on things like house training, destructive and aggressive behaviors, and even things like barking. Owners will learn management techniques and tools they will then teach their animals.

Animals that have gone through the program will the get a completion certificate from the humane society that they can present to landlords.

The program already underway is available at no cost to certain renters who qualify.

“The intention behind this program is to help people who are having trouble securing pet friendly housing or at risk of losing housing due to their pets,” Siemens said.

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