Laura Boisvert has had her four-year-old Samoyed, called Mama Bear, since it was a puppy.
She rents her apartment and, according to her, before the dog was allowed she had to promise her landlord that she’d bring Mama Bear and her other dog to work with her.
“For him to know that they weren’t going to bark during the day or that they weren’t going to do damage to the apartment,” she explained.
She’s lucky, but pet advocates say too many Quebec tenants aren’t.
That’s why, as moving season approaches, the Montreal SPCA and Québec solidaire are urging the provincial government to ban no-pet clauses in residential lease agreements.
The Quebec opposition party plans to table a motion at the Quebec National Assembly.
Party co-spokesperson Manon Massé argues that it’s too difficult for renters to find a pet-friendly apartment and that the situation has gotten worse because there’s a housing crisis.
During a press conference Thursday to announce their plan, she said it’s also a question of equity.
“The people who are able to buy a house, they are able to have a pet,” she observed. “So why not tenants?”
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SPCA acting executive director Sophie Gaillard agrees.
“About 25 per cent of landlords allow cats, but only 4 per cent allow dogs without any conditions,” she told Global News.
Gaillard added that the no-pet clause creates a huge problem every year around moving season, which starts now.
“Every year for the Montreal SPCA, as well as shelters all across the province, we face high levels of animal abandonment in shelters due to the difficulty of finding animal-friendly housing,” she noted.
The Association of Quebec Landlords disagrees with some of the arguments and plans to oppose the bill, accusing Québec solidaire of taking away rights for landlords.
In a statement they wrote, “several animals are left alone in the accommodation, and thus howl without their owner taking the necessary care to avoid this situation.”
They also ask, “should we silence people who fear living in a building with animals? Or even people with animal allergies?”
Boisvert admitted that pet owners do have a responsibility to ensure their pets behave, but stressed that they aren’t just animals, but members of the family.