A Conservative MP is urging his colleagues in government to end “cruel” discrimination against pet owners by much of the private rental sector.
Romford MP Andrew Rosindell has introduced the Dogs and Domestic Animals Accommodation and Protection Bill in the House of Commons, urging a reform of rental laws allowing dogs and other animals to be kept in rented accommodation so long as owners can demonstrate their care for them.
“What makes somewhere a home is something where special moments are created, living with a family, friends or companions” Rosindell told MPs.
“Moving into a new home is a normal part of life, but what if every time you moved, you faced the threat of being separated from someone you loved. Can a house or a flat ever really be a home if you have been forced to abandon a family member just to be able to move in?
“And you will know more than anyone, Mr Speaker (Sir Lindsay Hoyle), as an animal-loving Speaker as you are, that animals are truly members of one’s family. And having owned two Staffordshire Bull terriers myself, Spike and Buster, I also know just how close the bonds can be between a dog and the owner and how devastating it can be when you lose them.”
Rosindell says his Bill – if successful – will be known as Jasmine’s Law, named after a Weimaraner owned by a renting family in Surrey.
“Dogs are more than man’s best friend, they are equal members of the family and, for most people, being separated from your dog is really no different than being separated from your brother or your sister” he says.
“But sadly, every year pet owners who move into rented accommodation are faced with the reality that their family could be torn apart because most landlords in Britain have unnecessary bans or restrictions on pet ownership.
“And for those people who depend on the companionship of their dog and who need that loving friend to be with them, especially those who live alone, such restrictions are nothing less than discrimination, cruel to both the owner and the animal alike.
“So my Bill brings an end to this discrimination, making it a right for someone to own a dog or another domestic animal to live in their rented home provided the owner demonstrates responsibility and care for the animal.”
His Bill now goes for a second reading in the Commons in late January – but this is only likely to happen if it wins government backing.
This post has originally been featured in Letting Agent Today.