Hoping to find homes for homeless people who have pets, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors took the first step Tuesday in drawing up an ordinance that would require all county-funded housing to allow pets.
Supervisors Hilda Solis and Kathryn Barger co-authored the motion, citing estimates that nearly 10 percent of homeless people have pets.
"Studies show that individuals with pets experience fewer symptoms of depression and loneliness. Pets provide emotional stability and protection for those who lack that type of support," Solis said. "For many, a pet may be their only sense of family ... No one should have to sever a bond with a pet in order to find housing."
Many supportive housing developments either prohibit dogs and cats or don't have the infrastructure to care for pets.
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"Devoted pet owners who are willing and able to care for their pet should not be forced to make the impossible decision between giving up their beloved pet or maintaining a place to live," said Susan Riggs, senior director of state legislation for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, West Region.
In Los Angeles County, housing concerns were cited by roughly 24 percent of residents who surrendered dogs and 20 percent of those who surrendered cats between 2016-18, according to Solis. She estimated that 29 percent of those pets were ultimately euthanized.
A draft ordinance is expected back in 90 days.