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      “Pets Negotiable”: How Do the Perspectives of Landlords and Property Managers Compare with Those of Younger Tenants with Dogs?


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          In rental housing policy, pets are rarely considered as valued household members. Instead, landlords and property managers are often permitted to ban pets outright, or to advertise them as merely negotiable in their listings for rental housing. In fact, previous research has shown that moving and renting are key reasons for animal relinquishment. To reduce the number of animals that are given up each year due to housing issues, we surveyed landlords and property managers about their perspectives towards pets. Also, because younger adults are disproportionately tenants and because dogs are often banned from rental housing, we interviewed younger tenants with dogs about their recent experiences in the rental market. Our results confirm that dog owners face difficulties in finding rental housing. To keep their pets, tenants made compromises on where and how they lived, which held consequences for their health and that of their pets. Suggestions for improvement are provided, as are implications for research, policy, and practice.


          Previous research has shown that housing insecurity contributes to animal relinquishment and that tenants with dogs face disadvantages in the rental market. Still, little is known about how dog owners navigate rental markets, nor how landlords and property managers perceive dogs and other pets. This case study reports on in-depth interviews with younger tenants with dogs and on open-ended survey responses from landlords and property managers. In their housing searches, tenants with dogs reported feeling powerless in negotiations and feeling discriminated against. They described settling for substandard properties, often located in less desirable neighborhoods. Also, some said they felt obliged to stay put in these rentals, given how difficult it had been to find a place that would accommodate their dogs. Meanwhile, landlords and property managers indicated that listings advertised as “pet-friendly” tend to receive more applicants than listings in which pets are prohibited. Suggestions for improvement included meeting pets prior to signing the lease; getting everything in writing; steering clear from furnished units; charging utilities to tenants; and speeding up the pet approval process when dealing with condominium boards. These suggestions offer implications for future research, partnerships, and policy options to improve the prospects of pets and their people in rental housing.

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          Most cited references28

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          Pet ownership and human health: a brief review of evidence and issues.

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            Health inequalities and place: a theoretical conception of neighbourhood.

            In the past 10 years, interest in studying the relationship between area of residence and health has grown. During this period empirical relations between place and health have been observed at a variety of spatial scales, from census tracts to administrative units in metropolitan areas to whole regions, and for a variety of health outcomes. Despite the richness of the data, there are relatively few publications offering theoretical explanations for these observations, and a sound conception of place itself is still lacking. Using place as a relational space linked to where people live, work and play, this paper conceptualises the nature of neighbourhoods as they contribute to the local production of health inequalities in everyday life. In reference to Giddens' structuration theory, we propose that neighbourhoods essentially involve the availability of, and access to, health-relevant resources in a geographically defined area. Taking inspiration from the work of Godbout on informal reciprocity, we further propose that such availability and access are regulated according to four different sets of rules: proximity, prices, rights, and informal reciprocity. Our theoretical framework suggests that these rules give rise to five domains, the physical, economic, institutional, local sociability, and community organisation domains which cut across neighbourhood environments through which residents may acquire resources that shape their lifecourse trajectory in health and social functioning.
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              Encouraging Dog Walking for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

              Regular physical activity is associated with numerous health benefits, including the prevention of many chronic diseases and conditions or a reduction in their adverse effects. Intervention studies suggest that promoting dog walking among dog owners who do not routinely walk their dogs may be an effective strategy for increasing and maintaining regular physical activity. Strategies that emphasize the value of dog walking for both dogs and people, promote the context-dependent repetition of dog walking, enhance the social-interaction benefits, encourage family dog walking, and ensure availability of public space for dog walking may encourage increased dog walking. Research also supports organizing buddy systems via "loaner" dogs to facilitate informal walking by dog owners and non-dog owners. Given the number of homes that have dogs, strategies that promote dog walking could be effective at increasing physical activity levels among a significant proportion of the population. Maximizing the potential for dog walking to positively influence the health of individual people (and dogs) will only occur through implementing programs with broad population-level reach. Policies that facilitate dog walking at the community and population levels, such as "dogs allowed" places, off-leash zones, and dog-friendly built environments and parks, may contribute to greater physical activity through dog walking.

                Author and article information

                Animals (Basel)
                Animals (Basel)
                Animals : an Open Access Journal from MDPI
                27 February 2018
                March 2018
                : 8
                : 3
                : 32
                [1 ]Department of Community Health Sciences, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, 3rd Floor, TRW Building, 3280 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary, AB T2N 4Z6, Canada; katrina.milaney@ 123456ucalgary.ca (K.J.M.); cadams@ 123456ucalgary.ca (C.L.A.); mrock@ 123456ucalgary.ca (M.J.R.)
                [2 ]O’Brien Institute for Public Health, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, 3rd Floor, TRW Building, 3280 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary, AB T2N 4Z6, Canada
                [3 ]Department of Veterinary Clinical & Diagnostic Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Calgary, 3rd Floor, TRW Building, 3280 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary, AB T2N 4Z6, Canada
                [4 ]Department of Ecosystem & Public Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Calgary, 3rd Floor, TRW Building, 3280 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary, AB T2N 4Z6, Canada
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: grahamtm@ 123456ucalgary.ca
                Author information
                © 2018 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

                : 05 January 2018
                : 24 February 2018

                pets,dogs,rental housing,tenants,younger adults,moving,animal relinquishment,animal welfare


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