ASPCA Wins Challenge for Pets in D.C. Public Housing

August 10, 2015

ASPCA Wins Challenge for Pets in DC Public Housing

In response to objections raised by the ASPCA and the Washington Humane Society (WHS), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has determined that a Washington, D.C. ban on pets in public housing violates federal law. As a result, the D.C. Housing Authority (DCHA) will have to amend its policy and allow pets in housing for the elderly and disabled.

DCHA currently prohibits all pets in D.C. housing projects with the exception of pets already living in senior buildings before 2005. However, the Housing and Urban-Rural Recovery Act of 1983 mandates that owners and managers of federally assisted rental housing for the elderly and disabled cannot prohibit any tenant from having common household pets.

The ASPCA’s extensive research on pet homelessness has found that lack of affordable, pet-friendly housing is consistently a driver for relinquishment.

“Pets provide a source of constant, uncomplicated comfort and have been shown to enhance health and wellbeing, particularly for the elderly and people with disabilities,” says Nancy Perry, Senior Vice President of ASPCA Government Relations. “We look forward to working with DCHA to craft a model pet policy that benefits pets and people.”

Other groups who support the proposed changes to DCHA’s pet policy include the AARP Legal Counsel for the Elderly, Bread for the City, Legal Aid of the District of Columbia, and the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless