Support the Pets Belong with Families Act to Keep Pets and People Together

November 8, 2021

brindled dog resting on a couch

The bond between people and pets is undeniable. Pets are our loving companions who, according to the Centers for Disease Control, also provide health benefits to people, including decreased blood pressure, decreased cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and alleviation of loneliness and depression. 

Sadly, the lack of pet-friendly rental housing continues to be a problem for pet owners throughout the United States. A housing survey conducted in 2021 showed that more than 70% of residents in rental housing said pet-friendly rentals are difficult to find, and 59% reported that those rentals that do allow pets are too expensive

Everyone deserves to have access to the benefits of pet ownership. The ASPCA has continued to work to advance policy solutions that would increase pet-friendly housing and help keep pets and people together. At the federal level, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) already manages pet-friendly housing within its portfolio of programs, including its public housing program. While regulations require public housing authorities to allow pets, public housing authorities can impose restrictions based on a dog’s breed and size and charge residents more money if they have a pet.

To ensure that residents of public housing can have pets, and not risk having to part with them due to breed, size or pet fees, U.S. Representatives Adam Schiff (D-CA), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Lauren Underwood (D-IL) and Cori Bush (D-MO) introduced the Pets Belong with Families Act last week. This new bill would remove broad and unfounded restrictions on pets in public housing to help ensure that housing is available to eligible families, regardless of their pet’s breed or size. 

Studies shows that breed-based bans do not effectively protect public safety–in reality, breed-specific laws can compromise safety by shifting the focus away from the enforcement of laws meant to keep communities safe. Restrictions on dangerous dogs should be based on individual animal behavior, not on breed or size.

The ASPCA is grateful to this group of legislators for their leadership to expand pet-friendly housing and  recognizing that renters should be able to reap the benefits of pet ownership. This important bill recognizes that securing housing for everyone means removing as many barriers as possible–including restrictions on dogs of a certain size or breed or charging public housing residents a fee to own a pet.

We need your help to expand pet-friendly housing for all and remove unfair pet restrictions. Please visit our action alert today to urge your members of Congress to cosponsor and support the Pets Belong with Families Act, H.R. 5828.