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Support to help homeless pet owners stay with their animals

New guidances aims to encourage landlords and authorities to help homeless pet owners.

Support: Wolfe Miller found it hard to find accommodation with Willow.
Support: Wolfe Miller found it hard to find accommodation with Willow. STV

Reporting by Vanessa Kennedy

Pet owners facing homelessness are set to benefit from better support finding a home which allows them to keep their animals.

Currently in Scotland less than 10% of hostels and emergency accommodation for homeless people allow them to stay with their dogs.

New guidance from homeless support service Simon Community and the Dogs Trust recommends that landlords and local authorities introduce a number of measures to tackle this.

Some of the plans include introducing temporary shelters with 'dog friendly' communal rooms as well as improved training for service staff in the importance and benefits of supporting people to remain with their pets and how to work with animals.

'There are so many hostels and places around that will take people but only a finite of those allow animals. Your options are just to rough it out on the streets or stick with where they put you.'
Wolfe Miller

A Homeless Pet Friendly Officer will also help landlords recognise the importance and value of pets to people experiencing homelessness.

Wolfe Miller spent many of his younger years living on the streets. He got his dog Willow 11 years ago but says it's difficult to find accommodation that allows the two of them to stay together.

He said: "She gives me a purpose to get up.

"I don't like risking leaving her outside a shop just long enough to get something to eat, so it's difficult originally not having anywhere we could be.

https://youtu.be/E2ey8SlBMvU | default

"There are so many hostels and places around that will take people but only a finite of those allow animals. Your options are just to rough it out on the streets or stick with where they put you."

CEO of Simon Community Lorraine McGrath said: "No one should ever be placed in a position where they have to choose between a safe place to stay or their pet.

"What makes this choice even harder is the trauma and loss many of the people we support have experienced.

"Being asked to give up the only constant in their lives that gives them company, purpose, security and love simply adds more trauma and loss to an already awful journey.

"The great thing is it doesn't have to be like that, being dog and pet friendly isn't that hard. This document shares the experiences and opportunities to provide that approach."

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