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How Pets Are A Barrier To Social Services

How Pets Are A Barrier To Social Services

How Pets Are A Barrier To Social Services

Is it possible that pets constitute a barrier to social services? Well, they should not. But yes, they are. 

On the one hand, pets offer unconditional love and companionship to their owners. On the other hand, pets are also barriers to social services for people with special living conditions. 

There’s no question: Bond between pets and their owners go beyond circumstances. However, owning a pet under special life circumstances isn’t particularly easy. In short, pets usually represent a barrier to social services for endangered people. 

But what are those special life conditions that prevent social services of encouraging the bond between pet and owner, and why?

Let’s dive into them to figure out what to do to make the best of the situation, and give a good answer. 

Pets and homeless people

Everybody has witnessed this intense image of an indigent merged with his or her pet in the most tender hug. Even in winter, when weather conditions worsen, homeless people might choose to sleep outside because local shelters do not allow their pets to come in with them. 

Fellows who aren’t homeless but report low-income and deprived life conditions experience pretty much the same luck. Nobody should have to choose between sleeping safely and abandoning their pet, and this one of the causes we are advocating now. 

Pet Ownership and Proper Housing

Also, pet ownership supposes a  barrier to social services when finding affordable housing options for those seeking assistance through supportive housing. 

As many landlords do not accept pets within their properties, much people with thin budgets experience the same situation of choosing between their convenience and leaving aside their pets. 

No pet policies are the leading cause for the surrender of animals according to the BC SPCA. On a good note, tenants with pets are more likely to stay in their pet-friendly housing option for longer when their pets are allowed. 

In the same order of ideas, renters with pets are also more likely to pay more for their housing option. This is a remarkable fact to consider even when low- or no-income pet owners do not fill such condition. 

Domestic Violence, Substance Abuse and Pets


Whether because they suffer physical abuse or because they are separated from their owners, pets are also direct victims of domestic violence. 

It isn’t easy for their owners, either: Additionally of coping with domestic violence, they also have to find a shelter for themselves, their children and pets. 

The same situation repeats in the case of people who need treatment to leave addictions. In such situations, pets represent a sad barrier to social services. 

Pets and Senior Owners

Like many shelters for homeless people and domestic violence victims, most of the retirement homes for senior citizens have a no pets policy. Also, death is a reality that eventually arrives. 

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senior dog

Pets offer emotional support to this groupage. As a result, they represent a barrier to social services. Many senior owners may choose to stay at home, away from social services to keep their beloved pets with them. 

Advocating for a Change


When looking after someone’s pet, social services and societies, in general, need to expand their perception regarding pet ownership. More than just companion animals, pets are rather family members. And in many cases, pets are the only family member a person has. 

Same, in most cases, pet owners are a life-improving experience. It shouldn’t be perceived as a barrier to social services, but an element to capitalize on improving special living conditions.  

Again, nobody should have to choose between his or her beloved pet and escaping violence, opting for an overnight shelter, or giving joy to a long and lonely life. 

Organizations devoted to helping people need to change their perception and take into account pets as emotional support systems. 

Wrapping up facts and options, keeping pets with their owners is key to successfully helping them transition to living plenty. Then, instead of perceiving pets as a barrier to social services, we need to give new pet ownership approaches in special living conditions.

Updated: March 20, 2023
Updated: Dec 09, 2022
Originally Published: Nov 15th, 2020

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