Bill tabled to remove restrictions on dog breeds in social housing

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RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Animal rights groups are pushing legislation on the table in Congress that would ban the exclusion of animals because of their breed in public housing.

The Family-Owned Pets Act was introduced in the House of Representatives in November 2021 and is now receiving support from the Best Friends Animal Society (BFAS).

This bill would amend the US Housing Act of 1937 by preventing public housing authorities from prohibiting dogs because of their breed from residing in public housing.

“It may seem odd to happen, but there’s plenty of government housing out there,” said Laura Donahue, director of legislation and advocacy at the Best Friends Animal Society.

Donahue notes that people living in public housing have limited options when it comes to choosing places to live and if a government-subsidized space prohibits certain dogs, it could prove detrimental to the family.

“The private housing market has choices. You can choose which apartment complex to live in because it has certain pet-friendly amenities,” Donahue said. “But if you have no way to provide shelter for your family and you live in social housing, you have no choice.”

There are many dog ​​breeds that are generally banned by social housing authorities solely because of their appearance. Donahue says almost all large dog breeds will eventually be banned from living anywhere.

This situation creates a problem for many people living in public housing who will let their animals roam or take them to shelters. Many housed animals end up being euthanized.

“There are a lot of animals dying in the RGV and it’s not because people don’t love or care about their pets,” Donahue said. “People need options and resources to keep their pets.”

This bill would not prevent public housing facilities from implementing no-pet policies, but rather would prevent animals from being banned based on their breed.

Animals deemed dangerous because of their behavior may be prohibited.

The Pets Belong with Families Act is sponsored by Adam Schiff (CA-28) and is co-sponsored by 43 bipartisan legislatures. However, only one of those congressmen is from Texas, Collin Allred (TX-32).

Donahue and Best Friends Animal Society urge the public to call their local representatives and tell them to support this bill.

This is the main piece of legislation that BFAS is advocating for now, but they plan to support various moves once the Texas Legislature reconvenes in January 2023.

One of the main goals of BFAS is to have the entire nation reach “no-kill” status by 2025. They are working towards this goal by implementing community programs for cats, such as those seen in the county towns of Harlingen and Hidalgo, and limiting admission to shelters.

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