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Renters and Their Pets

March 16, 1986

Further to Lynn Simross' article ("Two-Legged Cats Lend Helping Paw," Feb. 24) on people trying to find homes for cats and the hearing at City Hall, I am continually astonished that landlords have not troubled to learn the difference between the altered and trained pets of responsible owners and the unfortunate troubled and troublesome semi-owned dogs and cats with irresponsible owners.

Any building owner could, if he really wanted good permanent tenants, protect himself with a damage deposit and a rental agreement. The manager should post a set of regulations covering pets such as noise, clean-up, etc. Violations could then be cause for eviction.

All tenants' pets should be spayed or neutered. This eliminates behavior problems.

One landlord revealed his ignorance by referring to "stray pets" (a total contradiction in terms) and his irresponsibility by his comments on social ills (such as the loneliness of the elderly). Of course, pets should be kept in owners' apartments and no feeding outside permitted, which would encourage strays.

I answer the telephone for an organization providing low-cost spay and neuter referrals but over half my calls are from people trying to find homes for pets the landlord won't let them keep. I can do nothing for them--there are almost no good homes available that aren't immediately filled.

We have kept everything from a Great Dane to 11 cats and the only damage was caused by our kids! Pet owners must, of course, provide scratch post and litter pan for cats, and chew toys, companionship and exercise for dogs--but most responsible tenants already do.

I think there should be a statewide law against unreasonable discrimination against pet owners.

MURIEL GEACH

Long Beach

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