Pets Can Make the Move, Too

As the economy continues to rebound, many families negatively affected by the sagging job market are beginning to rebound as well.

In many instances, part of that recovery process involves relocating to a different city with a more thriving job market. For families with pets, this can be a difficult transition. Finding a new home that accepts pets or a home that's equipped to handle a family that includes pets is not necessarily easy. For households facing such a dilemma, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) offers the following tips to ensure the family pet stays a part of the family when it comes time to move.

* Get a reference from your current landlord or veterinarian. For renters about to relocate, a statement from your current landlord testifying to your competence and responsibility as a pet owner could help sway future landlords to give your pet a chance. But landlords are not the only good potential reference. Pet owners who keep the records of their visists to the veterinarian can use those as proof for prospective landlords that they are responsible pet owners, which increases the likelihood that they will keep a clean living environment for their pets and protect the property as well.

* Be sure it's in writing. A verbal agreement that pets are allowed is not adequate. A written agreement can help protect tenants and even the pets themselves. Without a written agreement allowing the pet on the property, landlords can demand the pet be removed from the property on a whim. That can put pet owners, not to mention pets, in an unenviable position, as tenants with time still left on their lease might be forced to give the pet up for adoption or break their lease and begin looking for a new place. That's not only expensive, but it can make it harder for renters to find another apartment and keep their pet if they're leaving their current residence for a pet-related issue. If you can't get it in writing, look for another place to live.

* Shop around. While it can be hard to make your search too extensive if you're moving for a job, don't be too quick to make a decision if you're initially discouraged when trying to find a pet-friendly place to live. While many landlords might seem unwilling to allow pets, the economy has also forced many to be more open to negotiation, something that definitely works in the pet owner's favor.

If perusing apartment complexes online and the policy indicates no pets, that doesn't necessarily mean pets can't make the move. If you begin your search far enough in advance, you can give yourself time to negotiate and ensure your pet stays a part of the family.

* Contact your local chapter of the Humane Society. The Humane Society has local chapters or representatives throughout the country. Pet owners who have recently decided to move should consider contacting the chapter associated with the city they're moving to and ask for help finding pet-friendly housing. The chapter might be able to provide information on pet-friendly apartment complexes or recommend independent landlords with a history of welcoming tenants with pets. The earlier you contact a chapter the more likely you are to make a smooth transition to your new residence.

For more information or tips, visit the Humane Society Web site at www.humanesociety.org.

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