Housing Evictions Are Animal Cruelty: VFAR Supports Good Cause Legislation


MEMO IN SUPPORT OF A4454/S305 (Hunter/Salazar)
Prohibits Eviction Without Good Cause

Voters For Animal Rights (VFAR) represents more than 95,000 humane voters throughout New York State. We help elect candidates who support animal rights, lobby to pass laws to stop animal cruelty, and hold elected officials accountable to humane voters of New York State.

VFAR strongly supports and encourages the New York State Legislature and Governor Hochul to urgently pass and enact legislation to prohibit eviction without “Good Cause.” The suffering of animals brought on by unfair evictions of tenants in New York is direct and severe, adding to the heavy impact on people and organizations who care for animals, and significant costs to the public at large. Good Cause legislation would provide important and reasonable protections to New York’s tenants by preventing landlord harassment and drastic rent increases, thereby allowing people and animals to stay together in their homes.

We are experiencing an unprecedented housing and homelessness crisis. According to the New York Times, nearly 40 million Americans are facing eviction, and with them, millions of animal companions. The number of animals affected by housing insecurity is staggering. When people with companion animals lose their housing, animals suffer, too.

Eviction is animal cruelty. Roughly 72% of renters have companion animals. A study released by the ASPCA in 2015 showed that the lack of animal-friendly housing options was a top reason New York City residents relinquished their companion animals to animal shelters. The New York City Mayor’s Office of Animal Welfare has acknowledged that “pet owners at risk of eviction face numerous challenges to secure the welfare, security, and safety for their pets because there are few resources and services available that effectively integrate human and animal needs.” Some families, faced with the impossible choice of their home or their companion animals, become homeless or choose to live in their cars rather than give up the animals they love. Heartbreakingly, when people are left without options, many surrender or abandon their animals.

The costs and burdens of eviction, displacement, and homelessness on New York’s animal shelters are immense. Currently, when a lease expires for most apartments or homes in New York State, a landlord can choose not to renew it for any (non-discriminatory) reason. If they do offer a renewal, landlords can, and often do, raise the rent to such an extent that it effectively becomes an eviction because the tenant cannot afford to stay. The inevitable and predictable result of preventable evictions and ensuing displacement is that many animals are relinquished to our already overburdened and underfunded animal shelters.

Ending animal homelessness in New York can only be achieved insofar as New Yorkers have stable, affordable, and livable housing. New York must act to protect our neighbors who are at risk of homelessness or displacement from being forced to choose between having a home or keeping their beloved companion animal.

Contact: Allie Taylor, President, (908) 370-2689, allie@vfar.org

Drafted by: David Karopkin, Advisor, david@vfar.org