- Ben Cheever
- Communications Director
SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Carlos Villapudua (D-Stockton) recently introduced legislation, Assembly Bill 258, addressing existing barriers homeless individuals face when seeking a shelter or temporary housing by ensuring that they will not be separated from their pet during their stay.
“Too many individuals are having to choose between surrendering their pet to access a shelter, or staying with their pet and sleeping on the street,” said Assemblymember Villapudua. “By providing these pet owners with the resources they and their companions need, we can ease their ability to find a roof for the night.”
Five to ten percent of homeless individuals in California own a dog and/or cat. These pets play an important role for the physical and mental wellbeing of their owners and are known to enhance the quality of life for people experiencing trauma or a lack of personal connections. Most homeless shelters do not currently allow pets in their facility, leading many homeless individuals to forego these temporary housing options to stay with their pet. Shelters that are receiving state funds need to be able to provide the ability for these homeless individuals to stay with their pets in order to avoid this difficult ultimatum that keeps too many people sleeping on the streets.
This problem is fixable, and it is necessary to address in order to help Californians access available shelters. Local nonprofit organizations exist to provide pet services – specifically food, vaccinations, and spaying/neutering – and should be seen as a useful tool and partner in order to successfully remove this barrier to access.
Learn more about AB 258 here.