3 year olds Kaos and Leia, who have always been together are now up for adoption at Sunshine Cost Animal Refuge, which is seeing a dramatic increase in pets being surrendered due to the housing rental crisis on the Sunshine Coast. Photo Lachie Millard
3 year olds Kaos and Leia, who have always been together are now up for adoption at Sunshine Cost Animal Refuge, which is seeing a dramatic increase in pets being surrendered due to the housing rental crisis on the Sunshine Coast. Photo Lachie Millard

Our forgotten friends: Pets left behind in rental crisis

Pets are being left behind by desperate owners trying to secure properties as the Coast's rental crisis deepens.

The rental vacancy rates for the Sunshine Coast was recorded at 0.4 per cent for January this year, the lowest the region has been in 16 years.

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Sunshine Coast Animal Refuge centre manager Penny Brischke said there has been a spike in families surrendering their beloved family pets.

"In the last three months of the year, we were in double figures with the amount of animals coming (that had been surrendered)," she said.

"It's only taken us six weeks to get to nearly the same amount of animals in that position."

Ms Brischke said the waiting list is full as well.

"It's hard, we can't judge people," she said.

"Whenever we post about animals being surrendered because people can't find appropriate rental property . you get a real emotional response."

The centre manager said it heartbreaking for all involved.

"Often they're leaving a family that they've been with for a number of years, so the pet doesn't understand and they're extremely sad," Ms Brischke said.

"They're looking for their owners the whole time and a lot of the time they're well behaved pets because they've been in pet friendly rentals.

"It's very sad for the staff and volunteers to see that as well and often the children don't come to say goodbye because it's just too distressing for them."

Ms Brischke said while the Sunshine Coast Animal Refuge works to place all pets in a forever home, it doesn't take away from the impacts it has on both the people and their pets.

"Animals generally are pretty robust, as they get a little older it's harder, cats can be a bit more difficult because they tend to bond themselves with their person," she said.

"The really distressing thing is seeing how timid and confused they are and you can tell that by they behaviour of hiding or tails not wagging.

"Eventually because of the love and attention of the scars volunteers they do come out of their shell."

Kaos and Leia are a bonded pair currently looking for a new home after their owners were forced to surrender them due to the current housing crisis.
Kaos and Leia are a bonded pair currently looking for a new home after their owners were forced to surrender them due to the current housing crisis.

 

Real Estate Institute of Queensland CEO Antonia Mercorella said no-one wants to see a family having to surrender a much-loved pet.

"With many pets considered a valuable part of the family unit for the unconditional companionship they offer, the REIQ encourages renters with pets to consider expanding their rental search beyond their suburbs of choice," she said.

The current market shows there are 280 vacancies available on the Sunshine Coast.

Ms Mercorella is urging those looking for a rental to not only search further afield but work closely with property managers.

"They may know of an appropriate property before it officially hits the rental market," she said.

"Or consider cohabitation, where you may be able to look at rentals at a higher price point and which may offer more outdoor space for your pet to enjoy."



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