Landlords: Rethink no-pet policies

By Hayley Devitt

As I go about my lonely existence at this university, it would sure be nice to come home to a friend who is always there, always has time to hang out, always listens and likes to cuddle.

Such a friend can most readily be found in a dog or cat, but a big problem I find with many student housing facilities is pets are not allowed.

I know at the apartment I rent from, I could face a $500 fine for being caught with an animal in my unit. I have a betta fish named Lucy and having her has been great, but I would still like a dog or cat to hold and to pet for therapeutic reasons.

Kevin Bott, property manager at Lincolnshire West Apartments, told me those apartments only allow cats and caged animals.

The reason for prohibiting dogs in the apartments is to keep noise to a minimum, Bott said.

Michelle Davis, Varsity Square Apartments manager, said damage to the property is a concern for keeping dogs. The office requires written pre-approval and a fee to keep only cats.

Allowing cats is certainly better than no pets at all, but some students cannot have feline friends due to allergies.

Furthermore, I think any damages caused by an animal in someone’s home can be fixed or replaced at the tenants’ expense.

I would also add that a barking dog can’t be any more loud and annoying than the parties neighbors throw every weekend. The benefits of keeping a pet far outweigh the challenges.

The Centers for Disease Control’s website has a long list of health benefits associated with having a pet: It decreases blood pressure, cholesterol, triglyceride levels and, an obvious one, feelings of loneliness.

Animals have been known to help greatly with anxiety and depression. In some cases, dogs and cats can help their owners and alert other humans if someone has a seizure or panic attack. They are especially helpful to students trying to relieve some of the stress that comes with schoolwork.

Having a pet to take out on walks and play in the park with will also help you get more active and go out in the fresh air. They can also serve as a conversation starter for potential friends and lovers.

Finally, having a pet is important for students because it teaches responsibility. Of course, I would not want any animals to go to neglectful owners.

In the case of conscientious animal lovers, though, it is good for young people to have something or someone else to care for.

“I don’t see the problem in having pets as long as you take care of them,” said Frederick Ford, freshman physical therapy major. “It’s like a companion. They keep you company.”

It really is a shame when students have to give up a pet they love because it isn’t allowed in their home.

I sincerely hope more of the leasing companies in DeKalb will revise their policies for animal ownership.