Owning a dog can have a positive impact on mental and physical wellbeing. Dogs provide companionship, friendship and exercise for many people living alone or those who are elderly. Dogs Trust, along with the Cats Protection is supporting the campaign to increase the options for elderly people wishing to maintain contact with their pets after they move into specialised accommodation, including sheltered housing and care homes.
The principle is widely accepted as desirable, but the practice varies greatly across the UK. Significant improvements for elderly people and their animals can be achieved by persuading most Local Authorities and care homes to aspire to current best practice and to consider the positive impact of pet ownership on all residents.
Our objective is not to simply have every animal accepted into every environment, but to establish clear and consistent criteria for where it is practical and appropriate and what needs to be considered in each case.
We also want to ensure that people are given plenty of information about alternatives, should a particular establishment is unable to accommodate a pet.
Over the next 12 months we will be working with Local Authorities, MPs and the main care home chains, to push for change.
In the last Parliamentary session Labour MP, Nick Palmer introduced a Private Members Bill calling on the Government to ensure that where possible people entering residential care, should be allowed to keep their pets with them. This policy has support from a good cross section of MPs. Another Bill has been introduced by Conservative MP Nigel Waterson. To view additional information on the Bill please follow the link below.
We want all the political parties to make a commitment in their manifestos to the principle of allowing pets in residential homes, sheltered accommodation and private rented accommodation.