'It rips your heart out': Rental crisis strikes pets

Caught up in crisis: Janine Pace of Peekaboo Rescue with five-month-old Deja who was surrendered with her sister because of the rental crisis. Photo: Supplied.

Caught up in crisis: Janine Pace of Peekaboo Rescue with five-month-old Deja who was surrendered with her sister because of the rental crisis. Photo: Supplied.

"It rips your heart out," Janine Pace of Peekaboo Rescue says, describing how difficult it is to see owners forced to give up their dogs.

The local animal rescue service has been "inundated" with dogs needing to be re-homed after WA's rental moratorium ended on March 28.

According to Ms Pace the figures have gone up by about 60 per cent on normal numbers.

"We usually get one a week, but it's five to seven a week now; apart from yesterday which was five in one day," Ms Pace said.

"One of the guys who came in yesterday was in floods of tears. He really didn't want to give up his dog, but he had no choice."

This situation is another facet of the rental crisis affecting the Mandurah community, with many people struggling to find a place to live.

For the first time in 12 months landlords are able to increase their rental prices due to the end of the moratorium and high demand for properties.

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The strong competition means they can pick and choose from multiple applicants and those with pets are finding it harder to be approved.

In desperation some are forced to surrender their much-loved pets. Others have found themselves homeless and need to have their dogs fostered while they find a permanent address.

"Landlords need to realise there are some amazing families out there whose dogs don't ruin their houses or yards. They're asking them to give up their four-legged children. Would they make someone give up a their two-legged children?," Ms Pace asked.

Peekaboo has joined forces with K9 Rescue to tackle the overwhelming problem.

K9's new president, Jake King said the cooperation between the two groups was something that should have been in place years ago.

"K9 has a complete new management and committee in place," Mr King explained.

"During the transition period Janine from Peekaboo contacted PVRC to offer her service and advice to us while we were going through this tough time.

"I was extremely thankful for her generosity...the relationship has grown from there and we are both dedicated to the cause and hopefully can only keep growing our relationship for the betterment of dog rescue in WA."

Normally K9 Rescue would see two or three surrenders a week, but this has recently become two or three a day.

The group are currently running at full capacity as they only have one kennel block which holds 15 dogs, so they are forced to send dogs to other groups such as Peekaboo and the Animal Protection Society.

"The situation is a tough one for all involved," Mr King said.

"I feel extremely for the people who can no longer provide the care needed for these beautiful dogs. I see the pain it causes when a family is forced to surrender a dog they love.

"I hope there can be some kind of solution to this. Until then we will keep doing whatever we can to help."

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According to both groups there is plenty people can do to help; firstly to make sure their animals are de-sexed.

"They can visit our web page and donate, share or like us on Facebook and Instagram which creates more awareness," Mr King said.

"But what we really want is for people to be able to provide a loving safe home for all the dogs in any rescue.

"Unfortunately what every rescue needs are funds for the on-going care of these beautiful animals and also so we can raise awareness and education on responsible dog ownership."

According to Ms Pace the cost of rehoming a dog is quite high, with every dog having to be vet-checked, worm and flea treated, attend training, have their microchip details changed and receive vaccinations and de-sexing if required.

Other costs include providing the adoptive parents with beds, toys, food bowls and all other necessities for their new family member. Food is also provided for those who foster dogs.

"I didn't realise until I started talking about it, just how big the picture is," Ms Pace said.

"So many people are working together to try and solve this - rescues, vets, foster carers, rangers, councils, volunteers, but it's quite overwhelming. Our hearts are so sore after a 14 to 16-hour day of rescuing dogs, but we do what we've gotta do."

If you can help with adoption, fostering or a donation go to peekaboorescue.com.au or k9.asn.au.