Private landlords asked to give pet owners a chance
THE Pancake Project wants more landlords to consider allowing companion animals in rented properties for therapeutic purposes.
Named after Pancake, project founder Bea Smith’s two-year-old male rabbit, it also promotes adopting rescue animals and raises awareness of support animals.
As a registered emotional support animal, Pancake the rabbit recognises mental health triggers and helps Miss Smith to navigate chronic pain and traumatic episodes. They are inseparable.
They searched for suitable accommodation for years but most properties excluded all pets. It was only recently a landlord finally accepted them.
‘When they did, I said “brilliant – we’ll move in now”. It was so difficult for us to find accepting landlords,’ said Miss Smith, 18.
‘Rather than saying “no pets”, we hope properties will be listed as “pets considered”, and then we can put a Pancake the Bunny approval stamp to say this accommodation is suitable.’
Since starting the project Miss Smith has found many others with similar experiences and wanted to help them.
‘Recently legislation was passed so that landlords cannot say no to children. It is understandable that landlords are scared of damage, but this can quite easily be put into a contract giving the tenant responsibility. Pets aren’t that different from children.’
Properties should already be professionally cleaned before tenants change, which would prevent allergies, and it is possible to baby-proof and clean regularly to prevent damage, mess and smells.
Previously, Miss Smith lived in accommodation where Pancake was not permitted, but dogs were.
‘Dogs are most recognised as service dogs, but are different to registered emotional support animals.
‘Dogs are also seen outside more so are taken more seriously, but small animals have a lot of love to give.’
Over lockdown they were isolated, so she contacted Action for Children, who took her suggestions on board and Pancake was allowed in.
‘We are unbelievably grateful to both our current landlords and Action for Children.’
Certain local estate agencies are on board, as are online followers from all over the world.
. Visit instagram.com/thepancakepr0ject/ or thepancakeproject.info/ for more information.