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Dogs deserve a home, not a life in a shelter. Thankfully, the courts have taken a major step in advancing this idea.

Now it’s the legislature’s turn.

At the beginning of the year, The Acorn told you about the California Supreme Court’s opinion finding Los Angeles County Animal Care and Control violated state law when it denied requests from bona-fide aid organizations Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center and San Diego-based Lucky Pup Dog Rescue to provide homes for dogs with behavioral and health problems.

It’s too late for the dogs at the center of these cases—they were put to death. But their experience forms the basis of what should be a better outcome for others.

It’s imperative that bureaucrats follow the law and that their feet are held to the fire so that these so-called troubled dogs no longer have to perish.

Next we turn to San Francisco and a bill that has the potential to help a great many dogs and cats find forever homes instead of staying what seems like forever in cages.

Democrat Assemblymember Matt Haney, chair of the California Legislative Renters Caucus, has proposed legislation to prevent landlords from throwing up blanket prohibitions against pet owners.

If signed into law, Haney’s Assembly Bill 2216 would require landlords to show reasonable reasons for denying leases to pet-owning tenants.

While short on specifics, Haney’s bill could require landlords to say yes to common household pets except when there are health and safety and other concerns. Haney also seeks to prevent an owner or landlord from asking whether a potential renter owns a pet until after the renter’s application is approved.

Data cited by the lawmaker indicates that close to 70% of the state’s 17 million individual and family renters are pet owners. Under current law only 30% of available rentals in any given city are pet friendly. Because of this, more than 800,000 renters statewide reportedly have pets but are afraid to tell their landlord. On top of this, a survey of 240 California shelters revealed that almost 67,900 pets were surrendered by their owners—and the leading cause is a lack of access to pet friendly housing.

“Blanket no-companion pet policies are causing landlords to miss out on good tenants who get rejected without even getting a chance to apply for a place to live,” Haney said. “The current system is bad for everyone.”

We agree, and his bill should be passed.

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