- Associated Press - Monday, September 1, 2014

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Frustrated over trying to find pet-friendly rental homes, a group is working to compile a list of area landlords who allow tenants to bring along their four-legged companions.

Miguella Mark-Carew, a Kanawha-Charleston Humane Association board member, is helping with the effort. She said she was pleasantly surprised to see so many pet-friendly options.

“It is definitely going to be at least 30 to 40 landlords,” she said of the list.

While the list isn’t yet complete, Mark-Carew is asking pet-friendly landlords to let the humane association know about their properties through an online form.

From there, she said the Humane Association will review the list to determine whether it wants to release it to the public.

Shelter workers often hear from people who want to adopt a homeless animal, but can’t because their rental lease agreement bars pets.

Mark-Carew said her interest stems from firsthand experience.

There was no shortage of rental properties when she moved to Charleston from Long Island in September 2012, but she had trouble finding a place where her dogs were welcome.

“It was really hard,” she said. “I was worried I’d have to live in a hotel for some time.”

Eventually, she decided to buy a house, even though she doesn’t plan to stay in the area permanently.

“It was easier and cheaper and less of a hassle than to rent here,” she said.

The experience left her wanting to help others with similar struggles.

“It’s a huge problem,” she said. “It’s touch and go whether you find a good place.”

The issue also affects animal welfare as well, Mark-Carew said, as animals displaced by a lack of pet-friendly housing often end up at the animal shelter, contributing to crowding.

Mark-Carew said she also wants to help landlords change their perspective on housing animals, possibly opening the door to more pet-friendly rentals throughout the region.

Interested landlords can register for the list online through a Google-based form. Mark-Carew can be contacted at kchacommunityevents@gmail.com.

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Information from: Charleston Daily Mail, http://www.charlestondailymail.com

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