Noorat resident Kate Dunn couldn’t imagine her kids growing up without pets, but it’s something that has set her young family back.
Mrs Dunn and her partner Nathan take pride in being responsible dog and cat owners, however, the couple have been knocked back on rental applications many times for having pets.
When she heard the state government wants to change rental laws to make it far easier for renters to keep pets, her first thought was “it’s about time”.
She has a son, Mitchell, aged three, who takes responsibility for feeding the family’s labrador, Duchess. Mrs Dunn is pregnant with her second child.
“It’s quite important for children to have a pet,” she said. “It teaches them responsibility.
“I take great pride and think of the house we’re allowed to live in – I treat it as if it’s my own.”
Mrs Dunn said there was something special about having cats and a dog in the family.
“Cats are very comforting and they are very relaxing,” she said. “If you’ve had a hard day, you’ve always got that love to come home to.”
The couple, who recently moved to Noorat from Colac, have trained their cats not to scratch and their dog not to dig up backyards.
When they apply for rental properties, they sign a letter witnessed by a police officer stating they will pay for any damage caused by pets that may exceed the bond.
“We can nearly guarantee that it wouldn’t happen anyway,” Mrs Dunn said.
Mrs Dunn is employed at both a bakery and a pub in Terang and Mr Dunn works for a lawn-mowing business, however, they are not able to buy their own home.
“Rent is so expensive that we don’t really have any money left over to save for a house,” she said.
“Who knows, one day this house could go up for sale, and it means we would have to find another place.
“We don’t want to have to go through the heartache of finding Duchess or the cats a new home just because someone may have had a bad experience of someone else’s irresponsibility.”