It’s a dog’s life for pets dumped by renters

Black Wi­dow’s last-ditch at­tempt to over­throw mur­der con­vic­tion

Sunday News - - NEWS - EL­TON RIKIHANA SMALL­MAN and JO LINES-MACKEN­ZIE MARTIN VAN BEYNEN

THE hous­ing crisis has a new vic­tim – the fam­ily pet.

Ten­ants be­ing forced on to the rental mar­ket have dis­cov­ered just how hard it is to find a home for their fur ba­bies.

Trade Me has 9099 rental prop­er­ties avail­able, but only 1367 al­low pets – a mere 15 per cent – and that means more of­ten than not pets are wind­ing up with the SPCA.

‘‘One in five home calls we get are from peo­ple who are hav­ing to re­home their an­i­mals be­cause they can’t find a pet­friendly place,’’ said SPCA chief ex­ec­u­tive An­drea Mid­gen.

‘‘In Auck­land, we’d prob­a­bly get at least 15 to 20 calls per week.

While pet-friendly rentals have been a na­tional is­sue for some years, the prop­erty crunch has ex­ac­er­bated the prob­lem, she said.

‘‘It’s a grow­ing is­sue be­cause hous­ing has be­come a lot more un­af­ford­able and more peo­ple are forced into the rent­ing op­tion and land­lords are pretty against it.’’

A 2017 Bar­foot and Thomp­son re­port shows 11 per cent of its new Auck­land rentals al­lowed pets and the Waikato SPCA is field­ing two to three phone calls a day about un­wanted cats.

Its shel­ter is be­ing over­run with cats aban­doned by their own­ers, said cen­tre man­ager Laura Van­der Kley.

‘‘We’ve got this real vi­cious cy­cle of peo­ple not tak­ing care of their an­i­mals, the land­lords get­ting dumped with the an­i­mals and then that makes them not want to rent to peo­ple who have pets and then that leaves peo­ple not be­ing able to find places with pets,’’ Van­der Kley said.

In Aus­tralia, the state of Victoria passed leg­is­la­tion to al­low ten­ants to have pets and, in Jan­uary, Hous­ing and Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Phil Twyford an­nounced Hous­ing NZ’s pet pol­icy will be­come more ac­com­mo­dat­ing to al­low ten­ants to own pets for rea­sons be­yond spe­cial needs on a case-by-case ba­sis.

For the pri­vate rental mar­ket, the so­lu­tion is sim­pler, Mid­gen said.

‘‘YLand­lords could give peo­ple op­tions and say you can have an an­i­mal here if it is de­sexed, if it is mi­crochipped and a good so­cialised an­i­mal.

‘‘They could even say that there is a bond against any dam­age done.’’ BLACK Wi­dow Helen Mil­ner has re­quested bod­ily sam­ples from the man she poi­soned with an­tial­lergy drug phen­er­gan in a fi­nal at­tempt to over­turn her mur­der con­vic­tion.

The bid by Mil­ner, who is serv­ing a 17-year jail sen­tence for killing her hus­band Philip Nis­bet, 47, in 2009, is made un­der the Royal pre­rog­a­tive of mercy pro­ce­dure and aimed at se­cur­ing a new trial.

The ap­pli­ca­tion has en­raged Nis­bet’s sis­ter LeeAnne Cartier, who called it a ‘‘witch hunt’’.

‘‘I hate that the New Zealand tax­payer is pay­ing for this bulls...,’’ said Cartier, who led the charge to have her brother’s death rein­ves­ti­gated after po­lice ini­tially de­cided he had com­mit­ted sui­cide. Her de­tec­tive work per­suaded the po­lice to re­ex­am­ine the death.

‘‘It’ll be nine years in May since Phil’s death and she is still play­ing games,’’ she said. ‘‘It’s just a wild goose chase and abuse of the process.’’

Cartier said Coroner Susan John­son had asked her to com­ment on the re­lease of sam­ples of Nis­bet’s blood, urine, liver and hair held by the In­sti­tute of En­vi­ron­men­tal Sci­ence and Re­search. Cartier said she would op­pose the re­lease of the sam­ples, but it was a dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion.

Crown Law has op­posed the ap­pli­ca­tion say­ing Mil­ner can’t be al­lowed to ‘‘shop around’’ for a new de­fence.

Mil­ner was convicted of mur­der and at­tempted mur­der after a jury trial in 2014. The Crown said she prob­a­bly mixed phen­er­gan into her hus­band’s din­ner and then may have suf­fo­cated him once he was se­dated. She then fab­ri­cated sui­cide notes to throw in­ves­ti­ga­tors off the track.

Her ap­peal to the Court of Ap­peal was re­jected and the Supreme Court re­fused her leave to ap­peal.

Kit­tens run the risk of miss­ing out when own­ers find new digs.

Helen Mil­ner.

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