For many people, pets are part of the family and they would no sooner give up their pet than give up their granny.

But, as we report today, more and more Rotorua residents are being forced to choice between keeping their pet or securing a home for their (human) family to live in.

We have been reporting for some time now on the growing pressure on rental stocks in Rotorua, with many homes being snapped up even before they can be advertised.

With the market firmly in their favour, property managers and landlords can afford to demand the perfect tenant. It's all too-easy to reject the idea of pets when one can afford to be picky. (Though in reality many cats and dogs would probably prove far less troublesome than their owners.)

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It's not a problem unique to Rotorua - family members recently had the same issue when trying to find a home to rent in Wellington - despite being in all other respects ideal tenants, their golden retriever continually proved the stumbling block and it was only through a friend of a friend they found a landlord willing to put up with a bit of dog hair on the carpet.

But what may not be so widespread is the abuse Rotorua SPCA staff are having to deal with.

Desperate residents are turning up at the shelter trying to offload perfectly healthy pets then abusing and emotionally blackmailing staff when told there simply isn't the capacity for the animal. That's not on.

It's a tricky situation. If a family already has a pet and has to move, it must be heartbreaking to have to part with them and they probably think they are doing the right thing by taking it to the SPCA rather than dumping it on a roadside.

Where else is there to turn if you can't find another home for it?

Yet homeowners have every right to be picky about who rents their home. While most would accept a cat or a quiet, non-destructive dog if they had to, unfortunately right now in Rotorua they simply don't have to.

The only real solution seems to be to introduce more rental properties into the mix. How we do that, I will leave to smarter minds than mine.