Keeping the Family Together

August 16, 2012  

Inconsistent pet restrictions in military housing force some families to choose which pets to keep

We have a dilemma with base housing pet policies. My husband is active duty Air Force. Our last base was Scott Air Force Base in Illinois. Their pet policy when we left was three pets. We moved to Florida for a year and are now being stationed at McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey. Their new pet policy is two pets per household. I’m not sure when it went into effect, but I do know people living on that base now who have three pets fall under a “grandfather policy.”

We have one chocolate Labrador who will be 8 this September and has been a part of our family for over six years. Then we have two kitties: Phineas, who has been with us for over two years, is a Cornish Rex, and Gibby, who is a Siamese mix, has been with us for a year in August. Our animals are part of our family, and my husband along with our two children would be devastated to not have them all with us.

Our extended families have allergies or pets of their own and cannot keep any of them for that long, nor would we want them to because we would miss them too much. We haven’t asked McGuire about a waiver yet because we’re worried they’ll decline and we’d have to part with one of our beloved furry friends. We’ve looked at homes off base and what we’ve learned very quickly is that we’d either live in a bad area in an older home that will allow our pets or pay very high pet deposits to live in a nicer area. Most places I’ve called won’t allow pets at all and most that do only allow cats.

My husband is an E-5, meaning he is on sergeant salary, and we own a home in Florida now, so there’s no way we could afford anything above our basic allowance for housing.

This is the first problem we’ve encountered with base housing pet policies. We adopted Gibby because I knew what the policy had been at Scott Air Force Base and assumed it would be the same at any future base. Unfortunately, I was wrong. I don’t think it’s fair for military families to have to choose between their pets who are members of their family because each base has a different policy. I had no idea it was different base to base, or I wouldn’t have considered adopting a third pet.

Our family is very tender-hearted when it comes to animals, and we’ve adopted or rescued each one and taken excellent care of them. They’re up to date on all vaccinations and flea and tick treated and have heartworm medication. I’m not sure what we’ll do if we can’t keep them all. It would be like choosing which child to keep and which to give up. How on earth do you make a decision like that?

Sign the petition to standardize military pet policies. Visit Dogs on Deployment for more info.

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2 Responses to “Keeping the Family Together”
  1. DianaJones says:

    Animals provide comfort; be it emotional, psychological or physical. It makes no sense to play with the well being of military personnel or their families because soon this will limit those who will chose to stay or even join.  The powers that be should be bending over backwards to make this bearable for those who serve and their families. I understand the limit, but it has to be consistent across the board and grandfathering has to be easy until everyone has a chance to come down to it naturally. The discrimination has to go. These people who live in their cobwebby ivory towers who make up these ridiculous rules on some ill conceived whim ought to be brought up on charges of some kind for the pain and suffering they inflict. It makes no sense to anyone who has a shred of empathy how devastating a decision like that is to a soul. I cannot imagine having to make a decision like that, it would kill me. I would, like these people, move heaven and earth to keep my whole family together, but you should not have to. What next?? You can only bring one child onto base, the others have to be farmed out?? Is the military that out of step with reality? Apparently so.

  2. DeeTimmyfan says:

    DianaJones It’s not just the military. As someone who would rather rent than own a home, I encounter this at every turn. My sis cannot even live with me anymore because the limit in most rental homes and apartments is 2 pets, and between us we have 3 tiny dogs. Some places will excuse if you have small dogs, but not every place will make the exception. But you just mention you have 3 dogs, and people automatically assume they’re big dogs and say no. This whole problem is to be put on the shoulders of irresponsible people. Those of us who actually care for our pets get blamed because irresponsible pet owners did not live up to their obligations with pets. I don’t even like kids! I don’t want kids. My dogs are my children, and I am happy that way. I’ve seen much more damage done by kids than what my dogs will ever accomplish.