Want to Reduce Pet Surrenders? Protect Affordable Housing

Angela Kaufman
5 min readJun 21, 2021

Scrolling through Facebook this morning, I saw a meme posted in a local pet advocacy group:

“Behind every pet surrendered to a shelter is a human to blame. Be a responsible pet owner.”

This hit close to home, as just the night before, I sent a message to a friend. A message I never thought in a million years I would have to send.

I asked her if she knew of anyone trustworthy who could temporarily foster two of the guinea pigs living with me in the event that our new landlord evicts us before we can secure stable housing. With tears in my eyes, I emphasized that this would only be something I would do if every other option was exhausted.

It’s been six months since we got the certified letter stating the current owner of our mobile home park- the man who told us he planned to keep the place a long time and “retire here,” the man who knew we intended to rescue dogs once we moved in, had been given an offer and was selling the park. We had only moved here a few months before when the letter arrived.

Since then, my community organized a Homeowner’s Association in an attempt to use state grant money to exercise our right of first refusal and buy the park to maintain on our own. Catching wind of this, Mike Giovanone, owner of Boat N RV Storage and interested buyer, worked with then park owner Brett VanZandt- the man who assured us he planned to keep the park a long time- to renegotiate the sales contract.

Under the new contract, Giovanone agrees to not change the use of the park right away, effectively eliminating our right of first refusal when he decides to close it. Put another way, under NYS law, when a park owner intends to sell a mobile home park to someone who plans to discontinue operating the park within a set period of time from purchase, the residents have an option to collectively or individually match the offer within 140 days of notification.

But by buying it and planning to close it after a period of time longer than six months, Giovanone has circumvented this law.

When my partner and I moved here last summer, we rescued two dogs- 10 year old chihuahua-poodle brothers. We did not expect to be facing eviction. But because of the loophole found…

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Angela Kaufman

Angela Kaufman is the author of Queen Up! Reclaim Your Crown When Life Knocks You Down. Her new novel Quiet Man, is available now through Trash Panda Press.