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This brief is the first to address the particular challenges faced by pet owners experiencing homelessness, particularly as they relate to treatment by society at large, law enforcement practices, and access to housing and services. Researchers estimate that up to 25 percent of people experiencing homelessness own pets, yet these pet owners face constant attention, harassment, and scrutiny by both passersby and law enforcement officers. The brief observes how laws and policies regulating these behaviors not only stem from bias and discrimination against visible poverty, but also encourage poor policy outcomes and inhumane practices.

Keywords: homeless, pets, poverty, shelter