Animals & Money: Recession makes more places pet-friendly

The recession and collapse of the housing market may have one bright spot for animal lovers. As the owners of houses and apartments become more motivated to find renters, more are considering allowing pets.

I talked last week with Mike Torchia, president of Healthy Pet Nation, a Los Angeles-based fitness and training program that advocates people spending more time being active with their pets. Torchia, who is also a celebrity dog trainer, is big on dogs getting allowed into public places. He especially goes to bat for the service dogs of people with disabilities that others can't see, but he wants all well-behaved dogs allowed more places.

Torchia says that he's seen--and encouraged--buildings desperate for tenants switch to allowing pets. That goes for either those who rent apartments or condo or co-op boards, in which owners control the common rules of the building. One new Los Angeles luxury rental building wasn't able to rent all its apartments.