ara Montalbano is looking for some new tenants for her quiet three-bedroom home in Providence, Rhode Island. Ideally they’ll be employed and responsible. Most importantly, they must have pit bulls
“If they don’t, I know they won’t have a problem finding another place to live, and I will wish them luck,” says Montalbano. “I prefer renters with pit bulls because I know how hard it is to find a place to with live with one, for no reason other than the ignorance and labels.”
KARA MONTALBANO VIA CRAIGSLIST
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It can indeed be punishingly difficult to find a rental, when you are in possession of a blocky-headed dog, about whom so many persistent but untrue negative stereotypes abound.
This can lead to pit bull owners forced into terrible choices, like having to sleep in their car or even giving up a beloved pup.
In fact Montalbano — an art director for an advertising company, who volunteers with a local nonprofit called Handsome Dan’s Rescue for Pit Bull Type Dogs — bought the house a couple of years ago, when she was having a tough time finding a rental that would allow her own pair of doggies, plus a rotating cast of fosters.
“I looked for about two weeks and knew it was going to be a waste of time, so I decided to buy,” she says.
It’s been a great couple of years — so much so that she and her dog are leaving it to move in with her boyfriend and his two dogs. (Montalbano’s second dog recently died of cancer.)
Said boyfriend is a humane law enforcement officer she met through mutual friends in the animal rescue world.
“I’m probably the luckiest person in the world that I found someone who shares the same passion I do for animals,” says Montalbano.
Since her listing went up a week ago, there’s been 20-some inquiries from interested parties — many of whom, Montalbano’s pleased to note, have included photos of their dogs.
It’ll be hard to choose among them, unless, hint hint, one offers to expand their household by adopting or fostering through Handsome Dan’s. (We’ll wait while you go check out a favorite: Lady Maybelline.)
Montalbano’s also heard from lots of folks who aren’t looking for a place themselves. They just want to thank her, for giving a family with pit bulls a place to live.
Which makes her happy, as a personal matter. And makes Montalbano think there’s a good business opportunity here, catering to this clearly under-served community.
So she’d love to buy more rental properties herself. And then she’d really love to see other landlords stealing away her clientele, by opening up their own homes to pit bulls and the people who love them.
“I have something that can sincerely help keep a family together, so why wouldn’t I rent to a family with a pit bull?“ she says. “To me, this should be the norm, and I don’t think I’m doing anything that I wouldn’t expect other dog lovers to do,.”