Elderly Woman Living in Car with Pets

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In the middle of a country full of animal lovers, a 79-year old woman says she and her pets have been forced to take shelter in her car – not because she can’t afford housing, but because she can’t find a landlord who will rent to her. And until she does, the defiant pet owner says there is no way she’ll leave her four cats and crippled dog behind.

“You make a commitment when you take on animals,” says Doris Hallquift. “I’m not going to get rid of them and tell them I don’t want them anymore.”

For several days now, the Midwest City, Oklahoma resident and her pets have been camped out in the Moose Lodge parking lot. She says she has reached out to every shelter in the area, and has been turned away by all due to strict no-pet regulations.

“They won’t take the animals and I won’t go without them,” she said.

Hallquift and her pets were recently evicted from the mobile home park they lived in because her trailer was too old. She said she receives over $1,100 dollars a month in social security payments and can afford rent. She just can’t find an apartment that allows pets.

“What we’re needing is a place to stay,” she said. “It’s not money.” Discouraged and obviously exhausted from stress, her hope is fading. “I don’t want people to think I’m crazy, but I actually pray to die because it would be easier.”

She keeps a journal, and reads a recent entry that is difficult to hear. “In case of my death or injury, please take care of my animals,” she said.

Until that day comes, or until she can find shelter for herself and her pets, Doris Hallquift says she will do everything in her power to protect them.

If you wish to offer assistance, consider contacting KFOR at 405-424-4444.

42 thoughts on “Elderly Woman Living in Car with Pets”

  1. thank you @ Erin. i know Amber Luttrell and i was also going to contact the Pet Food Pantry but im glad someone was willing to help her. im glad to see there are other caring people out there.

  2. there needs to be a law enacted forbidding landlords from discriminating against dog owners…there are shelters bulging at the seams and people out there eager to obtain a companion animal, but cannot because apt owners or landlords ban dogs…that is obscene!

  3. First pitbulls, now people with pets. What is this society coming to? It makes me sick. I would do the same thing I were her. I wouldn’t even think of giving my animals up. They are her children. They are all she has. I pray that she gets something permanent till she leaves this earth. God help her pets when that day comes too.

  4. Most of the landlords who don’t allow pets (even cats) do so even though they have pets themselves and/or donate to the Humane Society, touting themselves as people who care about animals – not enough so that owners aren’t faced with homelessness or putting their pets into the Humane Society to be euthanized (which happens far too much for older pets) – I guess these landlords like to pay for the euthanizing? How would they respond if it were their pets – up in arms they would be. These landlords live in a world of hypocrisy. I’m glad this lady found a home for herself and her pets (?family).

  5. Bless her, I pray someone will help her. I am in the opposite situation, I am being evicted because I lost my job, I am 45 years old and cant find a job making more than minimum wage even with 20 years mgmt experience. I will lose my car in another 2 weeks because my payment will be due and am at the end of any grace periods with everyone. I have 3 dogs that I love more than anything. One of them is 8 years old. I almost want to find them homes because they dont deserve to go thru what Im about to have to go thru but I am so scared she will die if she leaves me, I left her with someone for a week once and they said she was so depressed she didnt eat at all, she just layed by the door. this world and economy is so scary and I have never been in this situation, I dont know what to do or where to turn. Anyway! I really hope someone will help this lady find a place to live with her babies! Merry Christmas All!

        • Wow – this is wonderful information! I always wondered about the hows and the what-ifs if full-time “RV”ing, always thought it was for rich folks with fancy rigs. I had no idea you could do this inexpensively. THANK YOU for posting these links. I have been really discouraged about finding something affordable to rent where my only income is SS (no employer I ever had either paid enough of a living wage that I could save for retirement and no employer I ever had offered retirement plan) and this just may be the solution. Thank you again for sharing this really valuable info. I had also looked at the so-called “tiny houses” some of which come on axles (think itty bitty mobile homes that you can tow with even a smaller or midsize passenger car). One of the dog magazines maybe CityDog? had an article a couple years ago about a dog parent who did this, it was a really cute and manageable arrangement though you couldn’t do much cooking beyond the basics.

        • Thank you so much for your encouragement and advice, unfortunately i will get no unemployment(no fault of mine) and i have nothing to sell of any value, im going to have a yard sale before i have to leave which will help but will not bring in any amount that will sustain any purchases.
          what i meant by losing my job is i was downsized from full time salaried mgmt to part time employee making min.wage at about 10-15 hrs a week. i am not sure the way the company handled things was legal so i will pursue that but in the meantime, im out in the cold in 2 weeks. The company is a small 2 owner company.
          I am really scared but im more scared for my dogs than myself i literally will be on the street with no car in less than a month. Im trying to use the time i have left with a home to find another job but this is a small town and i have been doing the same work for 20 years, im not trained to do anything else, i know how this sounds, yes im feeling a little sorry for myself right now but i know there are those in worse situations so im trying to not feel sorry for myself and think but im panicked and really scared

        • Donna,

          Your situation does sound very scary. But the work situation you describe also does sound as if you should be able to collect unemployment.

          In 2009 I was downsized from “the full time Office Lady” of a two owner company here in FL, to a partial part time position. I could not sustain on that position, (couldn’t even pay for gas to get there) and that constituted a ‘layoff’. According to our state, because I was laid off, I was eligible for Unemployment. Please check again about your UC status.

          As for purchases, I can sure believe that there aren’t many coins in your piggy bank. But if you can get help from family, friends, your local churches also often will help, and can even sometimes locate donations of larger items, you might be able to come up with a few hundred dollars for used van or other vehicle. Often too, there are agencies that donate vehicles to folks in your situation. Do not rule out any and all avenues of assistance, especially your local area religious organizations! Your food stamp agencies usually have the names and contacts of the local folks and descriptions of what they do. Also there are organizations that donate pet food to folks who cannot afford it. Our local humane society takes care of that. Contact the local Humane or SPCA for info on who might do pet food donation in your area.

          If you can find a job in the next few weeks, kudos to you! I’ve been looking for two and a half years, here in small town North Central FL. Not much going on. But if you can get yourself some mobile shelter, you can continue to look for work from there.

          Good luck!

        • Angeli some of the articles I read re the “tiny houses” were also focusing on inexpensive kits that didn’t take a lot of expertise to assemble. Not the fancy dancy schmancy ones which if fed steroids and grew bigger would grace the covers of Architectural Digest.

          Donna – you might consider trying a roommate situation until you can get on your feet. As far as the unemployment battle, depending on your home state that can range from difficult to impossible unless you are represented by an attorney. Check the yellow pages under “attorney referral” most state bar associations have a low-cost referral program and provide a toll free number to access the program. Oregon has this, the initial consultation is extremely inexpensive and an employment law attorney can advise you of your rights as far as what your company did to you.You may find that what your company did in its process of downsizing was illegal. Most dangerous to you is if your taxes have been withheld from your pay “as per usual” but the company if it was going broke didn’t pay those through to the IRS.You should plan on checking on this right away. It sounds like the company you worked for was less than ethical in its dealings and failure to pass along withheld taxes is something these types of companies do.

          Anyone who thinks getting unemployment is even remotely consistent from state to state and is “easy” — it isn’t and it isn’t. My state, Oregon, has an extremely restrictive UI benefit claim procedure with many onerous strings attached and the people who run it are – ah – not “nice” (to put it diplomatically). Probably because the state is so broke.

          Some humane societies (NOT GOVERNMENT RUN! STAY AS FAR AWAY AS YOU CAN FROM COUNTY OR CITY ANIMAL AGENCIES!!!!!) have provisions for temporary sheltering of pets while people get on their feet. You might look into this. While it does separate you from your animals temporarily it’s far better than a permanent surrender of them.

        • SarahKate,

          good points, all.

          However, even the ‘kits’ I saw were pretty pricey, mostly the plans alone were two to three figures. Post a link if you can, I’m interested.

          I never said UC was ‘easy’, and it certainly has gotten much harder than it was in 2009. In FL now they require random drug tests, and of course the Governor’s company owns the drug labs contracted to do the tests. Lovely.

          However being ‘laid off’ as Donna was should still be covered, no matter the state. Worth a look anyway, as no stone should be unturned. Good thoughts on the legal help, if you can find some to work for free. Especially good thoughts on the taxes. Sorry for your tough experience in OR.

          The point of all of this is that folks who want to keep their animal companions while their life is collapsing do have some options. This is not a right or wrong situation, it is whatever is best for the individual and the pets. The three things that are necessary to life are shelter, water, and sustenance. Being able to sleep occasionally is a good thing as well. 🙂

          However it looks, a roommate if she has the financial resources for that, a donated vehicle if she doesn’t, the shelter for her and her babies is primary. Then food and water. If those three things are covered, then Donna, you’re doing pretty well and the rest can be taken care of in good time. And, in addition to the many NON-state agencies, there is also a mobile community to help you. I’m signing off. Good luck.

  6. I live in Oregon south of Portland and I can personally attest to how bad landlords can be and how hard it is to find a place to rent that is clean, affordable and allows pets. I am very proud to say that back in the day when I still had money and property and was myself a landlord I specifically sought tenants who had pets – particularly older persons who had pets. But now I too am frightened because I am older, no longer well off, and the modest house I have rented for 11 years is being sold because my landlord is getting a divorce and they are divying things up. I learned this in early 2011 when my landlord told me and all these months I have been looking HARD every single day for a place to rent that I can afford on SS and that will take a small, under 20 lb, mix breed adult dog. There just is nothing out there, but even worse than the “nothing out there” part — which is mostly due to so many foreclosures that former homeowners are now renters and the vacancy rate is low — even worse than that is the horrible mean nasty attitudes of landlords, that 1) if you are a tenant rather than an owner it means automatically you are some kind of character-flawed lowlife and 2) that dogs, cats, birds, ferrets – even fish – are a “d—n nuisance” and IF by some REMOTE chance they will consider you with a pet they want HUGE amounts of deposits up front. To-wit: the only place I found to rent that I could afford was your basic “roach motel” which stank of the sewer and had mold growing up the walls and oh yes the landlord wanted a $1,500 non-refundable “pet deposit” in addition to first, last, security deposit, non-refundable cleaning deposit and $100 to run a background and credit check. Unbelievable. I am now networking for another oldster like me to share with.

    In this country if you are not rich, life is very hard and very, very terrifying.

  7. This lady takes care of her animals and she is punished because she won’t leave them. Our society needs to take a long hard look at itself and make some changes. Life is hard and with jerks not allowing good people to take of themselves and the animals that they love life just stinks. I wish her the best and I was glad to see that somone let her and her animals move in. I hope that it works out.


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