Pets and the economy – A Plea to Westchester’s Condo and Coop Boards…..

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It seems as though every single day I hear another story about pets being put into shelters as a result of the sour economy.  These may not even be foreclosures, but may be families forced to scale back from a single family home to a condo or coop.  You guessed it – the condo or coop nixes the pet.  This is particularly hard on our canine friends and I’m getting e-mails and pleas almost daily begging people to spare their beloved pet from the animal shelter.  Most of the time it is to no avail and many of these wonderful companions are put to sleep.

In the meanwhile – I’m seeing condo after condo and coop after coop nixing dogs.  Complexes that were once an oasis for those in need of a home that will take their beloved dog have put up MORE restrictions not less.  The same holds for rental complexes.

Westchester Condos & Coops & Pets:

I’m going to be very blunt.  Westchester condos and coops  are about the MOST pet UN-FRIENDLY places imaginable.  Manhattan, Riverdale, most of the Bronx, Queens and Fairfield county are ALL more flexible than Westchester are all more pet-friendly than Westchester.  Personally, I’m sick to death of seeing – “no restrictions” chaining to “restricted weight” or “no dogs.”  We already have a crisis I think it is unconscionable  that complexes are making this matter worse.

Dogs are not filthy dirty creatures that are going to turn a complex into a slum.  But it seems as if it only takes one disgruntled resident to turn a complex from pet-friendly to “no dogs” in an instant.  And the places that allow pets….some ban specific breeds in an almost random way, some will let you have a bull mastiff but God forbid someone brings in two Yorkies.  The ban on more than one dog is counterproductive because two dogs together are more likely to be quiet when an owner is absent.  (Dogs are social – so canine company will keep them happy and quiet).  In other words, it would be helpful if those who made the rules about pets actually understood something about dogs.

About one year ago I got an email from a newly elected board member from a complex on Garth Road in Scarsdale.  She was crowing about how she was the new head of the coop board and noticed that I had written a blog back in 2007 about “her” complex being pet-friendly.  She wanted me to rewrite the blog to reflect the new rules – because the complex no longer allowed dogs and offered to send me the offering plan about the rules of the house – so I could be more accurate in future.   She was very proud of these  new rules and felt they would make the complex more “upscale.”

She got a very chilly response from me:

First – my interest in “her” complex began and ended with the pet-friendly factor as I had a lot of clients who have dogs.  I would not be promoting or writing about the complex in the future since had nothing more to offer than any other complex on Garth Rd. and in fact less -since there were far nicer complexes on that Street.

Second –  this new rule was nothing to be proud of.  The dogs were disturbing no one in that building.  I had been in and out on many occasions and hardly heard a sound.

Third – The dated carpeting and wallpaper in the common spaces  (c.1985) was a huge turnoff to my buyers who would tolerate it because they could have their beloved pets with them.  So I suggested that they were on the wrong track if they thought that banning dogs would take care of this issue.

And no – I wasn’t editing blogs like that.

The point is that we have a desperate situation.  Dogs have been a part of my life since I was a small child and they are amazing companions.  In this hard economy, Westchester condos and cooperatives that allow pets – with the appropriate rules in place – will have a real edge in attracting buyers – which is good for EVERYONE including the pets…It’s time to rethink the draconian rules.

© 2011 – Ruthmarie G. Hicks – – All rights reserved.

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