Ms. Demeanor's Vertical Etiquette

Dear Ms. Demeanor: I recently bought a second dog but my board said I didn't get approval beforehand. Now what?

Some NYC pet-friendly buildings want to sign off on your dog's breed and/or size before you purchase or adopt, so be clear on what the rules are in your building.

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Question:

I moved into a pet friendly building many years ago with my dog. A few years back, the board decided that all pets must be approved and registered. Existing pets would be “grandfathered in” but still need to be registered, which I did. I recently bought another dog and when I asked to register her, the board said I needed approval. I already bought the dog. Now what? Signed, Dog Lover

Answer:

Dear Lover,

So, "approved" usually means before the fact, not after. You needed approval first and since you did not seek it, you broke the rules and I hate to break it to you, but the board has every right to not allow you a second dog.

In my building, we instituted a similar policy and also allowed people who already had dogs to just register them. New residents need board approval before they buy a dog, not after, and the same holds true for existing residents who want to buy another dog. We also would not want someone to have 22 cats in their apartments. Some buildings have weight limits and certain animals on their restricted list.  

The reason we want all dogs to be registered is so that we know they belong to the shareholder and that they are licensed and their shots are up to date. We instituted this policy because we noticed people running dog walking and boarding businesses out of their apartments. Our building does not allow any businesses to be run inside an apartment. Also, we needed to know that the dogs have their shots in case of an attack on another resident. We even ask residents to tell the doormen if they have a dog visiting them. 

Recently we turned down an owner who wanted a second dog. Her current dog barks all day long and we get many complaints from her neighbors. Two yapping dogs in a studio apartment seemed undesirable at best.

So, you can try asking for forgiveness but it really will be up to the board to decide whether or not you can keep a second dog. They may throw you a bone.

Ms. Demeanor


Dianne Ackerman is the new voice of reason behind Ms. Demeanor. She has lived in her Upper East Side co-op for the past 20 years and is the vice president of her co-op board. She is filled with opinions that she gladly shares with all who ask—and some who do not. Have something that needs sorting out? Drop her an email