And yet, it may not be as difficult as you think, despite the high emotions often involved. If your co-op or condominium does allow pets, here are some points to consider when drafting a policy:
• Some absolutes. Require proof of city licensing and of up-to-date vaccines. Require that the dog have a collar with the name and phone and apartment numbers of the owner.
• Some strong recommendations. It would be wise to get a signed and notarized document stating that the owner understands and agrees to the co-op/condo pet rules. It should outline the proscribed steps if a dispute occurs, such as the use of a mediator or a board vote. Also, having the pet's photo on file is a good idea.
• Questions to ask and points to consider. Do you limit the number of pets? Do you only limit the number of dogs? Do you limit the size? If so, by weight or by height? Do you fine a pet owner, or perhaps charge a cleaning fee, when his or her dog defecates or urinates in the common areas or on the sidewalk around the building? Do you want to require that animals be spayed or neutered, with exceptions for proof-confirmed show animals?
You do need to acknowledge that disability dogs are not pets. These animals should be covered under your co-op or condo's separate disability-accommodation policy. For more information on that, see "Service Animals in Co-ops / Condos: The Law and What Boards Should Require," by attorney W. Alexander Noland.
Illustration by Liza Donnelly
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