While many co-op boards struggle to ban bogus “support pets,” there’s a co-op in East Harlem with such a liberal pet policy that dogs of any size or breed are allowed. When a subletter acquired a pit bull, residents started complaining that the dog whines and pounds the floor. One said she is terrified of the breed and calls the board almost daily for the dog to be removed. What’s a co-op board to do?
Since the co-op has a liberal pet policy, pit bulls are perfectly acceptable and this one “will be calling this apartment home,” attorney Adam Leitman Bailey tells the Ask Real Estate column in the New York Times.
Nevertheless, dog owners have to be good neighbors and responsible caretakers. In order to avoid terrifying the skittish neighbor, the pit bull owner might avoid sharing the elevator with her. “While we love our dogs, not everybody around us feels the same way,” says Andrea Arden, a Manhattan dog trainer. As for the whining and floor pounding, the tenant could hire a dog walker or schedule dog day care to help the dog work off its excess energy. A dog trainer could help modify the dog’s behavior. If the lease requires that 80 percent of the floor be carpeted, that could help muffle the music of pit bull paws pounding hardwood.
Noise complaints are a horror for any board, and if the noise continues, the board could take action against the shareholder and the subletter. While they’re at it, they might want to consider putting some teeth into that wide-open pet policy.
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