Volume 79, Number 24 | November 18 - 24, 2009
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

‘Banned breeds’ out of doghouse, but the 40-pound cap is restored

By Albert Amateau

Dog owners living in public housing are glad that the New York City Housing Authority has withdrawn its list of breeds that are banned.

But a group that advocates for public housing residents still wants NYCHA to consult with tenants on a policy to keep vicious dogs out of city housing developments.

NYCHA notified tenants on Nov. 1 that it had withdrawn its unpopular pet policy that banned Dobermans, Rottweilers, pit bulls and any dog exceeding 25 pounds at maturity. The three banned breeds had been whittled down from a list of 26 that included Boston terriers.

The new dog rules published Nov. 1 echo the previous pet policy: Dogs that exceed 40 pounds at maturity are banned, but there is no ban on any specific breed, said Sheila Stainback, a NYCHA spokesperson. Dog owners are still required to register their animals with the authority and the rules remain in effect until Jan. 31, 2010.

However, Marquis Jenkins, director of public housing organizing at GOLES (Good Old Lower East Side), said the reversion to the old rules was only a partial victory.

“We need NYCHA to work with tenant representatives to create a really effective policy that helps responsible dog owners and deals with people who don’t pick up after their dogs and raise their dogs to be vicious,” he said.

Jenkins thinks the weight limit on dogs is irrelevant.

“Anyone who knows about dogs knows that weight or breed doesn’t determine whether a dog is vicious,” he said. “How a dog is raised is what’s important.”

Although NYCHA dog rules are often ignored, the agency has started eviction proceedings because of dog violations. Jenkins said some of the eviction proceedings have been unjustified. Moreover, people threatened with eviction have abandoned their animals.

“That’s especially dangerous if the dogs were really vicious,” Jenkins said. “We’ve seen wild dogs in several places, especially along the East River, where there are tennis courts and playgrounds. We need to get at the root of the problem.”

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