Time was, if you said that a co-op or condo building was 'going to the dogs,' it was a bad thing. These days however, that's not always the case. According to the American Pet Products Association, 39 percent of all U.S. households own at least one dog, and 33 percent own at least one cat. This is why many co-ops and condos in New York have started to change their rules regarding pets and it’s a much more welcoming atmosphere for animals.
For example, consider Glen Oaks Village in Queens. Glen Oaks is the largest garden apartment co-op in the city, with 3,000 families and 10,000 residents; it’s also pet friendly.
“Being pet friendly and setting and enforcing reasonable pet-related house rules creates the greatest opportunity for both sides to get along,” says Bob Friedrich, president of Glen Oaks Village. “Last year we opened the Glen Oaks Village Enchanted Forest Dog Park which provides a beautiful setting for people to allow their dog to run without a leash. The park also has benches and tables to accommodate non-pet owning residents who want to watch the dogs run free.”
But not everyone is for the pets. Non pet-lovers cite noise, aggression and mess as reasons for not wanting to share their building with their neighbors' animals, and they feel that a duly elected board should have the right to limit pet ownership. In many high-rise communities, people share corridors and lobbies, and have limited access to floors via the elevator, which brings still other issues into play. People may have animal allergies—or even phobias—and forcing them to share an elevator with people and their pets can be a problem waiting to happen.
So how to promote peace among the four-legged and the two-legged inhabitants of your building or association? The experts say it takes a combination of courtesy, responsibility, accommodation, and respect; not just on the part of pet owners, but of everyone who calls your community home.