For boards, having some restrictions in place as to what an owner can do with their pets is just good sense. But, with the emergence of extreme policies either pandering to pet owners, or, the yin to that yang, a police procedural television-style crackdown of dog excrement involving mandatory DNA testing, what approach to pet mollification is most effective?
First, let's take a gander at the outliers: A January 22 piece by Jane Margolies in The New York Times examined “pet spas” and various other amenities that “have sprung up in residential buildings in New York in recent years in a bid to entice renters and buyers devoted to the four-legged members of their families.” But while one may be forgiven in assuming that these pampering pet enclaves are strictly the province of the wealthy, Margolies is careful to note they are increasingly showing up in affordable housing as well. After all, the United States has seen a spike in pet ownership, especially as millennials delay marriage and procreation.
No Messing Around
On the other side of the coin, Jeff Goldman of NJ.com reported on February 16 that a West Orange condominium complex is currently debating the mandatory submission of DNA samples from all pets in residence to identify which of their owners is lackluster when it comes to...um…waste disposal. Certain residents are circulating a petition, an understandable reaction to such an extreme policy because some pet owners aren’t living up to their end of the communal bargain.
And then, of course, there are the thousands of condos and co-ops that fall somewhere in between the spectrum of Palm-Springs-type animal spa retreat and doggie Big Brother. But what tactics best embolden a community at large? And what variables factor therein?
Well, as always, a predominant influencer here is value. Especially in a condo, when spas, dog runs, pet playgrounds or any such amenity is being considered, it’s inevitably going to come out of the pockets of unit owners or shareholders. Even if the community has a critical mass of pet owners to justify these amenities, it begs the question, who’s going to care for them?