In Some Buildings, Dogs Go Out With the Trash

February 3, 2023 – Media Mention
The New York Times

Herrick partner Bruce Cholst was quoted at length in a New York Times article discussing how some dog owners in New York City apartment buildings are required to use a service entrance to take their pets in and out of their buildings.

The article begins with, "Of the many house rules and regulations that make the collective cohabitation that is apartment dwelling bearable, policies around pets are typically made plain: Some buildings have no-pet restrictions, others limit dogs by size and breed, while others are so pet friendly that they offer dog treats at the front desk. But an in-between area exists in some residences. Within them, dogs are welcome, but not welcome everywhere. Most typically, the situation occurs in large luxury buildings where ancillary elevator banks and building bylaws are used to divide dogs from the dog-less, the allergic or the afraid."

For some residents, the restrictions about where a dog may walk are minor inconveniences that are tolerated to maintain intra-building peace. For others it has done the opposite and residents bristle at paying the same rent as dog-eschewing tenants, while being forced out a separate exit.

"A lot of people are really offended, a lot of people are emotionally involved with their animals, and a lot of people perceive it as an insult to their pet’s dignity," said Bruce who has represented clients on both sides of the argument.

Some residents have sued to let their dogs walk their building as they please, but, with the exception of service dogs, who are required by law to be permitted to go where their owners need them, there is no guarantee a dog owner will be successful in court, notes Bruce. Most often, such cases are resolved privately with "imaginative solutions," he said, such as a dog owner being permitted to take the elevator, but obligated to wait for the next one if a person who dislikes their dog is aboard.

The article notes that, "About 75 percent of buildings in New York City accommodate pets" and adds that, Bruce, who lives in a building on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, has seen his own building reverse it stance on pets.

The article closes with, "When [Bruce] moved in two decades ago, dogs had to go through the service exit. Today, he is allowed take Sammie-Sue, his pug-poodle mix, and Sean, his Pomeranian-poodle cross breed out the front."

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