I was dismayed to get an alert from the ASPCA that the New York City Housing Authority is implementing a new pet policy, effective May 1 (i.e. Friday!) that bans purebred or mixed breed Pit Bulls, Dobermans and Rottweilers.
The new policy also lowers the weight limit for allowable dogs from the previous limit of 40 lbs. to 25 lbs.
The most important thing to note is that, as the ASPCA notes: “Dogs already registered with NYCHA before the implementation of
this revised policy, regardless of breed and providing they do not
exceed the current 40 pound weight limit, will be grandfathered and
allowed to remain in NYCHA housing.”
Residents whose pets are not registered have until April 30 to submit a registration form, and have 90 days to obtain veterinarian certification that their dog is spayed or neutered, vaccinated against rabies and licensed by the Department of Health and Mental
While I’m glad this policy requires that pets in public housing be vaccinated and spayed or neutered, I’m dismayed that, in this time of economic crisis, New York City is targeting those pet parents who have managed to keep their pets in their homes despite the expense.
The city is also placing a tremendous burden on the already overwhelmed Animal Care & Control of NYC, which overflows with Pit Bulls and Rottweilers during the best of times. Now not only will there be fewer homes to which they can adopt these dogs, but the AC&C will presumably be the final destination for those dogs forced out of their homes by the new policy.
(While the previous 40-lb. weight limit should have theoretically kept most dogs of those three breeds out of public housing, the limit was, to my knowledge, not strictly enforced — and how many of us have found the dogs we adopted as puppies unexpectedly grew, Clifford the Big Red Dog-style, well beyond their expected adult size?)
The fact is, breed-specific legislation simply does not improve public safety. Irresponsible pet owners and practices that increase the risk of dog bites, such as chaining, should be the real targets of legislation. (Check out this site, StopBSL.com, which lists alternatives to BSL that really will protect the public from dog bites without targeting responsible pet parents.)
Quite frankly, as a New York City Pit Bull parent myself, it makes me very nervous to see any form of BSL in my hometown. They may not be coming for my dog this time, but I know I could be next.