JoAnna Lou
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An Issue of Breed or Responsible Ownership?
NYC Housing Authority Tightens Restriction to include Dobermans, Pit Bulls, and Rotties.
If a new ban remains in place, you won't see Doberman Pinchers in New York City's public housing.

Earlier this year, the New York City Housing Authority tightened their pet restriction, making it one of the strictest for any public housing authority in the country. The new policy bans all dogs over 25 pounds and specifically prohibits all purebred and mixed breed Doberman Pinchers, Pit Bulls and Rottweilers.

Since the new rules were published in an April, the Animal Care and Control of New York City has received 113 surrendered dogs due to the ban, according to a front page story in The New York Times. More than 40 percent have been euthanized because of illness, behavior or lack of space. 

The Mayor’s Alliance and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals have asked the Housing Authority to stop enforcing the ban. City Councilwoman Rosie Mendez of Manhattan, the chairwoman of the Council’s Subcommittee on Public Housing, has also called for a re-examination of the policy after she discovered one resident with a 28-pound poodle planned to starve the dog until it was under the 25-pound limit.

I understand that keeping track of pets in 178,000 apartments isn’t easy, particularly for an overworked government agency. But setting an arbitrary weight limit and targeting specific breeds doesn’t solve the root of the problem, eliminating dangerous dogs. Wouldn’t a measure of responsible ownership, like the American Kennel Club's Canine Good Citizen test, be a better gauge of well-behaved pets? I realize it’s probably unrealistic, but a dog lover can dream.

JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.


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Submitted by Anonymous | September 25 2009 |

It strikes me that this isn't even about misguided notions of "breed," since the ban applies to all dogs over 25 lbs. Focusing the story on "dangerous" breeds overlooks the fact that Lassie herself would be banned. The two "smartest" dog breeds (border collies, standard poodles) would be banned, along with the nation's favorite labradors (true, those tails ARE deadly weapons!). My own beloved CGC border collie-lab mix and international doggie ambassador would be banned. It is likely that even those who fear "dangerous breeds" would not have wanted the "good" dogs banned.

It is truly sad that even now, these bizarre rules always seem to be made without the rule-makers consulting dog behavior experts. How easy would it be to add exemptions for CGCs or other dogs who have gone through behavioral testing? What a missed opportunity for the Housing Authority to improve living conditions for everyone - those who love dogs, those who fear dogs, and dogs themselves...

Submitted by Anonymous | September 26 2009 |

It's very unfortunate through mistreatment of certain animal breeds, and poor judgment in media that these breeds get a bad wrap!

I have a 3 year old Doberman Rescue, that just happens to be one of the sweetest dogs I've met...and that's not a biased opinion.

Anyone can help "CREATE" a mean animal...

Submitted by Anonymous | November 30 2011 |

People need to educate themselves before judging any breed of dogs. I have a Doberman and he is the sweetest ever. Hollywood portrays them as vicious, that is not true! If any Doberman is like that its because they are trained that way or neglected! This topic really irritates me. Before anyone states an opinion about a Doberman....educate yourself!

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