No pets-some pets allowed

Michelle
Michelle Stewart
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An interesting issue came to light this week in Labrador West. As noted in the story with Julie Rose who was more or less given an ultimatum—she’d get a housing unit from Newfoundland and Labrador Housing but only if she signed a note stating she wouldn’t have the family dog move in. It’s an interesting story for a couple of reasons.

An interesting issue came to light this week in Labrador West. As noted in the story with Julie Rose who was more or less given an ultimatum—she’d get a housing unit from Newfoundland and Labrador Housing but only if she signed a note stating she wouldn’t have the family dog move in.

It’s an interesting story for a couple of reasons.

Whether or not a dog (or any pet for that matter) is permitted in the housing units is up to the discretion of NLH—which is indeed the managing body of the housing units. And that’s interesting because, it makes one wonder how it’s decided (size, breed, appearance) on what pet can go in and what cannot—the expertise and facts the housing corporation takes into consideration to base the final decision on.

It’s interesting because, according to what the young woman (Ms. Rose said), there are other dogs visibly residing in the same housing area with their owners who are tenants of the NLH units. These range from small to larger breeds such as the husky/shepherd mixed breed, the young woman observed.

NLH confirmed it is up to the corporation to give or not give consent. The spokeswoman also acknowledged there are probably some dogs living in the 5,500 housing units province wide that do not have the consent. “It’s hard to police it,” she admitted to the Aurora.

What a snarl that kind of loose rule can produce and that is evident in this story.

No doubt there are certain breeds of dogs that are stereotyped as a vicious and/or dangerous breed and, you can bet Ms. Rose’s Rottweilers would certainly be dubbed that by many people.

She maintains a dog’s bad behaviour is indicative of the owner and she is a dedicated, responsible and caring owner—there’s no reason to believe she is not and for all anyone knows, her Rottweiler may be less dangerous than a five-pound Pomeranian.

Is Ms. Rose correct in her assessment then that NLH discriminated against her dog because of its breed? The reaction of the local NLH worker (upon learning the breed) lends credence to that claim and even though the spokesperson was not about to say the breed was a determining factor in denying consent for the Rose’s family dog, there’s lots to suspect it was.

If NLH tenants have dogs of equal size and mixed pedigrees, then you’d have to understand this young mother’s disdain with the loose rule. Is it fair that tenants who have cats, birds, and rabbits be treated any differently than those who have a Rottweiler, a Pit Bull or a Chihuahua?

Plenty of landlords have a ‘no pets allowed policy’ same as a ‘no smoking policy’ and it’s probably the best approach to have it all or nothing. The current setup with NLH allows the corporation to pick and choose and that is bound to produce situations where tenants will feel there is some discrimination and unfairness.

Maybe it’s best if the corporation make a blanket rule and that way it’s fair to all hands.

Make exceptions for seeing-eye dogs and other special circumstances that require animals. What is currently in place for pets with NLH opens the door for all kinds of friction and issues. It’s the same as having a smoking policy that won’t allow you to smoke cigarettes but cigars are okay.

And what’s most interesting is Cody (the family dog) is not living with his owner today because she decided to go with the honest approach and tell NLH she does indeed have a dog and his breed.

Wonder if she regrets being so forthright in her disclosure.

 

mstewart@theaurora.ca

 

 

Geographic location: Labrador, Pomeranian

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