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Ask an Expert: Is my board nuts to put a cap on dogs?

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Q. The co-op board in my building is considering putting a limit on the number of dogs in the building. I'd like to know if other buildings do this, because it sounds so strange to me. Are we going to have a waiting list for dogs, like storage lockers or bike spaces? What happens if your dog dies and you want to get a new one-- do you go to the end of the line? How does a board decide how many dogs should be allowed?

A. For exactly these reasons, limiting the number dogs in a building is not nearly as common as limiting the number of dogs per apartment, says property manager Thomas Usztoke.

“Such a rule brings with it a host of secondary issues that will likely keep dogs on the agenda of the board ad infinitum,” says Usztoke. He recommends that your board first decide, with the help of shareholders, whether it is a dog-friendly or dog-adverse building.

“If dog adverse, a no-dog policy barring future entry of dogs, either for new shareholders or as replacement pets for existing shareholders, will whittle away the population over time and address the inherent complaint about dogs,” says Usztoke. “If dog-friendly, limiting the number of dogs per apartment along with an established set of good community-minded behaviors expected of pets and owners alike.”

So long as the rules are enforced, your building shouldn’t have any need for a cumulative canine cap.

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