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Dear Ms. Demeanor,
I reside in a pet-friendly building (cats and dogs under 25 lbs.), though I am not a pet owner myself. One can only imagine what the pets are tracking through the lobby, hallways, and elevators and when the weather in inclement, the mess is quite unbelievable and possibly even dangerous. Furthermore, some of the pets are simply poorly behaved and scare the younger residents of our building with their jumping, etc., even when on leash.
While I think it fine for people to have their pets in their own apartments, I think it would be appropriate for the owners to carry the pets through the public spaces. What is the best way to go about having the policy modified?
Your query actually raises two issues.
First--and I wish to be very clear on this--is that a 'pet-friendly' building does not mean 'friendly-only-to-pets-when-pets-are-in-apartments.'
Furry residents are as much residents of the building as you are and, by building policy, have a right to the common areas. We all track in unfathomable things on our shoes/paws, and soaked umbrellas bring in as much water as soaked poodles. Fortunately for all of us, apartment buildings haven't yet put weight limitations on humans (though there are some buildings on the UES where that may appear to be the case); you should be mindful of the fact that 25 lbs. may be too much for some pet-owners to carry. Ms. Demeanor cannot support you on this one - it is time to look for another etiquette columnist or another apartment.
As far as pets that misbehave or are given (literally and figuratively) too long a leash, I agree that this is a concern and possibly a danger. An owner who says, "Don't worry, he's friendly," as her dog jumps up on you, your child, or your dog is simply not being sensitive to others' feelings, fears, and possibly allergies.
Any pet policy in a building should make it quite clear that pets are to be on leash and are not to invade the personal space of any other living thing. Anything less than that should be brought to the board and/or management company immediately.
Wagging the dog,
Ms. Demeanor is channeled by a longtime Manhattan vertical dweller and real-estate voyeur who writes under the pen name Jamie Lauren Sutton. She is here to commiserate, calm and correct. Please email your quandaries to [email protected] and put "Dear Ms. Demeanor" in the subject line.