Ms. Demeanor's Vertical Etiquette

Dear Ms. Demeanor: Why does my building insist on small dogs? They're yappier. What if I want a big dog?

By Dianne Ackerman  | April 12, 2019 - 12:00PM


I recently moved into a pet-friendly building that has a weight limit on dogs. (While I currently do not have a dog, I am an animal lover.) It seems to me that these smaller dogs bark louder than larger dogs. Is the weight limit an insurance issue? I hate to cause trouble because I am new, but is there anything I can do about the noise during the day? Also, what if I want a large dog? The last time I had one he only opened his mouth to eat and yawn. Signed, Working from Home

Dear Working,

We have two issues here: One, your building’s restriction on the size of dogs permitted and two, the noise of the dogs during the day.

As far as I know the weight of a dog is not an insurance issue. However, each building has its own set of rules set down in the proprietary lease. Do not be intimidated to ask about those rules. You have every right to be heard. 

Our building, which is pet friendly, has many rules about pets but weight is not one of them. We do, however, interview each animal and then require that they register so we know which dog belongs to which owner. We also make sure that they are licensed, and their shots are up to date (the dog, not the owner). We even require that visiting dogs register to make sure nobody is running a business out of their apartment. The doormen are well aware of these rules and are vigilant about keeping everyone honest and in compliance.

We have animals of all sizes and often get complaints about barking dogs—both large and small. I agree that the smaller ones seem to be yappier than the larger ones. We recommend dog owners consider a dog walker or doggie day care. (I’m not big on animals but I still find it cruel to leave a dog alone in an apartment all day.) I suggest you first talk to your neighbors. Since they are not at home during the day they might not even realize that their dog is barking and disturbing anyone. You might even volunteer to walk the dog once a day.

If this doesn’t work, speak to your board about the barking. You have the same right to peace as anyone else in your building, new owner or not. If you are polite and not argumentative, board members usually will be happy to listen to you. But you should know that most buildings, mine included, have few limitations on noise except before 9:00 am and after 10:00 pm.

If nothing works you may just have to get a white noise machine instead of a white poodle.

Ms. Demeanor

Dianne Ackerman is the new voice of reason behind Ms. Demeanor. She has lived in her Upper East Side co-op for the past 20 years and is the vice president of her co-op board. She is filled with opinions that she gladly shares with all who ask—and some who do not. Have something that needs sorting out? Drop her an email.


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