Talk about dogmatic. According to DNAinfo, a luxury building at 170 West End Ave. on Manhattan’s Upper West Side has put a peculiar amendment into its existing pet policy: It wants to see dog DNA tests.
As of last month, any dog owners at that address were told that they must have a signed document from their veterinarian to vouch for their pooch’s pedigree. Oh puh-lease. But wait, it gets worse: If a dog is a mixed breed, they must take a DNA test to determine if they are made up of 50 percent or more of certain breeds. The board has banned 27 dog breeds, including toy breeds like Shih Tzus, Pomeranians and Maltese. I wonder what the stance is on designer dogs like Yorkipoos and Labradoodles?
Pit bulls have a bad rap, and the building is also banning German shepherds, Rottweilers and Basset hounds. Basset hounds? Gimme a break. Have these people not read about all of the “dangerous” dogs who have saved human lives? Pit bulls have saved owners from fire and a Labrador retriever/pit bull mix used the phone to call 911. A rescued Greyhound saved his owner from a gas leak. Just Google heroic pets, and a gazillion examples show up.
The board wants DNA proof and mugshots of the dogs. Next thing you know, dogs that sniff another dog’s behind will have to be registered as sex offenders. I hate to think what would happen to a dog that tries humping a human leg.
If co-op owners do not comply with this new mandate and fail to present the necessary paperwork, it can result in fines issued or even the removal of a pet. But now the board seems to be backpedaling after receiving Fido-flack. According to DNAinfo’s second article published Wednesday, the board issued a statement to the press:
“The testing policy may have been misconstrued by some shareholders as a mandate, which is not the case. We understand the significance of pets in people’s lives, and will gladly work with residents to answer questions and address concerns they may have to assure them about the purpose and application of the policy.”
Sounds like double-talk to me. A mandate is a rule. This updated pet policy lays out the board’s authority to carry out this new order. (“New Order” sounds like the right verbiage here — you know, that old plan to create a supreme race.)
Dog breeds are not the problem. Fearful and misinformed control-freaks on luxury building boards are the issue here. The belief that by lumping sub-divisions of dogs into categories that can predict behavior traits is nothing more than ignorant Rufus-racism. (I just came up with that word so don’t bother Googling it.)
According to many experts — including the American Veterinary Medical Association and the ASPCA — the breed of a dog is not the main determining factor for how it will behave. There are a lot factors that determine a dog’s aggression. And there is no evidence that breed bans work.
If the co-op board of 170 West End Ave. is concerned with keeping its residents safe, instead of a false sense of security by banning dogs, howzabout a policy that includes education for pet owners? It’s not the hounds’ DNA that needs to be worried about — it’s homo sapiens with teeny tiny brains.
Dorri Olds is a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine.