NYC Co-Op Requires Breed Verification, DNA Testing for Dogs

Dog-owning residents at one Manhattan co-op are barking mad about a policy instituted at their building that requires tenants to prove the breeds of their pooches.

The board for the 42-floor luxury building at 170 West End Ave. is requiring owners to have veterinarians sign off on their pets’ pedigree or get a DNA test to find out a pup’s breed makeup. The policy is designed to force out dog breeds the board finds troublesome.

"Some, I guess more of the elders, feel stronger for this rule because they don't want dogs jumping on them in elevators," said resident Sam Schwartzben. "It's like a rule so not everyone's getting dogs, but if you pursue it you can definitely get one. It's just to set a standard so not everyone has a dog." 

DNAInfo reports 27 dog breeds are banned under the policy. They run the gamut as far as size, barring toy breeds like Shih Tzu and larger ones, such as pit bulls and German shepherds.

If an owner doesn’t know the makeup of his or her dog, he or she has to get a test proving that the pup’s DNA doesn’t contain more than 50 percent of a banned breed.

A resident who asked to be identified only as Susie said she is a dog walker and couldn't understand why building management would want some of the dogs on the list excluded from the premises. 

"I really think the administration in this building would rather not have dogs and they have all these strict rules because they're trying to decrease the dog population," Susie told NBC 4 New York. "If you live in 170 and you don't give them a DNA test, I don't know what they'd do to you -- I guess get a lawyer."

Another resident told DNAInfo the policy was akin to discrimination.

“It’s like dog racism essentially,” one dog-owning resident told DNAInfo. “It’s beyond offensive, it’s intrusive.”

The co-op board for the building near Lincoln Center told NBC 4 New York in a statement the decision to add DNA testing to the existing pet policy "was made with the well-being of all who reside in the building in mind, including registered pets." 

"The testing policy may have been misconstrued by some shareholders as a mandate, which is not the case," the statement from the board said. "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."

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