Queens co-op "No Dog" policy debate

May 5, 2010 4:06:45 PM PDT
An ugly and contentious fight is brewing at a co-op in Woodside, Queens. The board is now enacting its "No Dog" policy that had long been ignored.

Some residents have lived in their home for years with their pets, and they say they're not leaving without a fight.

At Big Six Towers in Woodside, Queens, there are 7 buildings, 983 apartments, and an estimated 100 dogs.

That number includes Harley, a Sheppard Doberman mix who has lived in the building for 8 years.

"I'd never get rid of her, I'd be homeless, right Harley? (Laugh) I'd just never get rid of her," said Cathy Triminio, a tenant at Big Six Towers.

Now Cathy may have to move.

She got an eviction notice with a hearing set in Housing Court next Tuesday.

She's one of two tenants being evicted for refusing to sign the building's new pet policy.

"I think these are just scare tactics, just to scare us and sign and think that everybody else is going to follow," said Triminio.

The new policy went into effect in January.

It imposes a $100 pet registration fee, a $15 monthly fee, and dogs have to be less than 40 pounds.

"I can't sign because my dog is over 40 pounds," explained Triminio.

There are also other rules that other dog owners don't agree with, and those owners haven't signed either.

It bans dogs from terraces and relieving themselves on the property, and says they can't be a nuisance or inconvenience to other residents.

"People could complain, I'd have to get rid of her, get evicted," said Big Six Towers resident, William Boudrauo.

There's also a catch.

All residents agreed to a no pet policy when they signed their lease and moved in.

But, if that policy wasn't enforced within the first 90 days, that pet is grandfathered in, and legally it can stay.

The situation has gotten a little ugly.

The words: "please shut that dog up" has been written on the door of one apartment in the building.

"Whenever in the hallway, getting in an elevator, empty the garbage or whatever, the dog is barking, pretty loud, pretty persistent. (And that is annoying to you?) It can be annoying, yeah," said Thomas Calloway, a Big Six Towers resident.

The co-op president and property management company declined to comment because of on-going litigation.

It's litigation that could put these pet lovers on the streets.