New York Assemblyman looks to end NYCHA dog breed ban

Joe Torres Image
Monday, May 23, 2016
New York Assemblyman looks to end NYCHA dog breed ban
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Joe Torres has the latest details.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- There is a new effort to protect dogs and their owners from discrimination, with legislation being pushed by a New York state Assemblyman who wants to prevent landlords from banning certain breeds.

If you live in a NYCHA development and you want to get a dog, consider the current regulations. "Specifically prohibited dogs," either full breed or mixed breed, include Doberman Pinschers, pit bulls and Rottweilers.

"Because they very dangerous, they could hurt somebody," NYCHA tenant Awilda Torres said. "A kid or something, you know, I mean it's dangerous."

Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski believes NYCHA's dog ban is discriminatory, and so the Rockland County lawmaker and pit bull owner has proposed legislation prohibiting landlords from enacting breed-specific bans.

"You can have no dogs, you can have a restriction on the number of dogs, you can have some sort of subjective criteria to evaluate the dog, make sure they are not dangerous," he said. "You just can't banish all of one type of breed."

Sharon Needelman is a pet care professional and the president of the Hi Tor Animal Care Center in Pomona, where 90 percent of the incoming dogs are pit bulls.

"Of all the issues I've had with dogs over the years, rarely has it been at the hands of a pit bull," she said.

Dog owners seem to agree.

"I think pit bulls got a raw deal, but I think they've proven, if they are with the right people, they're great," dog owner Jeff Goldberg said. "If they're not with the right people, stay away."

As for the city, NYCHA issued the following statement in reaction to the proposal:

"The Authority's current pet policy was crafted with the input of residents, and continues to be informed by statistical evidence and our experiences with animal-related injuries."

Zebrowski said his proposal is on the housing committee agenda next week, and he'd like to get it to the full Assembly and then on to the Senate within the next few months, all with the hopes of having the new law in place by the fall.