Friday, April 04, 2008


In New York City people with pets had for years operated on the pretty much unwritten but accepted law that if you live "open and notoriously" with your pet for three months or longer, even if your lease has a no-pet clause, your landlord loses his or her right to evict you on that basis.

Unfortunately, a 1996 court ruling weakened that pet law by giving landlords a new three-month window for each pet you bring into your home.

That means if your pet dies, your landlord can evict you for getting another animal.

These tenants face either expensive court battles to stay in their homes, moving to new apartments or giving up their newly adopted pets. The legal bills easily mount into the tens of thousands of dollars. The emotional toll is equally high.

The ability to make a person choose between their animal companion and their apartment presents a real problem in the Big Apple where finding another place to live is no easy matter.

"It is a tremendous problem for the people and for the animals," Elinore Molbegott, legal counsel for the Humane Society of New York told the NY Daily News.

As someone who has lived with an animal friends all his life I know how cruel this is. I'd have to move. In fact, I did move once when a new owner bought my building (not in NYC) and announced a no pet policy. What, did the jerk think I was going to throw out my dog Dakotah like trash. I got to admit, I was about ready to shoot the guy. So to me any law that protects those living with an animal friend and that animal friends is a good law.

The Daily News reports in an effort to change the law, animal advocates are hoping to breathe new life into the Pets in Housing Bill (Intro 13), which has been languishing for years in City Council.

The Pets in Housing Bill would clarify the existing 1983 pet law so that once the no-pet clause in a renter's lease has been waived, it's waived for the duration of the tenant's occupancy -not only for the lifetime of one pet.

They say the main obstacle to passing the bill has been City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who so far has refused to schedule a hearing.

Despite the support of 30 co-sponsors - a majority of Council members - the bill remains in legislative limbo.

"It's very unfair for the speaker to hold up this bill," said Council member Tony Avella (D-Queens).

In an effort to push the bill, Avella plans to invoke the "sponsor's privilege" to push the committee for a hearing within 60 days.

But we should not be surprised by the action of the evil Quinn. After all he was one of nine Council members who scored a 0 last year on the League of Humane Voters scorecard, which rated the 51 members on a scale from zero to 100 for their work on behalf of animals. The average score for Council members was 47%.

There will be a rally (see details below) in New York City tomorrow in support of the bill.

The following announcement is from the League of Humane Voters.

TOMORROW: Pets in housing bill rally & press conference! Tell your friends!

The pets in housing bill's back and we're going to have a hearing thanks to Council Member Tony Avella (D-Queens)! Please attend the press conference being organized by the League of Humane Voters of New York City (LOHV-NYC) on April 5th and show your support for this bill. Details below.

As you may know, Avella's pets in housing bill would open up many new homes for animals in need of them. It would clarify the existing pet law so that the no-pet clause in a rental tenant's lease, once waived, is waived for the duration of the tenant's occupancy and not the lifetime of one pet. In other words, if your pet dies, your landlord wouldn't be able to prevent you from acquiring a new animal.

Over the past 2 years, the League of Humane Voters of New York City has been working diligently behind the scenes to build up support for the pets in housing bill, now known as Intro 13. We've lobbied hard and we've been successful at getting the support of more than a majority of Council Members. In the past few weeks, we've brought on *another* 2 members as co-sponsors, for a total of 30!

On Saturday, April 5th, at 12pm, please join the League of Humane Voters of New York City, the Humane Society of New York, The Humane Society of the United States, In Defense of Animals, the ASCPA, the Stonewall Democratic Club, the 504 Democratic Club and many others and show your support for the pets in housing bill!

If you're with an animal rescue group, please bring your banner and contact us at 212-889-0303 if you're interested in speaking at the event. Everyone else, bring pictures of your pets!

The Speaker of the City Council, Christine Quinn, is rumored to oppose the bill, so we need hundreds of people to show up! Please, don't miss this event!

We CAN get this bill passed, but we need your help! Attend the press conference and donate to LOHV-NYC today!

Details on the press conference:

What: Press conference for the pets in housing bill, Intro 13
When: Saturday, April 5th at 12pm (don't be late!)
Where: The Steps of City Hall

Bring friends and photos of your pets!

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