ASPCA® Drafts Letter Outlining NYCHA Tenants' Rights

Revised Pet Policy Threatens Dogs Belonging to NYCHA Residents
June 8, 2009

NEW YORK—In the wake of a New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) pet policy that restricts dog ownership based on breed and weight, The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) and Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals® have drafted and are making available a memo that outlines the rights of NYCHA residents who have dogs.

The memo has been posted on the ASPCA’s web site,, and on the Mayor’s Alliance web site,  Copies of the memo are also available in the ASPCA’s Adoption Center at 424 E. 92nd Street in Manhattan, at certain Mayor’s Alliance Participating Organization Locations (see their web site for specific locations), and at all Animal Care & Control of NYC adoption and receiving centers:

  • AC&C — Manhattan Animal Care Center
    326 East 110th Street
    New York, NY  10029
    (between 1st and 2nd Avenues)
  • AC&C — Brooklyn Animal Care Center
    2336 Linden Boulevard
    Brooklyn, NY  11208
  • AC&C — Staten Island Animal Care Center
    3139 Veterans Road West
    Staten Island, NY 10309
  • AC&C — Queens Pet Receiving Center
    92-29 Queens Boulevard
    Rego Park, NY  11374
  • AC&C — Bronx Pet Receiving Center
    464 East Fordham Road
    Bronx, NY  10458

The revised NYCHA pet policy went into effect May 1, 2009 and reduces the permissible weight for full grown dogs from 40 to 25 pounds and bans Pit bulls, Rottweilers and Dobermans, either pure- or mixed breed.  NYCHA residents are permitted only one dog or cat.

Dogs (and cats) will be grandfathered and allowed to stay in NYCHA housing regardless of breed, weight, or pet limit if they were owned prior to May 1, 2002 (ownership must be independently verified) and registered prior to February 1, 2003. 

Dogs registered with NYCHA by April 30 will also be grandfathered and permitted to remain in NYCHA housing, regardless of breed, provided they do not exceed the prior 40 pound weight limit.  Residents who submitted a registration form by April 30 were given a 90 day grace period to submit a veterinarian certification verifying that their dogs are spayed or neutered, vaccinated against rabies, not one of the prohibited breeds, and licensed by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Under the revised NYCHA pet policy, dogs exceeding the 25 pound weight limit and/or deemed a prohibited breed, may not reside in NYCHA housing. 

“The ASPCA is opposed to NYCHA’s revised policy and wants to be sure that NYCHA residents know they have rights that are protected,” said Laura Maloney, ASPCA Senior Vice President of Anti-Cruelty.  “The ASPCA opposes any laws that discriminate against particular breeds or impose excessive weight restrictions.  This regulation unfairly discriminates against responsible dog owners on both counts.”

NYCHA residents who had problems registering their dogs by the April 30th deadline, or who have scheduled a hearing with NYCHA management to determine whether they can keep their dogs, are encouraged to contact attorney Darryl Vernon (212-949-7300; [email protected]).

“NYCHA’s policy is flawed on a number of fronts,” said Jane Hoffman, Mayor’s Alliance President.  “Not only are weight and breed designations often imprecise and debatable, but there was no public input before this policy was promulgated.  The Mayor’s Alliance wants people to understand their rights before thinking they must relinquish their animals.”