Pit Bull owners and owners of large dogs generally in New York will have a much easier time finding a place to live if a first-of-its kind bill becomes law.
Assembly Bill A2065A, introduced by assemblyman Ken Zebrowski — dad to an adopted Pit named Ernie — would prohibit New York landlords from discriminating against dogs by breed, size, or weight.
Landlords might still bar dogs altogether — and they may certainly bar dogs that have individually been deemed dangerous. But if they allow Poodles and Pugs, then they’ll also be allowing Pits and Rotties. The law would apply both to private landlords and public housing authorities. “There’s no causation between the behavior of a dog and the specific size or breed of the dog,” Zebrowski told The Journal News (correctly, according to science!).
“Time and time again, you can point to studies that show it’s mainly the proper training or improper training of a dog that leads to their behavior, and not some sort of genetic predisposition to being mean.”
New York is one of 20 states in which breed-specific legislation, laws that prohibit or restrict dogs by breed, is forbidden. Arizona became the 20th just last week, becoming part of a steady decline in the number of U.S. jurisdictions with BSL.
But so-called “bsl-preemption” laws only apply to cities and other municipalities, not to landlords and renters with Pits and other big dogs still face a punishingly hard time finding a place to live. This hurts both people, who struggle to find a place to live with their animals, and the dogs themselves who can land in shelters, or not make it out shelters in the first place, if their humans are unable to secure housing.
Shannon Glenn, executive director of My Pit Bull Is Family an advocacy group that maintains a database of Pit Bull-friendly rentals across the country tells BarkPost she’s hopeful this bill will pass and ease some of that burden for New Yorkers.
“There are thousands of families searching for an apartment that will accept them so this bill will remove that barrier and allow families to stay together,” said Glenn.
Even this bill would not solve every problem. For example, some insurers still discriminate against dogs by breed — and a major insurance trade group came out against a proposed law in Connecticut that would prohibit such treatment.
(In case you’re in the market: State Farm doesn’t even “ask what breed of dog is owned when providing homeowner or renters insurance because it is the owner who is ultimately responsible for a dogs’ behavior and actions,” explained spokesperson Heather Paul.)
“Just take a moment and enjoy reading this bill,” said Cory Smith, the Humane Society of the United States’ director of public policy for companion animals. “We’re thrilled about it for so many reasons.”
Among them: that, should the bill pass, it will make life much easier for New York’s dogs and families.And because, said Smith, this bill gives us all a glimpse at a better future in which all dogs are judged as individuals, instead of by what they look like.
“This is inevitable,” she said. “One day this is going to be the reality.”