Allows persons 62 years or older to keep and care for common household pets in municipal housing; prevents eviction of such persons based on the ownership of pets; provides that any pet who poses a nuisance to the community may be removed; does not remove any pet owner from liability for the reasonable costs directly attributable to any damage caused by the pet.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the public housing law, in relation to the keeping of certain household pets by persons sixty-two years of age or older
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: To provide that persons 62 years of age or older be allowed to care for a common household pet and not be denied occupancy in municipal housing.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: The public housing law is amended by adding a new section 223-c to provide that: 1) no person 62 years of age or older may be denied municipal housing on the grounds that such person has a common household pet; 2) such person must comply with regulations governing the keeping of such pets, including waste disposal, registration, inoculations, providing for alternate caretakers, among others; 3) any pet who poses a nuisance to the community may be removed; 4) the owner will not be financially responsible for any reasonable repair or replacement costs attributable to the pet.
JUSTIFICATION: Medical studies have clearly demonstrated the health benefits, both physical and emotional, that pets provide elderly persons and the serious health problems that such persons could develop if the pets are removed. Clearly, the mental and physical well-being of elderly persons should not be placed in jeopardy merely because they have pets. New York State presently puts elderly persons in the difficult position of either being denied occupancy because they own a pet (a denial which only comes after months of waiting by the senior citizen for public housing) or, after living in public housing for some time with the pet, being threatened with eviction lest they give up the pet. This is due to the public housing authorities' unwillingness to allow our senior citizens to keep pets.
Elderly people, often living alone, should not be denied the companionship of an animal and the added security that an animal can provide them, particularly during these times when violent crimes are increasing.
Thousands of strays and unwanted animals for whom responsible homes cannot be found are euthanized by shelters throughout New York State each year.
This legislation is consistent with federal regulations for federally assisted housing for the elderly stating that discrimination against elderly pet owners is illegal.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2009-2010: A.188 - Referred to Housing 2007-2008: A.160 - Referred to Housing 2005-2006: A.580 - Referred to Housing
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the first of June in the year next succeeding the year in which it shall have become a law, provided that any regulations required for the implementation of this act shall be promulgated at least 30 days prior to such effective date.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 3117 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE February 9, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sen. ESPAILLAT -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Housing, Construction and Community Development AN ACT to amend the public housing law, in relation to the keeping of certain household pets by persons sixty-two years of age or older THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The public housing law is amended by adding a new section 223-c to read as follows: S 223-C. DISCRIMINATION AGAINST PERSONS WHO HAVE CERTAIN HOUSEHOLD PETS. 1. NO PERSON WHO IS SIXTY-TWO YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER SHALL BE DENIED OCCUPANCY IN A DWELLING IN ANY HOUSING PROJECT OR BE SUBJECTED TO EVICTION FROM ANY SUCH DWELLING ON THE SOLE GROUND THAT SUCH PERSON HAS A COMMON HOUSEHOLD PET WHICH WILL OR DOES RESIDE WITH SUCH PERSON THERE- IN. 2. THE COMMISSIONER SHALL PROMULGATE REGULATIONS FOR THE KEEPING OF COMMON HOUSEHOLD PETS BY PERSONS SIXTY-TWO YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER WHO RESIDE IN A DWELLING IN ANY HOUSING PROJECT. SUCH REGULATIONS MAY INCLUDE CONSIDERATION, AFTER CONSULTATION WITH THE TENANTS OF SUCH HOUS- ING PROJECT, OF OTHER REASONABLE FACTORS TO GOVERN THE KEEPING OF COMMON HOUSEHOLD PETS SUCH AS DENSITY OF TENANTS, PET SIZE, POTENTIAL FINANCIAL OBLIGATIONS OF TENANTS, AND STANDARDS OF PET CARE. SUCH REGULATIONS MAY INCLUDE AND ALL PET OWNERS SHALL COMPLY WITH, THE FOLLOWING IF REQUIRED: (A) INOCULATIONS AND LICENSING MANDATED BY STATE AND LOCAL LAWS; (B) SANITARY STANDARDS GOVERNING THE DISPOSAL OF PET WASTE; (C) LIMITING THE KEEPING OF COMMON HOUSEHOLD PETS TO ONE PER HOUSEHOLD AT ANY GIVEN TIME; (D) PET RESTRAINT IN COMMON AREAS; (E) PET REGISTRATION; AND (F) ALTERNATE CARETAKERS IN THE CASE OF SICKNESS OR INCAPACITY OF THE PET OWNER.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD00646-01-1 S. 3117 2
3. MUNICIPAL HOUSING AUTHORITIES MAY PROMULGATE SUPPLEMENTARY RULES AND REGULATIONS TO CARRY OUT THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION, NOT INCON- SISTENT WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION OR THE COMMISSIONER'S REGU- LATIONS. 4. ANY PET WHOSE CONDUCT OR CONDITION IS DULY DETERMINED TO CONSTITUTE A NUISANCE OR A THREAT TO THE HEALTH OR SAFETY OF THE OTHER OCCUPANTS OF SUCH HOUSING PROJECT, OR OF OTHER PERSONS IN THE COMMUNITY WHERE SUCH HOUSING PROJECT IS LOCATED, MAY BE REMOVED BY THE MUNICIPAL HOUSING AUTHORITY, PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICER HAVING JURISDICTION, OR OTHER APPROPRI- ATE AUTHORITY OF THE COMMUNITY WHERE SUCH HOUSING PROJECT IS LOCATED. FOR PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION A NUISANCE MEANS THE SUBSTANTIAL INTERFER- ENCE WITH THE HEALTH, SAFETY, AND COMFORT OF THE OTHER TENANTS OF THE HOUSING PROJECT, OR OF OTHER PERSONS IN THE COMMUNITY WHERE SUCH HOUSING PROJECT IS LOCATED. 5. NOTHING IN THIS SECTION RELIEVES ANY PET OWNER FROM LIABILITY FOR THE REASONABLE COSTS DIRECTLY ATTRIBUTABLE TO ANY DAMAGE CAUSED BY THE PET, INCLUDING THE COST OF REPAIRS AND REPLACEMENTS THERETO. 6. ANY AGREEMENT BY A LESSEE OR TENANT WAIVING OR MODIFYING THE RIGHTS CONTAINED IN THIS SECTION FOR THE KEEPING OF COMMON HOUSEHOLD PETS BY PERSONS SIXTY-TWO YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER SHALL BE VOID AS CONTRARY TO PUBLIC POLICY. 7. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, THE TERM "COMMON HOUSEHOLD PET" SHALL INCLUDE A DOG, CAT, GERBIL, HAMSTER, GUINEA PIG, BIRD, OR FISH. S 2. This act shall take effect on the first of June in the year next succeeding the year in which it shall have become a law; provided that any regulations required for the implementation of this act shall be promulgated at least 30 days prior to such effective date.