After first trying to get rid of all pets from NBHousing units, including those pets deemed medically necessary, Sue Stultz has now backed down. Slightly. She now says that anyone who has a medical need for a pet and who asks permission to get one before they do so will be allowed to keep their pet. Those who don’t ask permission are still out of luck.

This creates a problem. To start with it allows NBHousing the opportunity to second guess doctors as to who has a medical need for a pet and who does not. This is kind of like saying “because you living in public housing, you must ask permission before you can receive your chemotherapy treatments, we will determine if it is justified or not” Often the criteria for choosing who requires a pet or service dog for support is found only within general studies looked at by specialists in the field of medicine involved, and family of those affected by the illness in question. To expect staff at NBHousing to have the knowledge or background to understand the necessity is to require NBHousing staff to be doing research normally done by medically trained professionals and those with direct interest in the disease and to interpret the information correctly without having the benefits of the appropriate background knowledge.

The complaints involved that lead to these letters were specific and so direct and specific actions are required. One apparently mentioned a vicious dog, deal with that then, and all other vicious dogs (if that is accurate and not just a complaint based on the breed). The other complaint was directed at messes left in common areas and not cleaned up. Deal with this as well, pet owners must clean up after their pet, lose their pet, or be charged for cleaning the mess up.

Blanket pet bans are an abomination as it tells those who are less fortunate that they do not have the right to animal companionship. Ban blanket pet bans and introduce a law protecting parents and pet owners while at the same time allowing some areas for those who have real and actual problems caused by the presence of animals.

If you will not do this then perhaps it is time the City introduced a bylaw to protect it’s citizens from you and your department. We can and will stand up to you, the message was sent yesterday and a single token change is not sufficient we need a major overhaul in this policy.