Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Dog-gone House Rules.

Our family lifestyle is not currently conducive to pet ownership (though, as mentioned in the posting of 12 September 2010, we do, from time to time, pet-sit). We do, however, appreciate the salutary role of pet ownership, and are all in favor of it if the pet is reasonably well behaved.

Such is the case of Charlie, the dog owned by Donata Forman. Charlie is a Chihuahua-type breed, small enough to be carried in Donata's handbag, and, as all involved agree, extremely well tempered and behaved. But the Board of Managers of the Village View Condominium in Queens, where Donata lives, insisted that Charlie's presence violates House Rule No. 1, "Positively no pets are allowed in the building for any reason."

House Rule No. 1 was enacted by the Board of Managers. The Board of Managers sued Donata Forman. Judge Lane of the Queens County Supreme Court agreed with the Board that the Board had the authority to regulate the presence of pets on the premises, and, on account of other issues of law and fact, set the case down for trial.

But Michael Mauro, Donata's attorney, noted that under New York's Condominium Law, (1) whether or not a condominium can allow or disallow pets on its premises is a subject that must be addressed in the condominium's by-laws; and (2) the by-laws require a vote of at least 66% of the condominium unit owners, at a duly noticed meeting, in order to be enacted or amended. Moreover, the Village View's own by-laws impose an 80% threshold vote for amendment.

And so, on appeal, the Appellate Division reversed Judge Lane, ruling that the Board of Managers could not enforce House Rule No. 1.

Charlie is now legally at home in Donata's condo apartment.

This is a big win for pet owners.

Not mentioned in any of the judicial opinions is the fact that Donata Forman is a letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service. If a letter carrier keeps a dog for a pet, then chances are that the dog is very well behaved!

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