Young leader for NYCHA residents uses petition to give pet owners a voice
The New York City Housing Authority’s new pet policy is in effect, but one young leader from Jacob Riis Houses is trying to prevent the drastic rules from affecting him, his neighbors, and more residents of public housing. Seven years after officially allowing pets in residences, NYCHA revised the rules for pet owners, lowering the weight limit on dogs by nearly half and banning pit bull, Rottweiler, and Doberman Pinscher dog breeds. Marquis Jenkins, a 26 year old Community Organizer for the neighborhood housing and preservation organization, GOLES (Good Old Lower East Side), began a petition to repeal the new policy, stating that “these regulations unfairly discriminate against responsible dog owners who reside in NYCHA and serve only to brand public housing residents and their pets as vicious and out of control”.
An animal lover and owner of a rescued pit bull (Star, pictured here), Marquis fears this is “just another way for NYCHA to try to evict people.” Having garnered over 3,000 signatures via a grassroots campaign, with the help of GOLES and leadership of Council woman, Rosie Mendez, whose name is on the petition, Marquis feels positive that suggestions on the petition such as to “revoke the bans on specific dog breeds” and “halt any and all evictions in association with the pet policy” will be taken seriously.
Most recently, he and NYCHA residents, Kanille Hernandez and Christina Lopez, spoke at a NYCHA Town Hall meeting, as did Council woman Mendez, regarding changing or revoking the new pet policy. Marquis also presented the stack of signed petitions to the NYCHA board in front of hundreds of residents, including Tenant Association Presidents, from all five boroughs. “We definitely got our message out,” Marquis said.
Now it is just a matter of waiting to see if these efforts have paid off.
View entire contents of the petition below:
GOLES: Good Old Lower East Side, Inc.
169/171 Avenue B, New YorkNY 10009
firstname.lastname@example.org, (212) 358-1231
New York City Housing Authority
Ricardo Morales Elias -- Chairman
New York, NY 10007
CC: Rosie Mendez, City Council Member
Chair of City Council Public Housing Sub Committee
Dear Chairman Morales,
We, the Undersigned, oppose the manner in which NYCHA's amendments to the Pet Policy was implemented. We oppose arbitrary and condescending rules against particular breeds. We oppose weight restrictions on dogs. These types of regulations unfairly discriminate against responsible dog owners who reside in NYCHA and serve only to brad public housing residents and their pets as vicious and out of control.
Additionally, the manner in which residents were notified was sub par in even the most generous assessment. Mail notification did not occur in many developments; NYCHA's newsletter Journal only announced the policy change on the 11th page of its April issue; and most distressingly, the sparse notification that did exist was only distributed in English. Spanish and Chinese-speaking residents, among others, could not read the notice announcing the policy change -- let alone follow it.
To rectify these problems, we feel your offices need to:
1-Extend the May 1st deadline to May 1st, 2010.
2- Revoke the bans on specific dog breeds.
3- Conduct a full Authority review of the pet policy with the participation of NCYCHA tenants who are pet owners. We must create a real solution to he issues that having pets bring to the public housing community.
4- Halt any and all evictions in association with the pet policy.
5- At the Town Hall and final presentation of the Draft Annual Plan, solicit resident suggestions on a more rational pet policy. These suggestions should be the basis of the final pet policy to be implemented on May 1, 2010.