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You Told Us: Can a Co-op Board Demand DNA Testing for Dogs?

By Sybile Penhirin | June 19, 2015 8:22am | Updated on June 19, 2015 4:24pm
 Jack Russell Terrier, Basset Hound, Pomeranian and Shih Tzu are amongst the banned breeds at 170 West End Avenue.
Jack Russell Terrier, Basset Hound, Pomeranian and Shih Tzu are amongst the banned breeds at 170 West End Avenue.
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ShutterStock/ rylskova/ Vivienstock/evastudio/Jakkrit Orrasri

You Told Us is a regular feature where we highlight comments from users in the communities DNAinfo covers.

UPPER WEST SIDE — It's no surprise that there are many bones to pick in a city where everyone, including their pets, lives in close quarters. 

When a co-op board began asking residents to use DNA tests to prove their dogs weren't one of 27 breeds banned from the building, dog owners cried foul and called the new pet policy "dog racism."

Basset HoundsJack Russell Terriers, Shih Tzus and Pomeranians are among the breeds that are prohibited.

A lot of readers agreed with outraged residents, saying the DNA tests are out of line.

How could this possibly be a good thing? Are they going to track irresponsible parents too? - Facebook user Janet McDowell

"This is insane. People often say New York co-op boards exercise a level of control over people's lives that is irrational, well if you haven't seen enough proof, here it is. No where else would this be tolerated. 27 breeds of dog banned??!! Including Maltese and Pomeranians??!! Reserving the right to conduct DNA samples to determine the race of the dogs??? (...) There needs to be government legislation to strip these co-op boards of the rights to control residents lives in this way (...)"

-Facebook user Michael Cheeba.

Some joked about their own pets.

"Being a dog is a social construct. My dog identifies herself as a cat."
- DNAinfo commenter mikegre.

A day after DNAinfo broke the story, the board published a statement saying it had added the DNA tests for the safety of its residents and their pets. While some readers sided with the board, others suggested more drastic measures and dark outcomes.

"It would be simpler and easier to ban them all. That way you don't have to listen to ludicrous propositions like "dog racism." Dogs aren't entitled to protection under Civil Rights statues. Regardless of how you feel, they aren't people."
- DNAinfo commenter Mary Finn.

"I smell a lawsuit. It should be a total ban on dogs, a cap on the number of dogs owned, a size restriction, or no restrictions at all. I know co-op boards are private entities and can set wacky rules. But this just invites an eventual lawsuit."

    - DNAinfo commenter Brendan A. MacWade