EAST WILLIAMSBURG — A landlord gave tenants 48 hours to get rid of their pets — including this adorable 1-week-old Yorkie-poodle mix — or face eviction.
The order is a violation of city law, some officials argue.
Residents of Caribe Gardens, a 121-unit, rent stabilized complex on Boerum and Humboldt streets, got the news from photocopied letters from AMS Realty Company attached to their doors Aug. 15.
"We have been informed that many tenants have a dog or dogs in their apartment. As you may have been advised, and as is stated in your lease, there are NO PETS ALLOWED on the premises," the message said.
"You must get rid of your pet within 48 hours of receipt of this letter. If you do not get rid of your pet within the next 48 hours, we will be forced to commence legal proceedings against you which could result in the termination of your lease."
The note left many long-term tenants stunned.
"I was so mad I threw it out," said Perla Melendez, 44, owner of a Shih Tzu puppy.
"I'm going through so much," she said, adding that her father and sister recently died and her psychiatrist suggested getting a pup. "She makes me calm myself. There's no way I'm going to get rid of her."
The news brought another renter to tears.
"I was reading it crying," said Daisy Alicea, 57, who has six small dogs and two cats. Her oldest dog, Lucky, a Chihuahua she rescued from a nearby dumpster, has lived in the apartment for the past eight years.
"I actually broke down. They're my children. With the kids in school these are my reason to live."
Tenants are allowed to keep pets in their apartment despite what a lease says if they've kept them "openly and notoriously" for three months or more, according to a report from State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, though there are certain exemptions to the law if the animals create a nuisance.
Tenants argue that building managers from AMS Realty, a company that runs several other Section 8 buildings in The Bronx and Brooklyn, have known about their dogs and cats for years. Others pointed out that even the building's live-in super has one.
Since they got the letters, the buildings' tenant association has reached out to City Councilman Antonio Reynoso's office, and staffers have reassured them that what AMS Realty Company is trying to do is against the law.
Alexis Rodriguez, a staffer at Reynoso's office, called the pet letter an intimidation tactic "to keep them in check."
Since mid-August, tenants have heard nothing more about their pets, though they've been dogged with a series of other letters about noise to having welcome mats in the hallway to air conditioners in their windows.
"Every day we're getting notices," Alicea said. "It feels like we're being harassed."
Caribe Gardens is a Section 8 housing complex subsidized by the federal government.
AMS Realty Company, whose vice president is Martin C. Shnay, recently renewed the subsidy for the next 20 years, protecting all the apartments for two more decades.
The looming construction work and impending introduction of market rate tenants in the property has many tenants on edge.
"They're punishing us," said Carmen Escalante, a 66-year-old resident, to her neighbor Alicea, in the building's central courtyard Friday. "They want to get rid of us."
"This is their way of doing it," she said. "To be honest that was the first thing that came to my mind."
AMS Realty Company didn't respond to a request for comment.