NYC pet-sitting is now illegal

by on July 22, 2017 at 1:20 pm in Law | Permalink

Pet lovers are barking mad over a little-known city rule that makes dog-sitting illegal in New York.

Health Department rules ban anyone from taking money to care for an animal outside a licensed kennel — and the department has warned a popular pet-sitting app that its users are breaking the law.

“The laws are antiquated,” said Chad Bacon, 29, a dog sitter in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, with the app Rover. “If you’re qualified and able to provide a service, I don’t think you should be penalized.”

Here is the full story, via the excellent Mark Thorson.  Ostensibly the purpose of the regulation is to ensure the health and safety of pets.

1 Jay July 22, 2017 at 1:37 pm

“Ostensibly the purpose of the regulation is to ensure the health and safety of pets.” No! No! No! The purpose of the bill is for liberals to support big business. Liberals in NYC are some of the staunchest supporters of the Taxi Medallion cabal – note the taxi medallion owners are rarely the drivers themselves. Just ask Uber how much liberals love to protect big business interests – in this case the licensed kennel owners.

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2 Thor July 22, 2017 at 1:53 pm

Happy to be proven wrong on this score, but I don’t see that there financial interests at stake here. Rather, I see this as a mindset issue: it’s the habitual fiddling with inoffensive social practices by a cadre of progressives.

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3 Art Deco July 22, 2017 at 2:37 pm

The Yelp reviews for our vet slice him to pieces for the conditions in the kennel, but somehow that situation is better for the ‘health and safety’ of our pets than the home they actually live in.

I tend to agree with you that libertarians are wont to assume legislative history without actually researching it.

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4 TMC July 22, 2017 at 3:21 pm

“outside a licensed kennel ” City needs its vig.

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5 pkn July 23, 2017 at 4:54 pm

Exactly.

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6 Ray Lopez July 22, 2017 at 3:36 pm

I agree with Thor. I doubt that dog kennels have political clout (though I could be wrong: the guy who just became a billionaire selling pollock fish to McDonalds and Long John Silver seafood restaurants got a law passed, in the early 1990s, that made fishing within 200 miles of the US shore illegal unless the crew was 75% American, which helped his company get rich).

Also, the mania that “dogs are human too” fuels this. Absurd. Having a pet monkey as well as pet dogs, I can tell you that monkeys are a lot more human than dogs.

Bonus trivia: cock-fighting, which my inlaws do in the Philippines, is legal and humane (the roosters live to fight) there, but here, you end up destroying the prime of your career (M. Vick). Doubly absurd.

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7 chuck martel July 22, 2017 at 6:52 pm

Interestingly enough, while it’s illegal to match one dog against another in a fight (something that dogs will enthusiastically do without being urged} it’s considered OK to send one of these dumb animals into a dark building to search for armed suspects that cops are afraid to confront.

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8 R.L.S. July 22, 2017 at 10:21 pm

Ray you should agree with Thor more often, and I am glad you did here (this ends the compliment part of this comment, what follows is criticism, so stop reading if you do not want constructive criticism). “There are two kinds of men, those who believe in original sin, and idiots” Don Colacho. Ray, I feel certain – based on your takes on dogs, and on cock-fighting (by the way, Vick was busted for sadistic and evil and vicious cruelty to dogs, not for cock-fighting) that you do not believe in original sin. But you should. Also, while monkeys are acceptable pets, they have little loyalty in their hearts, because loyalty is an attribute of humans and dogs, and generally not of monkeys. Believe me, I know more about monkeys and dogs than you do. Well in any event monkeys are safer than chimpanzees. And please – remember that time is a gift from God – stop wasting the time of good people with poorly thought out comments. You can be better than that, I am sure! Ray, you may think this is a fairly desolate corner of the internet, and that your poorly thought out comments make no difference to anyone: but even in desolate places we are called on to be good and honest. Reflect on that which is good, my friend.

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9 Ray Lopez July 22, 2017 at 11:47 pm

@R.L.S. – where is your constructive criticism? You did not say why my comment was poorly thought out, and your comment about original sin is nonsensical, like your obscure idol, Don Colacho, which at first I thought was a character from one of Graham Green’s novels, but in fact is some obscure Columbian café philosopher. Here is another one of his sayings: “Reason, Progress, & Justice are the theological virtues of the fool.” Obviously not a Brazilian. And if you have experience with monkeys, who indeed are more honest than dogs (they are like cats, more honest than the lying, obsequious dog), you must be living in the tropics like I often do. Salud to you my fiend!

10 R.L.S. July 23, 2017 at 1:00 am

Ray thanks for reading, I see we understand each other (albeit I know what it is to be a friend to dogs and you do not): – perhaps you have met a monkey with loyalty in his or her little monkey heart: God bless you if you havel I have not. And Don Colacho (who is not my idol; to the contrary, he would be supremely happy to know that I think highly of him) is sort of a genius (not that I would want him to marry my daughter: but then, his mother would not want him to marry my daughter either. Such is life). Read a little more about him; I think you will change your mind if you do. Or don’t: life is short, and what we do is not that important, as long as we care about our friends, and as long as we remember why God does not want us to sin. (Sometimes I feel badly that I have not taken more monkeys into my home, a home where they would learn loyalty: but monkeys are expensive, and one has to be so careful about wasting money.) Salud to you, too, my f…R…iend, my friend: I don’t often say this, but I know a few dozen saintly nuns who kindly pray for whomever I ask them to pray for: I shall ask them to pray not only for you also for your loyal monkeys.

11 Humean Being July 22, 2017 at 11:56 pm

It’s both. I don’t know the details of this case, but I’d be shocked if it wasn’t a classic bootleggers and Baptists coalition.

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12 Adrian Ratnapala July 23, 2017 at 7:39 pm

Presumably when the laws were actually made back in the long-ago it was not because of some general progressive mindset, but because of because of actual shady collusion between lawmakers and professional kennel owners (who would have had to stand in line behind hundreds of other tiny trade groups buying similar favours).

It’s true though, that the general mindset of “if there is no specific regulation, then it’s anarchy or (worse) Capitalism!” creates an environment where these shady deals are easier to do.

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13 Rich Berger July 22, 2017 at 2:18 pm

The taxi medallion prices are collapsing- see Carpe Diem blog for a recent post.

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14 Jay July 22, 2017 at 2:23 pm

“The taxi medallion prices are collapsing”, because despite Progressive’s attempts to harm society’s well-being, Uber is winning – albeit slowly.

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15 Borjigid July 22, 2017 at 7:25 pm

Uber, by its nature, is mostly an urban phenomenon. Urban areas are mostly progressive, so it is a good bet that Uber’s customers are predominately progressive.

I don’t think the battle lines are nearly as neat as you would like.

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16 Thomas July 23, 2017 at 11:59 pm

The answer is that progressives are unwilling or unable to live their principles, which explains why they prefer to legislate morality, as well as their low rates of charity and tipping.

17 babar July 23, 2017 at 4:54 pm

yup, plenty of so-called progressives use uber and lyft without remorse in nyc. there are few who are vocal opponents and no momentum at all to shut them down. maybe you’re thinking of another city.

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18 lbc July 24, 2017 at 8:38 am

what does this article have to do with “liberals” !?

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19 Jay July 22, 2017 at 1:42 pm

“Health Department rules ban anyone from taking money”

If the legal repercussions wouldn’t be so serious Rover should mock politicians and instead of transferring “money” transfer goods and services that drive politicians mad. The app could convert the payer’s money into illegal drugs, bitcoins, precious metals and deliver the goods to the seller. Even offer a service to take said goods and monetize them back to money if the seller does not value said goods. If you want to trade service for service – and cut out the conversion of money to goods and back to money – instead of the aforementioned goods why not sexual favors traded for the pet sitting!

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20 Clyde Schechter July 22, 2017 at 2:59 pm

Well, I’m a leftist, and I’m generally supportive of regulations that protect health and promote safety.

But the health of pets rationale here is completely bogus. In fact, putting your pet in a kennel is endangers it: these are the animal equivalent of barracks and dormitories. Animals are kept in close proximity, often sharing feeding facilities, and they pass microorganisms around like wildfire. Just as military barracks and college dormitories are recurring hot spots for human disease outbreaks, kennels are hotspots for animal contagion. It is far safer for your pet to have somebody take care of it in your own home than to send it to one of these houses of pestilence. (OK, that was a little over the top.) The kennel owners themselves recognize this much: most of them will not accept your pet unless it has had certain immunizations that they do not otherwise need.

It’s stupid laws like this that give regulation as a whole a bad name.

By the way, @Jay, I don’t live in New York anymore, and maybe things have changed. But back in the day, all the liberals in my circle despised the whole taxi medallion thing. It’s nothing but a racket for the fleet owners, enabling them to maintain poor vehicle conditions, underpay their drivers, and overcharge their passengers. It’s also a huge ripoff to the small number of owner-operators, turning them from entrepreneurs into indentured servants of the banks. And I didn’t know a single leftist who thinks otherwise. Corrupt politicians in the Democratic party–sure! But genuine liberals–I never met a one.

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21 Alain July 22, 2017 at 3:12 pm
22 The Other Jim July 22, 2017 at 6:21 pm

>But the health of pets rationale here is completely bogus.

At some point in your life, you will see that 80% of such rationales are completely bogus.

And then you will be woke.

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23 Dzhaughn July 23, 2017 at 10:45 am

🙂 So you support politicians having the power to control markets and hate that they use that control to their and their cronies political advantage. You are at the cusp of wisdom! Will you take the next step?

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24 Meets July 22, 2017 at 3:47 pm

What is going on with blue cities?

Banning Uber, jacking up the minimum wage, imposing horrible building restrictions, now banning pet-sitting.

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25 Dain July 22, 2017 at 5:14 pm

But “blue cities” is essentially redundant. As a rule big cities lean left. What you’re really asking is “what is going on with urban life?”

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26 Anon July 23, 2017 at 11:06 am

How about this then: MORE blue cities? Northern cities are clearly more liberal than Southern blue cities. Northern cities have better infrastructure, are better planned, have more bullshit regulations. Better?

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27 Adrian Ratnapala July 23, 2017 at 7:44 pm

They are older, or at least they have been rich for longer, so they have had more time for infrastructure, bullshit regulations and the social machines that create them to pile up.

I don’t know enough about America to say whether they are really better planned than newer cities. They are presumably less sprawly, or at least have big high density regions which were built even before the motorcar was invented. That is arguably better than sprawl, but it was not anyone’s plan though.

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28 Dzhaughn July 23, 2017 at 10:46 am

Chasing the poor out of their utopia, ya think?

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29 rayward July 22, 2017 at 4:00 pm

I don’t want my neighbor in the apartment next door pet sitting for 50 dogs. Do you? This isn’t so much about the well-being and safety of dogs but the safety of people living next door to a dog kennel in a residential building. It may seem stupid, but barking dogs are a nuisance. If I buy an apartment that’s located next door to a licensed kennel, that’s my problem, but if I buy an apartment in a building zoned residential it’s the operator of the illegal kennel’s problem. This isn’t different from people operating a hotel in a single family residential neighborhood. If I buy a house located next door to a licensed hotel, that’s my problem, but if I buy a house in a single family residential neighborhood it’s the operator of the illegal hotel’s problem. It’s typical libertarian hypocrisy: they are all against government regulation until neighbor opens an illegal kennel, hotel, etc. next door.

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30 Sam P July 22, 2017 at 4:09 pm

That’s not what I consider petsitting. To me, petsitting is housesitting with pets. Someone boarding a bunch of pets is running some kind of kennel.

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31 djw July 22, 2017 at 4:19 pm

That was my initial reaction to rayward’s comment, but if you click through to see the article there is a picture of a guy walking 10 dogs. The article also mentions an individual who makes a full time living with pet sitting.

In New York it *might* be possible to make a full time living off of one or two rich family dogs at a time, but he probably has to take in considerably more than that.

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32 Matt July 23, 2017 at 6:03 am

As someone who, some years ago, made use of an excellent pet sitter in NYC, the idea that these pets are all shacking up a the sitter’s home is obviously crazy. Anyone suggesting it shows they don’t know enough to comment. Rather, such people come to the home of the client one or two times a day, feeds the pet, checks the litter for cats, takes dogs for a walk, hopefully plays with the pet a bit. The dog walker is picking up those dogs individually and then taking them back. They do not like temporarily with the dog walker. All of the animals remain at their normal residence, which is why it is safer then a kennel. The other ideas suggested here are a fantasy, or otherwise mistaken. (It’s also a mistake to conflate dog walking and pet sitting, even if the caption suggests it. They are distinct services, even if often done by the same people.)

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33 Ron July 22, 2017 at 4:10 pm

Most buildings have CC&Rs to address those issues.

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34 Humean Being July 22, 2017 at 11:59 pm

Exactly. The free market can take care of this. The police are needed only to aid with context enforcement. That’s the libertarian minarchist position.

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35 Adrian Ratnapala July 23, 2017 at 7:45 pm

What is “context enforcement”?

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36 Mitch Berkson July 23, 2017 at 9:16 am

@Repliers who don’t understand the article’s definition of “pet-sitting”:

Regardless of how you define pet-sitting, if you read the article, it is clear that, in its context, it means having the pet stay at the pet-sitter’s domicile.

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37 sort_of_knowledgeable July 24, 2017 at 3:56 am

Although the pet sitter is probably not keeping 10 dogs at their domicile like the picture in the article implies, but is combining dog walking of most of the dogs with keeping a couple of dogs in their domicile.

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38 kevin July 24, 2017 at 9:56 am

That’s a fair point, but to counter: that’s what Co-ops and HOA’s are for. Our condo building prohibits more then one dog per unit. If Im watching a friends dog for a weekend and not bothering anyone, they’ll look the other way (or not even know about it), but if Im suddenly bringing in 10-12 additional dogs daily, you bet they’ll be all over me

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39 Bill July 22, 2017 at 4:08 pm

We would not have these laws

If

Dogs and Cats could vote.

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40 Bill July 22, 2017 at 4:12 pm

What do the dog and cat proxy voters say? What is the position of the Animal rights groups or the Humane Society on this issue?

Is there a dog and cat airbnb?

What if my neighbor wants to go into business and house a dozen dogs and takes them out for a walk, always ending up at my tree?

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41 Dzhaughn July 23, 2017 at 10:52 am

Dogs don’t want you to leave at all, so I wouldn’t be so sure.

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42 Matthew Young July 22, 2017 at 7:22 pm

My horse doesn’t mind so much, it is the cat that complains.

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43 Anon. July 22, 2017 at 7:38 pm

Can we get some of that fabled neoliberal deregulation on this case?

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44 Saint-Frusquin July 23, 2017 at 12:05 am

You don’t get it ; deregulation is here to help the rich to get the very few things the poors still have despite all the efforts of the governement : for example, public goods such as open air, the climate or water.

Even education : should you belong to a corporation, whatever knowledge you might have will be gladly handed out to the rich should you be stupid enough to let it known.

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45 Dzhaughn July 23, 2017 at 11:09 am

Yup, for the thousands of years before limited government and free markets, the elite took such good care of the poor. They had it made.

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46 Butler T. Reynolds July 23, 2017 at 1:08 am

“The laws are antiquated,”

You know what else are antiquated? Subways.

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47 msgkings July 23, 2017 at 10:59 pm

Yeah those sandwiches are kind of lame now. Even David Brooks’ friends know how to order them.

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48 Gary Leff July 23, 2017 at 7:28 pm

https://www.nytimes.com/…/dogsitting-new-york-illegal.html

“After Senator Tony Avella, a Democrat from Queens, filed a complaint last year about one such app, DogVacay.com, the department began investigating the business.

Senator Avella said he first became aware of the issue after he was approached by a pet groomer who ran a licensed boarding center in his district and was upset with DogVacay’s practices”

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49 Eric Mack July 25, 2017 at 10:17 pm

Freedom! Wallace’s cry before dying in Braveheart.
NYC, you have an oppressive government. Hope citizens disobey the law and juries nullify it.
Screw you, bureaucracy.

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