Did you know that many owners of condos are not allow to own a pet from a bird to a dog because of strata by-laws. I knew there were often restrictions, but was not aware of how many condos actually have a NO pet by-law. Well move may be the easy answer but I have spoke to people who have told me that it can be difficult to find a condo to rent or buy that actually allows pets. Read my following letter to our Canadian Veterinary Medical Association and let me know what you think…
I am a veterinarian in Abbotsford and yesterday I had a house-call euthanasia appointment for an older clients cat. I will not mention her name as it turns out despite her owning her condo she is not allowed to have a pet because of a strata by-law. She then informed me that one lady moved because the strata did not allow her to have a budgie and in another unit a couple moved in unaware of the by-law and had to get rid of their dog. After losing the dog the lady, who was suffering from dementia quickly deteriorated. On my drive back to the hospital my tech told me that she had a very difficult time finding an apartment to buy as many condos have these by-laws.
I volunteer at ARH with my dog as a therapy dog. I know that both Pets and Friends and St. Johns run therapy dog programs bringing dogs into nursing homes and hospitals because of the health benefits. In the Harvard Medical Schools July 11 2012 issue of Harvard Health Publications wrote
Studies going back to the early 1980s support the idea that dogs—and other pets—have enormous health benefits for people. Pets have been shown to lower blood pressure, improve recovery from heart disease, and even reduce rates of asthma and allergy in children who grow up with a Fido or a Frisky in the house. Pets also improve people’s psychological well-being and self-esteem.
None of this will be news to you I am sure. What I find shocking is that we are working at helping to decrease stress in hospitals and nursing homes and now even taking pets in the work place to help decrease work place stress, but people who own their own condos are not allowed to have a pet which has the health benefits of decrease depression, decrease blood pressure, and increase activity to just name a few. What I find even more upsetting is we have known how important pets are for human health and well being for almost 40 years and yet condo stratas are still preventing owners from benefiting from owning a pets.
I understand that if you jump through hoops and get a doctors note you may be able to bend the rules but I don’t think one should have to bend the rules. I think this should be a right and I do not think a condo strata should be allowed to tell an owner what or who lives in the condo with the owner. Yes they should be able to make rules about picking up after dogs and noise issues – but that is true about pets in the suburbs as well. But preventing from owning I think is an injustice to many people.
I do not know how one changes the amount of power that a strata can have but I think it is something that must be done. I also think that we as veterinarians need to push to make this happen and I think the CVMA along with the CMA needs to speak up. I am happy to do my part to help make this occur as one day I am sure I will be one of these little old ladies in a condo and I will want my cat or my dog living with me. I just do not know how to make it happen.
I hope I can get the CVMA’s support and advice as I really think as we see more high density living, as we already have in Vancouver and are starting to see moving out into the suburbs, such as in Surrey, Langley, and Abbotsford, there will be more and more people living in condos and some of those people will and should have pets.
Shelley Horvat DVM
So do you have any comments or suggestions??