Pet Friendly vs. Pet Responsible Condos

I barked at a developer the other night at the Neighborhood Board meeting about the responsibilities of being a pet friendly condominium. The project in question is the twin 46-story development at 801 South Street, site of the old Honolulu Advertiser Building.

See, the project is deemed “pet friendly” which means apartment owners can have little dogs, cats, birds and other small animals.

Pets are a big deal in condo real estate. The Hawaii Humane Society says near 60% of Oahu households have pets and that people tend to treat pets as family members. Projects that refuse pets exclude a big share of potential buyers for their properties. I know I don’t even bother to look at real estate ads for properties where Max could not live with us.

But here’s the catch: 801 South Street does not provide a place for dogs to, uh, relieve themselves. Yes I am talking about leg lifts and squats. The condo documents absolutely forbid a dog from touching a single blade of grass in the condo common areas.

That means that perhaps 70-100 dogs will have to do their business on other people’s property or public areas. Basically the developer at 801 South is taking advantage of being pet friendly to sell more units but shirking the responsibility of being a good neighbor. That is to me a formula for future strife and discontent. How would you like to live next door and have the doggie brigade on your lawn area twice a day because 801 does not want to provide space on its grounds for a dog relief spot?

The responsible course of action is for pet friendly condos to designate a dog area and establish such rules as they need to control its use. They may have to charge pet owners a small fee or assessment to build and maintain the dog area and that’s OK. I noted the Collection project has a dog park and dog wash area planned for residents.

The developer said he would consider my remarks which usually means they were discarded and forgotten as soon as he left the building. I think I’ll keep on this topic for a bit and maybe resurface the discussion at the next HCDA public hearing where it could get some media attention.

It’s a small deal but none of us want our streets and public areas to become like the land mined areas of big cities or to shove our pets on to someone else’s private area. If you want the bucks that come from being pet friendly, be pet responsible, too.

And, no, I think I’ll decline to include a photo of Max in the familiar scrunched over position!


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