Question of the day: Should strata companies be able to dictate what kind of breeds live in the buildings that they manage?
I’m going to say my opinion is no. Now some of you may believe that my argument will be breed specific only; however, there are many other reasons why I believe that in a dog-friendly building owners should be allowed to have any breed they want.
Firstly, in my experience, walking down the hallway with my Dachshund can prove to be quite mortifying. Many people seem to be afraid, no wait, make that TERRIFIED of him even though he’s never approached them or barked at them. People have literally CLIMBED WALLS and ELEVATORS to get away. Simply because he is a dog, they are afraid. This leads me to believe that it doesn’t matter what kind of dog lives in a building there are always going to be people who are afraid of it for no apparent reason.Fear of dogs is referred to as cynophobia. People with this phobia can not recognize the difference between good/positive behavior and anxious/threatening behavior when being displayed by a dog. I made a mistake a few weeks ago when walking to the elevator with my dog. He was off leash as I usually let him run the 20 feet from our door to our elevator and he ran right by a woman, a neighbour that I never introduced myself to and she threw herself against the hallway wall and gave off every freaked-type of body language she could muster. As I walked by she said under her breath, “You know your dog should be on a leash”. I don’t know why, but immediately I got my back up and resorted to childish language. “He can do whatever he wants”, is what I replied. I didn’t feel bad right away but after awhile I realized that there were many other ways I could have handled the situation. 1. Clearly this woman has a long history of being afraid of dogs 2. She would feel more comfortable if he was on a leash. 3. She didn’t threaten us, she merely tried to express her fear of dogs. So what should I do? After much thought, I figured maybe I should spend the extra second and ask the women if she would like to have a positive greeting with my dog. If she said no then I would either think that her fear is too strong to change or that shes is fine with her own behavior. But what would I do if she said yes? I know my dog is prone to bark at new people during intro’s as he himself is rather afraid. Am I comfortable enough with my dog and my ability to read his signs to even offer a positive introduction? One one hand yes, and on one hand no. I KNOW he wouldn’t bite someone, but he would bark at them during an intro (as I’ve tried many times he’s not a great test subject). However, I could inform her that a) he will not bite her b) he may bark because he’s scared too c) he feeds off of her energy and if she acts nervous he is more likely to bark at her d) let him smell you and then put out your hand e) if I have treats I can give her one to give him that way he will associate positive reactions with this lady. My second dilemma is, do I write her an apology note and slip it under her door so that future meetings are positive?
Now back on track to Strata, I think if someone has cynophobia, it doesn’t matter what type of breed is residing in the building they will be afraid of all of them.
The second reason why many Strata’s should not be able to have BSL in their bylaws is because many cities these buildings are built in, no longer have BSL either. How can you tell residents that even though something is legal you don’t want it? That would be like telling people they can’t smoke in their homes or on their balconies. It’s totally legal but not wanted on the property.
The third reason (although a lose reason) is house insurance! Strange? Recently I was told by another resident that their house insurance actually gave them a discount for owning a Pit Bull. Why, you may ask? Well, the insurance company replied stating that they were less likely to have a break in if the intruders knew there was a Pit Bull living there. I would imagine the same would go for any large breed capable of protection. How can Strata dictate how you keep your property safe? Especially in a condo building where there are 20+ units per floor, your dog could potentially warn them of intruders in their unit also.
And the fourth reason goes back to breed. How many residents can properly identify one breed from another?
Love to hear some thoughts on this one.