Grrr: NYC Luxury Co-op Requires DNA Tests to Determine Banned Breeds

basset hound banned from nyc co-op

When I saw a headline earlier today about an Upper West Side co-op in New York City requiring DNA tests for its dog tenants, I assumed the purpose was to identify poo that had not been picked up by their irresponsible pet parents. (Yes, this is a thing.)

I assumed wrong. The DNA tests are for something much more sinister.

Pet parents living in the luxury tower at 170 West End Ave. must have their veterinarians confirm the pedigree of their dogs. For mixed breeds, the vet must indicate the percentage of each breed. And if the vet is unsure of what breed(s) a dog happens to be, that dog must take a DNA test.


Because certain dogs “are not permitted to reside in the building based upon documented information regarding their tendency towards aggressiveness,” according to the new discrimination policy the co-op board sent to tenants last month.

Surprisingly, among the 27 banned breeds are small dogs, including Maltese, Pomeranians and Shih Tzu. Pit Bulls, German Shepherds, Saint Bernards and Basset Hounds are also prohibited.

Any dog who is at least 50 percent of any of the banned breeds cannot live in the building.

‘It’s Like Dog Racism’

“It’s like dog racism, essentially,” one disgruntled tenant told “It’s beyond offensive. It’s intrusive.”

The tenant refused to be identified because, like many other pet parents in the building, he or she fears the negative publicity could affect their property values.

The co-op board president, Robert Sadin, has refused to comment on the new policy, as has the property manager, FirstService Residential.

“Mark my words, there is going to be a lawsuit for dog discrimination,” Sylvia Shapiro, a lawyer and author of the book “The New York Co-op Bible,” told

“The problem with dogs is not the dogs, it’s the owners,” she said. “There seems to be a lot of irrational people around.”

I propose that DNA tests be required for the co-op board, based on their tendency towards ignorance.

Photo credit: sari_dennise

Laura Goldman

I am a freelance writer and lifelong dog lover. For five years, I was a staff writer for i Love Dogs. When that site shut down, I started this blog...because I STILL Love Dogs!