Residents challenging ban of new pets at downtown Toronto condo

Click to play video: 'Condo board bans new pets at downtown building' Condo board bans new pets at downtown building
WATCH ABOVE: "No new pets" -- that's what a condo board is telling residents after implementing a ban on new animals in two downtown buildings. Now pet owners are fighting back. Albert Delitala explains – Aug 14, 2019

A ban on pets at two downtown Toronto condo buildings has prompted residents to launch a petition to push for its repeal.

At first glance, the buildings could be a pet-friendly oasis. The properties, located at 5 Mariner Terrace and 3 Navy Wharf Court in CityPlace, include a number of dog-designated areas and even a dog run — but as of now, all new pets are banned.

“We moved here partially because it’s a pet-friendly community and it’s so hard as a resident, as a tenant, to find pet-friendly areas to have your dog,” Jen Fischer said, who moved in with her dog, Lacey, in 2017.

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Fischer fosters dogs too. She said it wasn’t until recently that a concierge confronted her.

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“I felt very scared because the dog had just come from a high-kill shelter in Texas, and I had my personal [dog] as well,” Fischer said.

She and a neighbour launched a petition this week calling on the condo board to repeal the pet ban.

The CityPlace Residents’ Association said the ban resulted in part because of the actions of a few irresponsible pet owners among the more than 75 in each building.

Gary Pieters, president of the association, said a lack of pet-designated areas near the condos is inflaming divisions.

“Having pet amenities is as important as a playground and without those type of amenities it pits neighbour against neighbour. It pits dog owner against non-dog owner. It pits the board against its own residents,” Pieters said.

A few blocks west at Canoe Landing Park, Nitu Thakur was out with her dog, Gretel. Her building allows pets, but she said in her hometown of Vancouver bans are commonplace.

“Some of my friends that were pet owners over there or were wanting to get pets just weren’t able to ‘A’ find a place — had a hard time finding a place — or had to not have a pet,” Thaker said.

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In response to an inquiry from Global News, legal counsel for the condominium corporation said it had not yet received the petition against the dog ban and would not comment until it does.

The lawyer, Michael Spears, wrote in an email the pet rule was put in place following the concerns of owners and residents over the cleanliness of hallways, elevators, the lobby and other common areas. They were also worried about the “comfort and quiet enjoyment of their homes and common areas.”

The board initially passed the rule in July 2016, but Spears explained implementation was deferred until August 2018 — by which time owners were required to register their pets. Only animals registered as “grandfathered pets” would be permitted to stay on the property.

Meanwhile, Fischer said she plans to collect signatures for the next few weeks after which she hopes to present the petition to the condo board.

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