Brick Wall #1

Internet, you’re so good at giving advice! I’m just going to keep on thinking out loud.

So I’ve hit my first brick wall in the adoption process. I asked my landlord about the process for doing the pet deposit (he’s known there’d be a chance I would adopt a dog since last spring) and he sent me the paperwork.

The pet agreement has a section on specifically prohibited breeds, one of which is the pit bull. It also prohibits any dogs mixed with any of the listed breeds. Drat!

Now, my first course of action is to see if this is negotiable. We’ve had a really good relationship with our landlord since moving to this house (the last time he came in to fix something he emailed us complimenting us and thanking us for keeping the house so nice). I also know that these sorts of blanket statements over stereotyped breeds are only to protect the landlord; if I had an aggressive dog and it bit someone, the landlord could be held responsible as well as me (the other prohibited breeds listed are pretty classic: doberman, rottie, german shepherd, husky, etc.)

The shelter requires me to bring in all of my roommates to meet the dog and make sure everything is square, so I’d like to ask if the breed restriction is negotiable and propose that the landlord come along as well to meet the dog. I also have a few other things working in my favor…

– I’ve volunteered at this shelter and worked with this dog specifically, so I’m already familiar with the dog
– I only have about 4 more months living at this place. Even if I stay in Pittsburgh after I graduate, I’ll be moving to a different place, so it’s a pretty short term to have the dog in the house.
– I would be crate training and keeping the dog limited to the first floor of the house
– The dog is 4 years old, so less fear of puppy-keeping destructive woes.

Even still, I want to word my email to him in the most positive way I can without sounding accusatory or overbearing, so I may need some help looking over drafts.

If, after this, the answer is still a resounding “no,” I have a few options left. One is to find a pit-friendly place to sublet for the rest of my stay in Pittsburgh, which would be a pretty crazy and stressful ordeal. The other is just to hold out and hope that Minnow doesn’t get adopted out from under me, then get him when I graduate.

I’ll cross those bridges when they come, though. As always, any tips on the matter are always welcome!

16 thoughts on “Brick Wall #1”

  1. my mom’s pit mix is formally listed as a chocolate lab mix. Depending on how your vet is willing to list the breed, it is still doable.

    I dislike breed restrictions. Most of the breeds on there are harmless unless they have bad owners who don’t train them.

    1. “Most of the breeds on there are harmless unless they have bad owners who don’t train them.”

      Regrettably, some landlords and other people do need to account for the fact that tenants may be a ‘bad owner.’

      Sucks, but there it is.

      1. true, but it’s not the breed’s fault. A toy poodle can be a nuisance in the wrong hands. Should be a bad owner restriction, not a breed one.

        1. Oh absolutely, don’t think I’m blaming the breed at all. Landlords have ‘bad tenant’ rules that can protect them if a person does things that somehow get them in trouble. Legally, it gets sticky when the animal owed by a tenant is the thing that causes the problem.

          In some cases, it’s a case of bureaucratic laziness. There are a number of dogs that are perceived (fairly or not) to be potentially more problematic. For ‘risk management’, such rules occur. It’s like how some places outlaw gerbils/mice because they can get loose, breed, and cause SWARMS OF MIIIIICE in a building.

      2. Agreed with Rogue. It is true that the landlord has to account for bad owners, but the bad owner of a yellow lab is just as dangerous as the bad owner of a German Shepherd. The breed restriction is still a frustrating hurdle.

  2. It’s true, obviously. For the most part, all dogs are good dogs, they’re just brought up wrong…or violently.

    As for the “wait and see” method: if you really want this dog, I would not wait and see…if he’s as friendly and lovable as he seems to be, he won’t last long. Also, I will be willing to look things over for you if you wish!

    Puppy will be yours!

  3. It sounds like you’ve reasoned through everything pretty well!

    Is there no way that the shelter can ‘hold’ Minnow for you for that time period? Can you perhaps put a security deposit down for that purpose?

    1. Unfortunately they can’t hold animals for adoption at the shelter. There is such a high demand for space, and since they are a no-kill shelter, if a worthy adopter shows himself then they have to get the dog out of there to open up room.

      On the other hand, Minnow has been there since August, but his manners have improved 400% since August as well, and he’s probably a much more adoptable candidate now than he was then.

  4. Maybe call him an english bulldog/lab mix or something. who knows, the mix -could- turn out that way!

    Being in good communication with your landlord and asking him to come approve of the dog are good ideas. it sounds like you’ve thought it through pretty well. If he has a heart at all, you could explain that you’ve been working with this dog for some time, have fallen in love, and could easily lose the chance at him if you wait.

    I would try everything you can, and then resort to holding out hope that he won’t get adopted, if all else fails… You’ll beat yourself up if you don’t try everything first, and he does get adopted. Perhaps someone could foster him for you?

  5. So the pit bull restriction is done because some pits are fantastically trained sweet dogs who are just the nicest things ever and then one day they just snap. It’s sort of part of the risk you take when owning that breed. Does it happen to all pits? Absolutely not, I would say it’s actually pretty rare but when they snap they’re such powerful dogs that the results are often horrific. It’s true that upbringing and training are strong indicators as to what the dog’s personality is like but there are many stories of pit’s just flipping out when they’d been amazing perfect beautiful dogs for their entire life until that moment. I don’t want to discourage you (I LOVE pit bulls and yours is adorable) but I do know that’s what scares landlords. If you do get a pit mix you do need to be aware that it’s almost ALWAYS one of the restricted breeds and if you do start moving a lot it will be difficult to find a place that will accept him. Having just moved with a dog who was over the 25 lbs weight limit set by most places I know what a huge pain in the ass this can be.

    You’re going to have to play to your relationship with the landlord on this one and hope he’s a dog person too. Maybe offer a contract of some sort absolving him of all liability for the dog. Something to that effect. *shrug*

    Good luck little friend!

    1. Strother, while I concur with your reasoning, that rare occurrence is in no way singular to pit bulls. It’s one of the myths of the breed.

      However, I understand that all the landlord may have to work with is breed myths (hence the restriction list in the first place).

      Even if stories such as yours are myths, I also understand that if I own a pit bull, I’m going to have to face the fact that most of the population is uneducated or mis-educated about the breed, and deal with the consequences accordingly.

      1. I’m with ya, as I said I love the pit breeds and have thought about them as a dog for me later on in life but whether or not it’s singular to them is not what the people freak out about. They freak because when it does happen with Pits they’re so strong that the results are much worse than if it happens to a chihuahua.

        It sucks that the pits get such a bad rap because of all the illegal fighting and ridiculous people who raise them to be vicious…I hate when dogs become status symbols and the pit has become the “bad ass” dog to own and it is nothing but trouble for the dog itself.

  6. Is there any way you can talk to your landlord in person about this? I mean, a lot of people, the moment they read “pit bull” would shut off for the rest of the email. If they see you face to face, it might produce more positive results.

    1. If it were anyone but me doing the talking, I’d say yes. However, I am much more eloquent in writing than in speaking face to face, and I’d be more apt to give up when talking about it in person than doing it in writing.

      I’ve asked the shelter people for advice on how to approach the issue, as I’m sure it’s probably a common obstacle for rentals.

      In writing, I’ll probably refer to it as a mixed breed first. I know it’s a delicate operation, but that’s why I’m doing several drafts 🙂

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