It's a dog's life when renting
Apartment owners don't have the same latitude. A spokesperson for the Irish Property Owners association (IPOA) says that OMCs make rules with, amongst other things, the "objective of enhancing the quiet and peaceable occupation of units" in a development. In practice, she says, "most multi-unit properties exclude pets but this rule is often breached and ignored by OMCs if the animal does not cause nuisance/danger to other residents."
These are rules that usually apply to apartment owners, so a landlord who signed a letting agreement that allowed a tenant to have pets would be in a difficult spot if that tenant's pet caused problems, says solicitor Pat Igoe. Typical letting agreements simply say "no pets allowed".
Ireland's cultural attitudes play a very important part in keeping dogs out of apartments: many of us think it's cruel to the animal. Owen Reilly said he would have shared the feeling that dogs shouldn't be in apartments until he got his own Pugalier (a pug crossed with a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel). Owen's apartment is a few floors up in the same building as his ground floor office in Grand Canal Dock: he takes his dog out in the early morning and at 11am, and "we have lunch together. He doesn't bark, ever, and has a corner on the terrace if he has to go to the toilet." House-trained dogs, he says, are extremely clean.
Bray vet Pete Wedderburn, who dishes out advice to pet-owners on TV and in newspaper columns, says it's a common misconception that a dog must have a garden,and that "that letting a dog into a garden for 15 minutes is equivalent to walking it. A dog owner must make a commitment to walking their dog for half-an-hour, twice a day". As far as he is concerned, there is no reason why a dog shouldn't live in an apartment. "Look at New York," he says. But equally, he points out that no dog should be left alone for more than two hours at a time. For people who work long hours, there's a growing number of services in Ireland, both dog walkers, and doggy daycare, costing around €18 a day. One doggy daycare business here, Mutt Ugly, has three branches in Ranelagh and Dublin city centre.
Wedderburn believes size doesn't count when deciding which breed would make a good apartment dog: a laidback Cavalier King Charles would be easier to manage than a Wicklow collie that wants to be out all the time; terriers of all sorts, small or big, are more likely to bark. Dog owners should talk to organisations such as Dogs Trust or the DSPCA to get advice, he says.
He understands why landlords might look for higher deposits before allowing a dog to live in his or her property: but children, students, even smokers are a risk to property too.
Pooches permitted: Where doggies dare
Many Irish people believe keeping a dog in an apartment, where it doesn't have immediate access to a garden, is cruel. But they do things differently elsewhere.
Take New York, for example: it's estimated that there are some 300,000 dogs in Manhattan alone, and most aren't living in houses. But co-ops and condos have stiff rules about what kind of dogs can live in their building.
Some ban dogs outright. Some ban breeds such as pit bulls. Many, bizarrely, have strict rules about dog weight: a recent New York Times article reported that one Park Avenue co-op had a 25lb weight limit, while a condo a few streets away allowed dogs up to 50lbs.