Re: Pet Policy Request for Help
From: Rik Ahlberg (
Date: Mon, 14 Oct 1996 22:42:26 -0500
>Dear Corrine,
>       We of the First Resident Group of EcoVillage at Ithaca, who are
>having the first four of 30 households move in this coming week, are in
>the midst of working out our own pet agreements---and are finding a lot of
>emotional stuff coming up, also.

<the rest of Monty's note snipped>

Egad! You mean people get this far along before discussing the issue of
pets? I suppose to some pets are a superfluous detail, but people like me
and my partner have pets who are important parts of their lives (we are in
fact planning to adopt a second greyhound when we buy our new home, whether
cohousing or not).

I'm interested in what kinds of agreements you're finding need to be worked
out. Is it disagreement on general principles such as "leash and clean up
after your dog"? Or are people expressing vague prejudices against pets due
to prior experiences with ill-mannered animals?

My instinct is to give the pets and their owners the benefit of the doubt
and only restrict those who, in the course of living in the community,
cause trouble. This will benefit folks with well-behaved pets by decreasing
arbitrary restrictions against the entire class of "dogs" or "cats" or
"iguanas" and keep it obvious who the offendors are. If Mr. Smith's dog is
chewing up your rose bush, you need to talk to Mr. Smith, not restrict all

Thanks for bringing this up on the list -- I think I will start bringing
Blaze ( to meetings early on to make it clear that
she is part of my family and not a negotiable afterthought.


Rik Ahlberg
who lives in Jamaica Plain, MA
and is just getting involved with
the JP Cohousing Network (

Rik Ahlberg rik [at]

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