How about that: A New York City law that makes dog sitting illegal without a kennel License

If you are a pet sitter in New York City, you’ve probably seen the headlines:

And if you’re like Cheryl S., a retired teacher in Brooklyn who supplements her income by pet sitting in her neighborhood, you’ll probably have been alarmed at reading such news.  In fact Cheryl got so worried that her part time job was being targeted, she actually contacted us directly to get our opinion. Wrote Cheryl:

I hope you can help. I have an ad in your site for my dog sitting part time job, but I am worried about this new law.

So first the good news:Hiring someone to come to your own home to pet sit  your animals is not illegal.

The NYC Department of Health does not issue licenses to private homes. Since Cheryl offers her pet-sitting services in people’s homes, this means that such an arrangement does not infringe on any law.

Pet boarding as a favor to a friend is unlikely to get you in trouble either. And it’s perfectly legal to hire a dog-walker to walk your dog as well.

Commercial Boarding for Animals in Homes Is Illegal

That is according to Julien A. Martinez talking about this issue to the Huffington Post. Indeed, the new Health Code does makes it illegal to run a commercial boarding facility without a license and here’s where the law gets confusing:

According to a New York City health code, it is illegal to accept money for boarding, feeding and grooming animals without a kennel license and such a license cannot be squired for a residence.

Outrageous as this may sound, there are other laws regulating the pet industry in many cities and towns. For example, in one particular city:

  • Commercial dog walkers cannot use public land
  • Dog walkers can not have 3 or more dogs on their premises without a license
  • Pet professional cannot acquire a kennel license it their place of business is within 500 ft from a residential area.


Pet Sitting in New York

App or no app?

If you use an app like Rover or DogVacay, the law put in place by the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene might, you might actually be participating in this new and crazy new ordinance.

The good news is that Rover is attempting to fight the code after they received notices that some of their members were breaking the law.

It is fair to say that this new law has caused more than its’ fair share of controversies and we hope that common sense will prevail. In cities such as New York, these megalopolis of modern time, pet-sitting is very much sought after. Whatever the outcome, or new interpretation of this new law might be, it is crucial for all pet-sitters to have a business license, to be insured and thus show to their prospective employers that their are committed to providing the very best service.