Our friend Edd has two pampered Shih Tzus, Anton and Kiko, both eight years old. We kid him that they are high-maintenance because they have a full-time yaya to clean up after them, they have a bath twice a week, and they get sent to the vet every month for grooming and to have their butts vacuumed. (“Dogs have their butts vacuumed?” laugh our cats, all ex-pusakal.) In short, they have better hygiene and grooming than most people.
Three years ago, Edd and his dogs moved into a unit in the Greenbelt Chancellor, a Megaworld building in Legaspi Village, Makati. Things were fine until August 3 of this year, when Edd got a call from the receptionist saying there had been a complaint from his neighbor about the “foul smell of dogs”. The neighbor who made the complaint was not identified.
Edd did not detect any bad smells emanating from the dogs. Like us, he has sinusitis and is especially sensitive to odors. But he took the neighbor’s complaint seriously, and the very next day he send the two dogs to the vet to have them shaved for easier grooming. He had his condominium unit cleaned and scrubbed thoroughly. He installed aromatherapy whatnots so his house smells like a spa. He had the dogs bathed every other day, and restricted them to the kitchen.
Last August 22, the building administration sent him a strongly-worded letter citing “numerous and repeated complaints from the other residents…about the foul smell of your dogs.” None of the neighbors had said anything to Edd. The letter went on to say “(his) attention was called about the matter on several occasions by the security personnel but (he) ignored and continue to ignore the problem.” None of the security or maintenance staff had said anything to Edd.
Now here is the part that caused our hackles to rise. “House Rules 9.7 gives the Board…the discretion to prohibit the retention in any unit of any pet which is found to be a nuisance to other residents or kept in inhumane conditions. Therefore we hereby request you to…clean your dogs properly and immediately, otherwise…(the building association) will report the matter to the animal welfare authorities without further warnings.”
Are they suggesting that our friend is maltreating his dogs by keeping them in filth? (Thus implying that we would have anything to do with someone who is abusive towards animals.) How dare they threaten to notify “animal welfare authorities” when Edd takes excellent care of his canine companions.
If anyone’s rights are being violated, it is the Shih Tzus. Their movements are now restricted to a small space, and they get bathed more often than they need, which would dry their skin. It really ticks us off when “animal welfare” is invoked when clearly, the building doesn’t care about the state of the animals. No one has even looked in on them! They just assume the stink is their fault!
Incidentally, Edd has done pro-bono advocacy work for animal welfare, such as the Homeless, Not Worthless campaign which we covered extensively here.
As for this “foul smell” the Greenbelt Chancellor administration keeps alluding to, we went to the building to sniff it out, literally, and found nothing that can be blamed on the dogs and their devoted owner. We did notice a residual odor in the hallway that we recognize from having lived in apartment buildings for many years. It is the smell of a space with no ventilation, where the residents put their garbage out in the hallway. There are no garbage chutes.
Just three weeks ago, residents had received a memo from the building administration reminding them not to put their garbage out in the hallways. Apparently, when the building was new, residents put their trash out every morning for the maintenance staff to collect. The garbage collection policy has been changed since then, but some residents still put their trash out when the janitors don’t knock on their doors to pick it up. And you know what happens when garbage is left in a space with no ventilation.
The appalling thing is that the humans concerned have not had an actual conversation, the building administration just blames the dogs automatically. Will someone use their head and inspect the dogs before they assume that they’re the cause of the stink?