By Lisa Kava
Dogs are barking, people are yelling and neighbors are complaining in an ongoing battle between residents and SPOT Canine Club, a doggy daycare facility that leases space on the first floor of 105 West 72nd Street.
The situation has become heated over the past few weeks since the dog care center began a renovation project. Prior to the renovation, neighbors had complained about excessive barking in the courtyard. But those complaints have accelerated since the renovation started, because the dogs have been relocated outside in a courtyard.
The residents of 105 West 72nd Street say they are fed up. “Essentially we are living over a dog farm” one said. “We hear dogs barking and howling all of the time, it is just unbelievable. I don’t even know how to describe it. This is like a dog hotel.”
A nearby resident sent the video below of the courtyard where the dogs have been.
The resident of 105 West 72nd, who lives on a low floor facing the courtyard, told West Side Rag that the problem has been ongoing for years, but has gotten much worse in recent weeks. He said he believes there are 50 or more dogs in the courtyard for about 12 hours each day. “We have called 311 many times. They give a complaint number and then they do not follow up. We have complained to the store staff and manager. Nothing helps,” said the resident. “There is always yelling and screaming at the poor creatures attempting to keep them under control.”
Nichole Patterson, the General Manager of SPOT Canine Club, told West Side Rag that only 12-15 dogs are rotated outside at once during a regular day and that during the flooring renovation part of the construction project there had been a maximum of 40 dogs kept outside. She did not respond to questions about whether employees are yelling at the dogs.
There is some confusion as to whether the renovation is now complete. West Side Rag called SPOT Canine Club and was told by the employee who answered the phone that the construction had ended as of Friday May 25th. But Patterson told us the renovation is ongoing. “We are aware of the noise complaints of the residents in surrounding buildings,” she said. “Construction to improve the facility began this month and largely focused on the flooring which would prove hazardous for the dogs. As a result, we had to move regular daycare activities outdoors and under tents which has increased the number of dogs in the outdoor space at one time. To attempt to minimize the noise, we significantly reduced the number of daily dogs we had in daycare and we have been in contact with the buildings Board and Superintendent. Construction on the flooring is complete and dogs have resumed their regular outdoor schedule in smaller groups between 9 am 5 pm. We understand that barking is inconvenient and apologize to residents. Dogs are always supervised and our trained handlers actively discourage barking.”
Patterson said the facility will be transitioning to AKC Canine Retreat at the end of the summer.
Residents of other buildings in the neighborhood also said they have found the situation upsetting. Matt Paiton, a freelancer who works from home and lives on West 73rd Street facing South to the courtyard has found the barking a nuisance but said he is also particularly concerned about the welfare of the dogs. “While I haven’t seen anything, I have heard the staff shouting very aggressively at the dogs, on at least one occasion shouting “bad dog” at the pets at the top of their voices.” Paiton has filed two 311 complaints within the past few weeks.
He posted the video below on Twitter.
@joshuastine Hoping you can help, Josh. Lived behind the W 72nd location for 2 yrs but something has changed in past few weeks – we now have barking dogs all day in yard with staff *screaming* at them. 14 complaints to 311 and the Google reviews showing neighbors are pissed. pic.twitter.com/p2eWaKip5F
— Matt Paiton (@mpaiton) May 30, 2018
Other neighbors have complained about the noise and left negative reviews on Google.
Anya Stiglitz, who owns an apartment which faces North towards the courtyard at 105 West 72nd is currently renting it out. Stiglitz recently received a note from her tenant saying “They usually have around 50 dogs outside and the barking is absolutely incessant right outside my line. I have already placed a 311 complaint but it did not help. I work from home and am having to apologize to everyone I speak with on the phone, it’s that loud. Sadly I am going to start looking at other options this weekend for when my lease is up at the end of July.”
West Side Rag asked Patterson if we could take a look at the facility specifically asking to see the outdoor courtyard. Patterson denied this request: “due to ongoing renovations, we have postponed all tours of the facility for the next two weeks.” She offered the opportunity to view the 57th Street location instead. Residents of the building sent us the following photos of the courtyard with tents where the dogs are kept.
“The noise from the barking became impossible when the renovation began,” said another resident of 105 West 72nd Street. Board members of that building met with SPOT management in March. “We were surprised that so many dogs can be kept in a residential building and yard but they told us the zoning is OK.”