It may sound like a bad April Fools joke, but this is no laughing matter for pet sitters and their clients living in the Big Apple. The New York City Department of Health has pet sitters fuming as it threatens to crack down on the profession, which is illegal under current codes.
Article 161 of the NYC health code states that no one may accept money to provide care for any animal (including boarding, feeding, and grooming) unless they first secure a kennel license—and kennel licenses are not available to individuals planning to care for animals in private homes.
Pet sitting has been conducted as a business in NYC for many years, so it’s natural to wonder why this has suddenly become an enforcement issue. The answer is that the popular pet sitting app Rover.com drew the attention of city regulators (just as Uber and Airbnb sparked recent legal issues in the city). The health department sent a letter to Rover warning it that users were in violation of this law, and asked the app to have pet sitters verify that they had kennel licenses before offering any services in the city. To date Rover has not required this of its users and is lobbying to have the law overturned.
This is certainly an issue for pet sitters to watch, and we’ll keep you posted.