Espinal Advocates for DogSpots on City Streets


It’s not easy to be a dog owner in New York City, no bones about it. In addition to the city’s small apartments and crowded outdoor space, there are currently few options for owners to secure their dogs outside when necessary that are viable, legal, and safe.

City Councilman Rafael Espinal Jr.

At this morning’s City Council Department of Transportation Committee hearing, City Council and Committee member Rafael Espinal (D-Bushwick, East New York, Crown Heights, Brownsville, Cypress Hills, Bedford-Stuyvesant), indicated his desire to change that problem — voicing his support for Introduction 886 — a bill that would allow for the development of pet harbors on New York City sidewalks.

A number of local business owners and dog owners came to city hall in support of the bill, including head employees at DogSpot, the only company in the United States which manufactures such pet harbors that the city would use if the bill passes.

DogSpot is an air-conditioned, self-sanitizing dog house that sits in front of stores so dogs have a safe and clean place to wait for their owners. This allows people to include their dog on more adventures, and allows more people to visit local stores and restaurants while they are out and about.

Winston, the dog, with Todd Schechter, the Chief Operating Officer of DogSpot. Photo by Michael Rock

“Our pet harbors provide dog owners an alternative to tying up a dog outside, which is unsafe, or leaving their dog in a car in extreme heat or cold, which is also very dangerous,” said Rebecca Eyre, DogSpot’s Director of Communications. “Our’s is the only one with Internet and air conditioning, heated floors, and a hospital-grade UVC light to sanitize the house between each use. A `puppy cam’ on our app lets you keep an eye on your dog,” she told Kings County Politics.

Eyre also indicated that DogSpot’s products provided broader economic opportunity as well.  “It provides businesses encumbered by health codes that can’t let dogs inside a way to serve dog-owning customers,” she said. “Fifty-seven percent of businesses can’t let dogs inside. If you pass with a dog, you can’t go in for health code reasons.

Espinal agreed, telling this reporter that the city recently ordered the removal of existing dog harbors. “Why does the Department of Transportation feel pet harbors are any different from any other coin machine?” he asked rhetorically. “Why are we closed to new businesses and technology?”

He also expressed why he felt it was important for the city to partner with DogStop. “As a proponent of small businesses and start-ups, it is important that we support them and let them grow. It’s a woman-led Brooklyn company that provides jobs to New Yorkers,” Espinal explained. “The service they provide is also an asset to dog owners citywide, and pet-owners can drop off dogs and patronize small businesses in their communities.”

Those most directly impacted by Introduction 886 are excited as well. When this reporter asked Winston, a terrier-mix rescue who came to City Hall with his owner in support, about DogSpot, he barked approvingly, suggesting that the harbors are exactly the comfortable, clean, safe, and convenient units dogs need when their owners go shopping or dining with them.

“Woof aruff woof woof,” said Winston. “Bow wow aroooooo!”