Apartment complexes should not allow residents to own dogs


Thomas Dunlap, Opinions Columnist

Dogs are a hot commodity among college students and are frequently treated with irresponsibility and neglect. The average college student is far too busy juggling work, class and a social life to adequately care for an animal requiring as much attention as a canine.

The reality is students’ schedules are too booked for the burden following dogs, and typical cramped living arrangements are often inappropriate for a large animal’s needs. These issues are widespread among college-aged dog owners and can unfortunately create an inhumane and unhealthy lifestyle for supposedly “beloved” pets. Due to this persisting prevalence, student living apartments should no longer allow residents dog ownership on the property.

It should not come as a surprise to anyone that owning a dog mandates rigorous commitment, time and money. Students often struggle with the barrage of new responsibilities college brings, and dog owners are no exception.

Between classwork, homework and dog maintenance, animals could spend most of their waking hours locked inside a kennel or small room. When the owner returns home from their day-to-day tasks, they may be too tired or preoccupied to provide their pet with the necessary physical activity to satisfy its needs. Dogs are oftentimes forced to exert their excess energy within the confines of a restricted apartment.

The only outside experiences some dogs may have are brief bathroom excursions to a depressing patches of grass near the apartment complex. These “bark parks” are overflowing with poorly disposed dog excrement. While clearly identified waste baskets are provided—which are reserved for this sole purpose and are commonplace throughout apartments in San Marcos—majority of dog owners refuse to use them or ignore their presence altogether.

Irresponsible behavior reflects poorly on the owner, leading to an uncomfortable and unhealthy lifestyle for any dog. The daily college student schedule can create a neglectful environment insufficient for the healthy growth of animals, especially larger dogs requiring more attention, exercise and space.

Even complex property managers are wary of allowing students to have dogs.

Shaylene Scarlett, The Timbers housing property manager, said how she does not think life in student housing is very fair for most dogs, as they typically do not get the proper attention or activity needed on a day-to-day basis.

Scarlett explained her position on the subject wavered depending on dog size as well as weight and age of the dog owner. She said undergraduates are rarely capable of providing an adequate living arrangement for a dog. Such students are moving off campus for the first time and learning how to take care of themselves, so providing attention for another creature can be difficult and unmanageable.

While there is nothing inherently wrong with a college student owning and living with an animal, the unfortunate truth is most college students are either too irresponsible or too ill-prepared to provide a dog with an adequate and healthy living situation. This is why—for the well being of all larger scale animals—apartment complexes should no longer allow students to keep an animal on the property.

Thomas Dunlap is a journalism junior

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