No-pets rule keeps some seniors out of housing
When advocates for Aspen’s senior housing project meet with the local housing board this week, among the topics of discussion will be one that is near and dear to the hearts of many senior citizens – their pets.
It seems that three local senior citizens have decided not to bother applying for apartments at the new Aspen Country Inn senior housing project because they have aging pets that they do not want to part with.
“It’s not been a big item,” said senior housing advocate Ramona Markalunas on Friday, “but we have had three people not come in because of their pets.”
Housing Director Mary Roberts said she was not aware of any complaints or holdouts because of the “no pets” rule, and explained that the rule applies to all rental units in the Housing Authority’s inventory, except in cases in which the dog is needed for disability reasons, such as a seeing-eye dog for the blind.
“We don’t allow pets in any of our rental projects,” she said. “I’m not sure we should have special rules for seniors or any other segment of the population. As a property manager, we really have to maintain our properties over time for the community.”
She said it is up to the housing board to decide whether the policy can be amended for the senior citizens.
And on Wednesday at 5 p.m., that is exactly what the board will be presented with – a request to change the rules for the Aspen Country Inn, Markalunas said.
“We want to discuss it again, in light of the fact that there aren’t that many,” she said, adding that “some of these dogs are seniors themselves.
“These people are seniors, and seniors love their pets like their grandchildren,” she continued. “Their animals are very important to them,” and are both well trained and well cared for.
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Mario Ruiz came to Aspen Highlands from Bariloche through the ski patrol exchange as part of the Sister Cities program last winter. He quickly ingrained himself with the Highlands patrol. Ruiz was killed July 27 in an avalanche while working at his home ski area. The Highlands patrol is raising funds for his family.