Article Courtesy of The Sum Sentinel

By Tessa Metayer

Published July 29, 2010


Pet owners across South Florida often face difficulty when moving. Many apartment com­plexes and condo associa­tions either charge residents a fee to have a pet or prohibit pets altogether.


Maida Genser faced just such a predicament in 2004 when she purchased a home in Tamarac only to later discover that her two cats were not allowed on the property.


While she was fighting with her condo association, Genser decided to “go beyond my own situation [and] actually do something" on behalf of other pet owners. She created Citizens for Pets in Condos, a nonprofit organization that fights for residents who want the right to have pets. The group also offers legal in­formation and links to research into the health benefits of having pets.


"How un-American is it to not be allowed to have a pet? Almost 65% percent of all U.S. households have at least one companion animal," Genser said.


In addition to creating a website -- www.petsincondos.org -- Genser has attended condo associa­tion and town hall gather­ings and "pushed myself to talk at these meetings about this," she said. In 2006, she and local supporter David Shapiro began gathering signatures for a petition aimed at influencing legislation. The following year she joined forces with Cyber Citizens for Justice, an advocacy organization that works ­on behalf of condo owners.


"She is doing an excellent job. She is trying to convince people about what's right and wrong with education," said Jan Bergemann, president of Cyber Citizens for Justice. "What we have in common is owners’ rights.


Many people move to these associations with no clue what they're dealing with.".

As more condo owners join the cause, Genser and her board members say they will be even more diligent in their fight."


Our signature count now stands around 30,000. We are well-positioned to take the next step to expand our efforts,” she said. Our challenge is to find ways to reach more people and quadruple our [petition] signature count, not just in South Florida , but across the whole state.”


Genser continues to network and has joined forces with other organizations, such as Pet Friendly Agent, the Pet Chamber of Commerce and Village Pet Pals. Citizens for Pets in Condos is pushing to get a bill passed that would allow pets in an association if approved by a simple majority vote of owners.

To learn more about Citizens for Pets in Condos, visit www.petsincondos.org or call 954-366-4555.

To learn more about Cyber Citizens for Justice, visit www.ccfj.net.