City Councilman Jose M. Serrano

Democratic Candidate for State Senate
28th Senate District -- West and South Bronx, East Harlem, Yorkville and Roosevelt Island

Elected twice to the City Council from the South Bronx, Jose M. Serrano is running for a State Senate seat that includes parts of the Bronx and Manhattan. As a City Councilman, he is a co-sponsor of Intro. 189, the pets-in-housing bill that will restore tenants' rights to keep pets in their apartments.

As a Senate candidate, he has pledged to support two pieces of legislation that AFNYC feels are essential to securing the homes of New Yorkers with pets:
  • Housing for senior citizens with pets.
    S810 would protect people 62 years or older from being denied housing in, or evicted from, a multiple dwelling on the sole ground that they keep a common companion animal such as a cat or dog.

  • Fair insurance for homeowners with dogs.
    S3888 prohibits insurance companies from discriminating against homeowners with certain breeds of dogs.
Councilman Serrano feels strongly about protecting the rights of tenants with companion animals. "It's a respect issue," he says, noting that guardians of companion animals are being unfairly singled out for discrimination in housing. Pets add to a person's overall well being, he notes, and he is committed to making it easier for senior citizens with pets to find and keep apartments.

He has personal experience with the difficulty pet owners face when looking for housing, having had to add a rider to his own coop lease to allow his dog Benji - who lived to be 17 - to live with him. "It shouldn't be that way," he says.

"Protecting the rights of tenants with pets is a respect issue. Whether it's finding or keeping affordable housing or getting homeowners insurance, they should not be discriminated against because a well-behaved animal is part of their family."

- City Councilman Jose M. Serrano

Mr. Serrano is also sensitive to other issues animal advocates in the city grapple with - particularly the rescue of homeless animals and the discrimination faced by certain breeds of dogs with bad reputations. "The breed isn't the problem," he says. "How a dog behaves is the responsibility of the owner."

More than once he's taken a homeless dog off the streets in his Bronx neighborhood, and when he found an orphaned baby bird, he went on an Internet search to find help, eventually taking the baby bird to a wildlife rehabilitator in New Rochelle.

Mr. Serrano believes government leadership is essential to addressing community issues. Before entering the City Council, he worked with arts groups and saw first hand how private efforts flourish when elected officials give them the crucial support that only government resources can marshal. He understands that, like the arts community, the community of animal advocates mounts enormous private efforts that are enhanced - to the betterment of the entire city - when elected officials offer their help.

For more information on Councilman Serrano, go to

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