PRIMARY SOURCE WORKSHEET
Title of Chosen Source:
“Best Friends for Tenants’ Pets”
Type of Source (newspaper article, speech, letter, etc.):
New York Times Article
January 1, 1989
Author (explain who or what the author is):
Intended Audience (if you don’t not know, make an educated guess):
Residents of New Jersey (city-dwellers specifically)
Historical Context (use Google or Wikipedia to learn about the time period, place, or people mentioned in your source):
The bill they are talking about in the article is unclear, although as of 2003 it seems there is a ratified law on the books in NJ that allows senior citizens that rent in public housing projects to have pets (N.J.S.A. 2A:42-103). This law was passed in 1990, one year after the article was written and 15 years after the first similar bill was introduced in the legislature (according to the article’s author). The legislature refined and amended the laws two times up until 2003, when the most recent edit removed several provisions.
Summarize the Source (explain the content in a few sentences):
The author of the article interviews a man named Conrad Wolfson, a man recently forced to move out of his apartment of 29 years because the building decided to no longer allow his mix-breed dog. Instead of giving up his beloved pet, Dune, Mr. Wolfson made the difficult decision to move to the closest pet-friendly rental he could find in Jersey City where he has teamed up with Newark animal rights activist Isabella Troupiansky. Together they have been lobbying in support of a bill in the NJ State Legislature that would allow tenants to keep their pets in situations similar to Mr. Wolfson’s. The bill, which has been presented to the Senate for the past 10 years, has changed drastically from its original intention and in its current form would only protect current pets housed with tenants. In addition, it would allow landlords to charge up to a $150 pet deposit to protect against damages. While many have voiced concerns for a stronger bill, the struggle to protect landlord rights and tenant rights simultaneously hangs in the balance. Nevertheless, Mr. Wolfson and his cohorts believe the therapeutic, family-oriented purpose of pets to be their driving force.
Argument From Source (explain what the source suggests about the historical moment or time period in which it was created):
The source suggests that struggles over pet-friendly housing was not unique to Mr. Wolfson and that it has been an issue before the state government for over a decade. The author primarily interviews those on the tenant-pet side of the argument, but attempts to present an unbiased standpoint on the issue.
Supporting Evidence (identify specific quotes, language, or references from the source that supports your argument above):
- Interview with Senator Jackman (in favor of tenant-pet bill): “There have been many instances where the relationship between people and their pets has proved therapeutic.”
- Interview with Nina Austenberg (regional director for the Humane Society): “People experience trauma when forced to get rid of their pets.”
- Interview with Patrick O’Keefe (Vice President of the NJ Builders’ Association): “What about tenants who are allergic to animals or who fear them for other reasons? Have they no rights?”
- History of the NJ legislature bill from it’s inception in 1975 to now (1989)
- Stories of Mr. Wolfson and Mrs. Troupiansky and their pet-friendly housing struggles.
By MARIAN, COURTNEY JERSEY C. “Best Friends for Tenants’ Pets.” New York Times (1923-Current file), 1989, pp. 1. ProQuest, https://login.proxy.libraries.rutgers.edu/login?url= ?url=https://www-proquest-com.proxy.libraries.rutgers.edu/historical-newspapers/best-friends-tenants-pets/docview/110246664/se-2?accountid=13626.