FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, September 27, 2017
CONTACT: Matthew Creegan, 212-863-7879 (HPD)
HPD COMMISSIONER AND MANHATTAN BOROUGH PRESIDENT CELEBRATE 25,000 CANINE UNIT INSPECTIONS
HPD’s Canine Unit has attempted 25,000 inspections assisting the Code Enforcement Inspectors to investigate bed bug reports of possible residential infestations around New York City
NEW YORK, NY – The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer commemorate the sixth anniversary of HPD’s Canine Unit. Mickey and Nemo, two bed bug detecting beagles, provide a special service for the inspection of possible bed bug infestations around the city. Mickey and Nemo have attempted approximately 25,000 inspections that have resulted in the issuance of nearly 9,500 violations.
A team of three specially trained Code Enforcement Inspectors work with Mickey and Nemo every day, visually confirming the findings of their canine partners and ensuring that they work in safe conditions. Handler training included, but was not limited to, identifying all stages of bedbug maturation and infestation, search techniques, working with canines and canine care. The dogs were trained at an accredited facility and will alert Inspectors by sitting when they detect live bedbugs or viable eggs.
“Over the past six years, HPD’s canine unit has provided comfort for New Yorkers by assisting Inspectors in thousands of investigations that are helping residents live in cleaner homes,” said Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer. “I want to thank our Code Enforcement team and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer for safeguarding public health and sharing HPD’s mission in assisting our city’s tenants.”
“With up to 50 times more smell receptors than we have and 40 times more brain power dedicated to smell, dogs can sniff out everything from contraband, to cancer, to bed bugs,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “Canines in public service and the wonderful men and women who train and work with them all deserve our recognition, so it’s my pleasure to join Commissioner Torres-Springer to salute Mickey and Nemo today.”
Property owners are required by New York State law to report bed bug infestation history dating back one year to new tenants. Local Law 69 of 2017, which will go into effect on November 6, 2017, requires all property owners attempt to obtain the bedbug infestation history of each unit, and from December 2018 on, owners will be required to report information annually for each unit’s bed bug infestation history to HPD, and provide additional information to tenants.
The Canine Unit will attempt to investigate bedbug complaints made to 311 where the tenant would like to have the inspection performed by a dog, which is about 50 percent of all complaints received. HPD’s Canine Unit conducts bed bug inspections in residential buildings, including single room occupancy (SRO) buildings and hotels. To report bed bugs in businesses, nonprofit organizations, or child care facilities, you should contact the manager or owner of the facility.
Private homeowners are encouraged to hire a pest control professional licensed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to evaluate the pest problem and to exterminate if necessary. Licensed exterminators should always provide proof of their license upon request.
The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) is the nation’s largest municipal housing preservation and development agency. Its mission is to promote quality housing and diverse, thriving neighborhoods for New Yorkers through loan and development programs for new affordable housing, preservation of the affordability of the existing housing stock, enforcement of housing quality standards, and educational programs for tenants and building owners. HPD is tasked with fulfilling Mayor de Blasio’s Housing New York: A Five-Borough Ten-Year Plan to create and preserve 200,000 affordable units for New Yorkers at the very lowest incomes to those in the middle class. For more information visit www.nyc.gov/hpd and for regular updates on HPD news and services, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @NYCHousing.