CAMP ZAMA, Japan – The Housing Office here is currently looking to form a committee to gather resident input on a new policy that may allow pets in the housing towers.
“We want everybody to have an active role in [the policy] and try to make it their own,” said Jesus Chavarria, the housing division chief.
The two high-rise apartment-style complexes here only permit cats on the first floor, while residents in single-family homes and townhomes can have up to two pets, including cats and dogs, with some breed restrictions set by the Japanese government.
An updated policy, which housing officials plan to publish this spring using resident feedback and pet-related rules found in other documents, may help ease the transition for incoming pet owners.
While still in its early stages, Chavarria said the policy will likely grant tower residents the option to have at least a small pet.
“We’re trying to aim for the right size,” he said. “For apartment living, I don’t know if we would want a 100-pound dog sitting in there and barking and creating a lot of noise.”
There will be other issues to consider as well, he said, such as space for designated pet relief areas.
Col. Marcus Hunter, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Japan, introduced the possibility of changes to the policy during a housing town hall in September.
While he said the garrison tries to accommodate several different things for residents, he noted that a new pet policy would require community involvement for it to work.
“The option to have pets in the towers is being relooked,” Hunter said at the meeting. “Every family comes with its unique situations, and … pets are [often] a big part of that.”
Chavarria said his office needs to listen to the community on this topic, since a pet is something that family members become attached to and can provide them comfort during stressful times.
“A pet is part of the family,” he said. “[It] helps pull you through grief or it's your friend when you're away from home.”
Chavarria said a committee of at least 10 residents from both towers, with a mix of people who are pet lovers or not, could help guide the draft policy in the right direction.
“I want everyone to have a comfortable home,” he said. “The more the volunteers we have to help out with that would be great.”
(Editor’s Note: Tower residents who are interested in serving on the committee to discuss changes to the pet policy can contact Chavarria at DSN: 263-3441 or 046-407-3441.)