New City residents with pets recently discovered the CBRE management is not one of the pet-friendly apartments in Ho Chi Minh after its security guards harassed them. Here we have an excerpt of the post of one of the residents, which came after they had enough of the condo’s unjust regulations against their living conditions.
New City Residents!
Do you want a new tennis court? Do you want a bigger & better BBQ area? Do you want more shops and stores to open up around us? Do you want to be able to do more shopping and activities closer to home? Do you want a happy, healthy, active, and family-friendly environment to raise your kids in? Sorry. Not going to happen.
Not in New City, it won’t.
They’re just like any other typical family living in a condo. They’re responsible, that’s for sure.
“My family and I pay our rent on time. We pay all our bills. But we are not paying the management fee so they could harass my family.”
In an ideal world, there shouldn’t be any issues. There’s only one problem, however: They brought their mixed beagle along with them to Vietnam.
Generally, living with your pets in Vietnam, particularly in Ho Chi Minh, shouldn’t be a big problem. Vietnam does indeed have a few regulations when it comes to importing and exporting pets that every expat should be aware of.
It shouldn’t be a problem as long as you research and prepare beforehand. Despite this, there are several cases of pet stealing in Vietnam. Pet stealing happens either for ransom or for eating (yup, you read that right).
Moreover, there are many residential places in Ho Chi Minh alone that either have stringent pet regulations or do not allow pets at all. Even worse, a lot of real estate agents would lie to you about pet regulations in the building. In some cases, they’ll force you to terminate your contract and you won’t get your deposit back. For pet owners everywhere, this might seem like a nightmare, especially if you’re foreigners moving to Ho Chi Minh.
This expat family took all of that into consideration. Even so, their loving dog would become an abused dog and be the cause of the harassment their family endured throughout their stay there.
For starters, New City isn’t the best-equipped residential place in the city. The management told them that further improvements and better amenities would not be possible until they raise enough budget. But what irks K and her husband was that the condo had enough money to shell out on excessive guards they don’t even need.
“Today, they paid 12–15+ guards to spend 4–5 hours following & harassing a happy, healthy, active, and friendly family who doesn’t bother anyone,” according to K. The purpose was clear: to drive them away from the condo because they kept a pet dog.
But their pet wasn’t doing any resident harm at all. This issue goes way beyond simple condo regulations. Instead, it begs us to look deeper into how we view animals and how this shapes the way our culture and our laws. K’s family is not the only family to experience this kind of harassment. We should all take a look at the unjust treatment of families in connection with pet ownership.
CBRE Management in New City
Here’s K’s personal story on their experience living in New City:
“So we set up an appointment with an agent to look for an apartment in New City. We know that there will be a language barrier so we made sure to bring our dog with us. If the building allows pets, they would allow us to go inside with our dog.
And they did.
Our agent even brought his two puppies with him while we were checking the unit. Everything looks great.
We signed the contract the day after we checked the apartment and we moved.
It was great. We love the apartment. We love the park. Everything you need is walking distance. It was a perfect little set up for our family until…
We received a letter from CBRE management asking residents with pets to remove their pets by June 30th. We got the letter around June 25th. This management expected us to remove a member of our family in such a short notice. How do they expect us to do that?
If you had a child and somebody asked you that you can’t be with your child anymore, how would you react?
We ignored them. We paid three months advance for this apartment. If they want us to remove our abused dog, they should also ask the 100+ families who have pets in their home in this building.
A day after they sent out the letter, the guards confronted some of the pet owners. The guards were so violent to the point of grabbing a woman by the throat, preventing her to come to her OWN HOME.
More than 15 guards stopped us on our way back on June 28th. They pushed me down the stairs along with my 6-month-old baby. We almost fell all the way down. I wasn’t even holding a dog. Their letter said June 30th, and they were already harassing us on the 28th. My husband was so mad. I was so mad. They almost hurt our baby.
CBRE management can’t treat people like that. We are paying customers and we never did anything wrong. They can’t just harass people who are ACTUALLY PAYING FOR THEIR SALARIES. We could be talking like civilized people instead of harassing residents in their OWN HOMES.”
Many more dog lovers in Ho Chi Minh City have the same grievance against other establishments purporting to be “pet-friendly apartments.”
“CBRE in The Park residence has been caught by killing a dog and throwing it into the swimming pool. They tried to use that as a story how somebody’s dog jumped out of the balcony and now they need to ban dogs and everybody needs to get rid of theirs. I’m amazed how nobody at the international level inside CBRE cares about how their image is being tainted in here. There’s a mile long list of other stuff that happens in The Park residency but this was the worst during my stay. It’s been like that every day and continues to be like that. CBRE is also breaking Vietnams core laws by setting up “public meeting limitations” with fines of 500k++ in order to get rid of pet owners and all that.”
“When I moved to Vinhomes Central Park last year, the agent, management and landlord said I could have a dog. I lived there for 6 months and always saw tenants with dogs. The day I got my dog (Bubba), I got a knock on my door. A group of security stood there with the building manager and told me I had 3 days to get rid of him or else they would seize my motorcycles, turn off my electricity and my water, etc.. When I tried to reason with them, they actually laughed suggested that I kill my dog!! The next day, I packed everything, took my Bubba and left. Fuck Vinhomes!”— B. M.
“My parents moved into a new apartment building in D3 more than 2 years ago and there’s no building rules that say anything about pets (neither allowed/banned). But I’ve been bringing my dog to visit my parents there a few times without anybody saying anything to me and I know of residents there living with dogs since day 1. But one day another resident (obviously dog hater) secretly took a photo of me with my dog (without ever approaching me), sent it via Zalo to a guy in management telling him to track me down and get rid of my dog. My mother was in that Zalo group so she claimed the dog is hers and silenced that resident. But till now there’s still no word from management abt pet issue.”— P. X. T.
“My family and my Golden Retriever got harassed in Hung Vung 2 too. The neighbours sent us notes, threatened us, turned off our electricity CB when we were at work, leaving my dog with no lights and aircons, poured acid into my motorbike etc… We then moved because they might have even harmed my dog, and there’s no law to protect animals whatsoever.”— N. T.
The Ugly Truth About “Pet-Friendly Apartments” in Ho Chi Minh City
In 2017, a series of cat and abused dog poisonings took place in one of Ho Chi Minh’s most popular neighborhoods for expats.
One pet owner whose dog died of poisoning posted his emotional plea on Facebook groups for expats based there. Soon after, several other expats raised cases of their pets being poisoned even within the confines of their homes. They held a protest demanding the local government to investigate the series of pet murders, but they never found the suspect(s).
This case is a lot more severe than what K and her family experienced, but both issues are interlinked much more than we care to admit. Don’t get us wrong: we’re not painting Vietnam as an anti-pet country altogether. It, however, does have strict pet policies which are maliciously used by some people to harass pet owners and travelers with pets alike.
The abused dog poisoning incident isn’t the only pressing issue here. Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh included, still eats dog meat to this date. That’s another issue for another time, but it says a lot about how the Vietnamese “pet-friendly apartments” treat dogs and other pets.
This culture inevitably affects Vietnamese laws about pets that you wouldn’t even see stray dogs in Vietnam. The situation of abused dogs in “pet-friendly apartments” is so bad that a lot of people also suggest against bringing or owning a pet in Ho Chi Minh.
As it turns out, some imported pets need quarantine. People say that pets may or may not survive this period. If they don’t die during quarantine, then they are most likely to get lost or contract diseases from other pets. Should your pet survive, then you should also expect some more hidden costs so you can bring your pet home with you.
The problem does not stop after accomplishing your pet’s permits and requirements. Even when you do get to bring your pet, you still face dangers wherever you go. Roadkill are common near “pet-friendly apartments” in Vietnam, given that most are ran over by motorcycles. Dog stealing is also rampant since kidnapped dogs almost always end up as meals come dinner time.
This hassle is why Ho Chi Minh is not commonly known as a pet-friendly place. Travelers and people moving to Vietnam have to deal with landlords who do not accept pets. You will suffer a great deal if you and your landlord do not entirely agree about your pet. Like K’s family, you may also get harassed out of your home. Therefore, you need to be equipped in dealing with these issues if you are committed to keeping your pet.
Pets in Ho Chi Minh
On the bright side, Ho Chi Minh is starting to create pet-friendly apartments to solve the issue of abused pets. Two decades ago, most families in Vietnam kept pets for practical purposes only. Dogs were responsible for security, and cats were for pest-control. Nowadays, an increasing number of families are becoming more accepting of the idea of keeping a pet for company.
Even so, there is still a handful of traditionalists in Ho Chi Minh who are against keeping animals as pets. Thus, it is hard to find an excellent, pet-friendly environment around the area. Like K’s family, you may also have bad experiences at first, especially if you do not know how to prepare or where to look.
Searching for a secure place for your family and your pet might be a daunting task. But these tips from locals might give you an idea of what to expect:
- Your pet must be friendly. They must not bark at or bite other people who come by your home.
- Your pet should be used to staying home alone. Pet stealing in Ho Chi Minh is a perennial problem. To keep your pet safe, you have no choice but to keep them safely locked inside your house. Admittedly, this will become a huge problem when it comes to the mess your pet will make. However, this is an inconsequential price to pay if you don’t want them to get kidnapped. Better safe than sorry!
- You will have to pay someone to look after your pet when you decide to go someplace else. While you always have the option to bring your pets with you, the pet transfer cost in the airline is quite high. Also, you will have to go over all the permits again once you return to Ho Chi Minh.
- Do not focus on the large rental communities. More often than not, you will have very slim chances of finding pet-friendly places there. Instead, dig deeper into growing pet-friendly communities that might not be as well-known. Although you may have to compromise a bit on location, at least you’re sure your pet is in a safe place.
- Ask your landlord first. This advice is probably the most important. In this situation, it is important to be transparent with your landlord rather than hiding your pet. Try to propose a trial period with your landlord so that he/she can decide whether your pet can live with you. If your landlord agrees, lay out the terms in black and white. Remember to put it into writing. Doing so will back you up should any legal situation arise in the future.
- Be a responsible pet owner. We cannot emphasize this enough. Although Ho Chi Minh has relatively strict rules about pets, you also should not forget to do your part. Make sure you do your best in training your dog as a sign of respect to your neighbors.
Vietnam Pet Import Regulations
To further help you, here are some things you should know about importing your pets to Vietnam. As we said, there are cases where your pet will need quarantine if they fail some regulations. Keep reading to check what these requirements are.
Have your pet vaccinated for rabies 30 days to 12 months before entering Vietnam. Unfortunately, Vietnam does not honor the 3-year rabies vaccine. Dogs require vaccinations for hepatitis, distemper, leptospirosis, parainfluenza, and parvovirus.
You must secure a certificate of endorsement by a USDA-accredited veterinarian if you are traveling from the United States or Canada. If you are from another country, look for the proper authority responsible for endorsing these forms.
Take note that these health certificates are only valid for 7 days after the endorsement. You may also need to include your pet’s inoculation record along with their health certificate. The inoculation record is a record of all the vaccinations done to your pet.
You may have to coordinate other details of this to the proper agencies in Vietnam and your country. However, this is typically not required if you will import less than two pets in Vietnam. When Holly was imported from the Philippines to Vietnam, K didn’t have to secure an import permit.
Entering Vietnam by Air
You can fly your pet to Vietnam either as air cargo or checked baggage. Notify the Quarantine Station no less than 24 hours of your arrival for the most comfortable arrangement. In traveling to a foreign country such as Vietnam, it is always a smart idea to carry identification as proof of ownership of your pet. Your pets must be free of any infectious disease. If they are not in good health, further examination by a veterinarian may be required.
Some airlines would allow you to check your pet as baggage. In K’s case, Holly plus the crate is around 32 kg, which is the maximum weight they would allow as a checked baggage. Just like your other checked baggage, you will drop off the crate with your pet in it on the baggage drop off counter. Make sure that you let your pet pee or poop first before putting him/her inside the crate.
Some reliable airlines you can check out which allow pets as checked baggage are Singapore Airlines, Korean Air, and Vietnam Airlines.
Vietnam Pet Export Regulations
Regulations on taking your pet out of Vietnam is similar to the import requirements. Should you decide to leave Vietnam with your pet, you should prepare the following required documents for exporting them:
- Health certificate. You can get this from your accredited veterinarian in your departure city.
- Pet’s inoculation record. It refers to the vaccination or health records of your pet from a veterinarian. This document allows double-checking of your pet’s health before it gets transported back to your destination country.
- Vaccination certificate for rabies. Like in importing, your pet needs to be rabies-free in export so that it doesn’t pose harm to other animals or humans.
- Photocopy of the first page of your passport. This document is to prove you own your pet so that the pet is sure to travel safely.
- Import paper from your country of destination. For this, be sure to contact the animal importation authority of your destination country to find out how to get an import approval.
- A confirmation from the airline. Depending on your airline, you have to secure proof that they can and will accommodate your pet. Take note that budget airlines and other low-cost airlines might not accept any pet on their flights.
- Travel cage. You will need this to carry and store your pet during the flight. Make sure the size and dimension also meet the airline’s requirements.
- Check other documents or requirements. Your departure country might need additional requirements for exportation. In some cases, the airport/immigration will have to keep the pet in their office for a few days before the scheduled departure flight for checkup.
Here are some more things to note when transporting your pet by air.
- Your pets will stay in a crate during the entire flight. If they are not used to that kind of situation, you need to train them beforehand. Get yourself a crate and train your pet to be comfortable with it every day until they are accustomed to staying inside it. Doing this will help your pets become more comfortable when they travel.
- Your pets won’t have access to food and water during the flight. To regulate their appetite, cut back a day before your flight and feed them only half a portion. Ensure that they drink plenty of water just beforehand so that they do not get dehydrated. If you have weight allowance, make sure to put some water containers and snacks so they won’t be as hungry and thirsty throughout the flight. You can even freeze the water so it would last longer and will keep your pet cool during the flight.
- We do not recommend giving your pets sedative even if they get terrified during the flight. Sedatives reduce heart rate just as the plane does. A combination of both might be very harmful to your pet.
- We also recommend that you priorly contact the airline to be clear with their guidelines. Ask them if they can allow your pet to join you in the cabin. If yes, you can opt for soft-sided carriers to make your pet more comfortable. You may also ask them about other requirements and restrictions while transporting your pet.
Pet-Friendly Apartments in Ho Chi Minh
Just as we want our kids to grow in a safe environment, we should also consider our pets’ welfare. We wouldn’t want them to live in a place where they may continuously feel threatened and uncomfortable. As fur parents, we have the responsibility of ensuring they are in a healthy state of mind.
We’ve said it again and again in this article: pet-friendly apartments aren’t easy to find in Vietnam. However, Ho Chi Minh is already beginning to offer a fair number of pet-friendly places for pet owners who are moving to the city. Below are some of the best options to consider.
Nhieu Loc Canal in Binh Thanh District Apartments
If you’re looking for beautiful and natural landscapes overlooking the river, you will enjoy this place for a relatively reasonable price.
Xi River View in District 2
This place is famous among travelers and foreign families visiting in Vietnam. It is at the center of District 2, providing tenants with the best services. Thus, it is a prime place to quickly get access to bars, restaurants, shopping centers, offices, or amusement parks.
This community is ideal for families, with or without pets. With a wide array of selection, you have the freedom to choose which space is most appropriate for your needs. The best part is you can take your pets with you if you request it. It may cost you a little bit more money, but the price can still be negotiable depending on your landlord.
This community is well-rounded, ensuring you get the best quality of life while residing in Ho Chi Minh.
Saigon Apartment in District 1
If you’re going for a clean and safe space right at the center of the city, this apartment might be for you. On top of being reliable, it also boasts a classic and independent style. The location of this apartment flows to several famous destinations in Ho Chi Minh.
Moreover, they deliver excellent services with an open-minded attitude for their clients. Owners are allowed to live with their pets so long as there is an assurance of clean hygiene. The only drawback to this is the relatively higher monthly fee. But if you have money to spare, why not?
The Homee in District 7
This place is near several shopping malls. It has a limited range of facilities compared to other apartments, however. But the important thing is that pets are always welcomed here with a friendly attitude. It also comes with a reasonable price that can suit customers’ basic needs.
Halo Apartment in Binh Thanh District
Located in Binh Thanh District’s center, this apartment is close to famous restaurants and golf playgrounds. Right off the bat, families with pets can quickly feel comfortable and satisfied with the hospitable vibe of the community. The rooms here are also spacious, perfect for your furry pets. Compared to other apartments, this one is slightly cheaper.
If you find that these choices are not within your budget, you are always free to do more research on your own. If possible, you can also try to ask locals you may know or friends/relatives who are staying in Ho Chi Minh. The options may be quite limited as pet-friendly apartments aren’t common in Vietnam, but at least you’re sure to find a safe space.
Animal Organizations in Ho Chi Minh City
The issues of abused dogs, animal mistreatment, and fake “pet-friendly apartments” can be an inevitable experience in Ho Chi Minh, no matter how much safety measures we take. It’s unfortunate, but for now, the best you can do is to know your options should you undergo such a situation.
No family should endure unjust treatment for taking care of pets. In Ho Chi Minh, there are several organizations that raise awareness about animals in need. These organizations also advocate rescuing, caring, and protecting the rights of animals. They can also lend you a helping hand if you ever need it.
Animal Rescue and Care (ARC) Vietnam
ARC Vietnam is a non-profit organization with both expatriate and local members. They work together to rescue and care for abandoned or abused dogs and other animals in fake “pet-friendly apartments” in Ho Chi Minh City.
Aside from that, they also look into legal cases involving abused dogs in fake “pet-friendly apartments”. Their mission is to educate the public about animal mistreatment. This organization provides shelter and medical care for animals and offers an adoption/foster program for abused dogs in need of immediate protection. Lastly, they also work with Saigon Pet Clinic to run a low-cost spay and neuter program.
Address: 33-41 Thao Dien St., District 2, Ho Chi Minh City
Saigon Pet Clinic
Address: 33-41 Thao Dien Street., District 2, Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: (08) 35194182
Dong Vat translates directly to “Love animals.” It aims to raise public awareness about abused dogs, animal rights, and pet-friendly apartments in Vietnam. Aside from that, they also provide rescue abused dogs. They work closely with other animal rescue organizations nationwide. If that isn’t great enough, Dong Vat also has a home dedicated to rescued and abused dogs and pets called Restored Hope Foster Home.
If you’re a tenant living in a fake “pet-friendly apartment”, the harassment may not only happen to your dogs. Unfortunately, you are also bound to experience it as you deal with complaints and unreasonable demands.
Should the situation arise, you can also try reaching out to your broker or your real estate company for help, especially if the management is in the wrong and not hearing you out. You must know your rights so that you wouldn’t be stuck in a tricky situation with your landlord.
The Role of Pets in Community Dynamics
The management doesn’t understand good health. They don’t understand community dynamics. They don’t know how to balance their own budgets.
After all the discussion, we go back to the words of K’s husband. Much of the problem faced by families with pets stems from one major issue: the lack of people’s understanding of how pets shape the health of a community.
But now there is a growing trend in Vietnam to consider pets as parts of the family. Millions of people love pets. They enjoy their companionship, taking them out for walks, playing, and even talking to them. Over the years, there are already scientific evidence that pets are good for human health and in building communities.
Activities with pets can also get people out of isolation and immersed into their community. Pet owners often find that their pets help them connect with other people. Social networks that are founded based on mutual concern over animal welfare can increase human interaction. It gets people together, and owning a pet can provide an excellent reason for social contact.
Pets also provide shared interest. In a world where everyone is disconnected, it becomes increasingly hard to converse with strangers or build new connections. There is something special about a shared interest when it comes to pets or animals. They remind us we have something in common and that we love something other than ourselves. This effect extends even to non-pet owners and even people who don’t like pets. There seems to be a ripple effect.
So you see why it is so disheartening that several families in fake “pet-friendly apartments” suffer for keeping a pet. Apartment regulations are understandable, and outrightly saying that a specific place doesn’t allow pets might be even better. This way, families can avoid them altogether. It’s a different story, however, when, just like K’s family, the management takes unnecessary measures to force you out of your home. It’s even worse when your pet does not even bother other people.
K’s family is just one of many families who have experienced or are experiencing this type of harassment in fake “pet-friendly apartments.” All around the world, countless families are forced to leave their beloved pets behind because of the increasing housing crisis. It is becoming harder to find residential places where pets are allowed.
Because of our current economy and the booming demand for apartments and condos, landlords are more concerned with protecting their assets. There is little consideration for how important pets are, let alone the acknowledgment that they are, in fact, family members too.
It is clear that we still have a long way to go to becoming an animal-friendly world. The issues of animal harassment and mistreatment are not happening in fake “pet-friendly apartments” in Ho Chi Minh alone. A few animal advocacy organizations/communities here and there are helpful, but they are not enough.
Instead, real change begins when the systemic and cultural problems are discussed and dealt with. Our furry friends are in a dangerous position with several budding issues concerning animal rights and welfare. The world is shifting quickly. Its priorities are often misaligned, sometimes at our pets’ expense and ours.
Therefore, The Furry Companion calls on everyone to share the responsibility of making sure our pets are safe and happy. Let us start being responsible fur parents (if we aren’t already) and spread the word! With dedication, passion, and kindness, we can help make this world a lot safer not only for our families but also for our pets. Hopefully, no family has to compromise the well-being of their furry pets in the future anymore. Together, let’s make this dream possible.
A fitness junkie and a cosmopolitan traveler, Kathy is the mom of peppy baby Malaya and mixed beagle Holly. She’s a capable businesswoman who balances work with living a wanderlust life with her hooman and fur babies.