Law banning pet sitting creates uproar

Paying someone to watch your dog is illegal in the New York City but few people in the city knew about the obscure rule until the city warned an app that its service might be illegal.

The Health Department bans anyone from taking money to care for an animal unless it's a licensed kennel.  Commercial boarding of animals in a private home is illegal.

In a statement the department said:  “In order to protect animals from neglect, the Health Department requires animal boarding and kennel facilities to obtain permits and comply with regulations.”

The Health Department says its enforcement is driven by complaints but stresses the rule does not affect someone who pet sits for a friend or neighbor.

The uproar came after the city warned the Rover pet watching app that it's services could be breaking city law.

John Lapham, General Counsel, says the law is out of date.

"In New York you can watch two children in your home for compensation without a license, but not a single dog or cat," Lapham says.

Rover posts 95,000 pet owners in the city and 9,000 sitters.

Rover says it was successful in supporting legislation in both Colorado and California that cleared the way for in-home pet sitting.

It plans to work with the Department of Health and the City Council to come to a solution that allows the millions of pet owners in New York City to "continue finding safe, local and affordable pet care."