Almost every association is proud to be pet-friendly, and most people have a soft spot for animals. To keep animals welcome in your community, it’s important to ensure that they are good neighbors who don’t create an unpleasant environment for everyone else. To avoid unnecessary disputes and potential rule violations, here are some guidelines owners should follow to ensure their furry friends continue to be welcome in the neighborhood.
Read the Rules: Most associations have rules regarding the size, number, and perhaps breed and species of animals allowed in the community. It is every owner’s responsibility to be aware of all rules before moving into an association – after all, who would want to live where a dog Fido’s size is not welcome?
Once a pet owner moves in to a home, there will be rules about where the pet can be walked, which elevator or hallway they may use and where they may relieve themselves. So that everyone can get equal enjoyment of the common areas, boards must enforce their rules fairly. Property managers cannot be everywhere in the community 24×7, so they need you to report dogs running off leash or relieving themselves in off-limits areas.
Keep it Clean: No one wants to see, smell or accidently step in the “gift” a dog left on the grassy common area. Owners must properly dispose of waste, and report any infractions to the property manager or board. Not only will this keep the community looking better, but it will help keep ground water clean and help prevent the spread of fecal-borne diseases. A pet waste station in heavily trafficked areas is a convenient way to provide residents with the tools they need. Pet waste stations are available in a wide variety of models and price ranges, but normally consist of a waste bag dispenser and a disposal bin.
Quiet Down: Pets will be noisy from time to time. However, when loud barking or meowing becomes annoying to neighbors, something must be done. If a neighbor’s dog disturbs your peace, the first step is a friendly conversation. If the pet makes noise when the owner is away, they may not even be aware that their pet is noisy. If a talk with the neighbor doesn’t work, the manager or board can get involved.
In spite of best efforts in writing clear rules, some neighbors may still disregard them. When that happens, the property manager is required to invoke the penalties the board has put in place. Frequently a warning is all it takes, but if someone is a repeat offender, more stringent measures should be taken.