Almost all associations have had pet issues at one time or another. Per the American Pet Products Manufactures Association, there are an estimated 74.8 million dogs and 88.3 million cats in the United States. Additionally there is an estimated 50 million nontraditional or exotic pets in American homes.
When drafting Rules & Regulations pertaining to pets, it is more about the owner of the pet and not necessarily the pet itself. Essentially the pet owner’s behavior is being regulated. A good point to remember is when a particular pet is deemed vicious; the pet owner has chosen to have this vicious pet.
When Drafting & Enforcing Pet Rules
Any rule must be consistent with the association’s governing documents. For example, if the governing documents do not restrict certain breeds, this may be difficult to enforce.
These Rules & Regulations should be publicized and easily disseminated
Enforcement must be consistent and reasonable
Boards should draft their Rules & Regulations around the pet’s and the owner’s behavior, rather than on the particular breed or size.
It may be difficult to draft specific language on an exotic or nontraditional pet, but at a minimum safety and health issues should be noted in the Rules no matter the particular animal.
Must be consistent with state and federal laws.
Federal statutes (Fair Housing Act and in some instances Americans with Disabilities Act) exempt and supersede service animals from any Rules & Regulations or any other association governing documents.