Q: I recently found your column in the Sunday paper and wanted to ask a question. My homeowners association states in the community rules that there are to be no pets over 25 pounds, as there is a two-dog limit rule, with having both dogs at a 45-pound limit for two pets.
I was walking my two, little, 3-pound Chihuahuas, and (encountered) a pit bull, clearly over the pet weight limit for the community, was not even on a leash.
Well, the dog came charging at us as I tried to protect the little dogs, which were falling on the rocky desert landscape. I tripped and fell. There was a witness walking by and helped us by yelling at the owner to put his pit bull on a leash!
I rushed my little dog to the vet, hoping I had not crushed his tiny body with the weight of a full adult. I also had bruising and on arms and knees because of the fall.
I went to animal control to file a complaint and sent a written, certified letter to the HOA board of directors and the management company. I have heard nothing from any party.
I followed up with animal control only to have been told that they gave the pit bull owner a warning and that I literally had to get bitten or one of my dogs had to severely get hurt before any fine or citation could be issued. They did advise me of small claims court because the damages was less than the $10,000 limit. I said, “Are you kidding me?”
I went to see what I could do in small claims court and am pursuing this for vet bills and doctor bills. My question is: Can I legally institute legal proceedings or bring suit to the HOA and management company for not complying with their covenants, conditions and restrictions?
I never heard from the HOA, and when I did run into one of the board’s directors and asked about it, she informed me that they were trying to amend the CC&Rs to address the pet weight limit. It has been over a year, now, with no amendment. I now take my little ones to a park down the road, which is way safer than in my own community. What more can I do? The lawsuit is coming up, and we feel more than confident that we will win.
A: Upon receiving your information about the unleashed dog, the association should have sent the homeowner a violation letter. If it was the first incident involving the homeowner and the dog, he would have received a warning letter. If it was a second incident involving this dog with another resident, he should have received a hearing-and-fine notice letter.
You contacted animal control and was told that the owner received a warning letter. The association does not have the authority to remove any pets. It should be noted that only animal control can remove a pet.
I understand your concerns as one of my neighbors accidentally let two of their dogs out of their house that came charging after my small dog, a Pomeranian. I never saw the larger dog as he came from the rear, behind me — I was concentrating on the smaller dog that was in front of me attacking my dog — until the larger dog started to bite my dog. It was a pretty frightening, especially when the larger dog grabbed the neck of my dog. Picture me kicking the larger dog throughout this encounter.
In my case, the homeowner paid for my veterinarian invoice, came to my home to apologize and give my dog, Kodak, a box of treats.
I don’t know if your association has a pet registration policy, but even if it did not, every homeowner or resident abides by the policy. Can you sue the homeowner and the association? Yes, but before pursuing that course, you should discuss your case with an attorney who is knowledgeable about associations.
Why scoop the poop?
Besides being a nuisance, uncollected dog waste is a serious problem for associations. Next time you are tempted to leave your dog’s droppings on the lawn either where the dog deposited it or in a plastic bag, please remember these facts:
1. Uncollected dog waste spreads disease and attracts rodents who feed on pet waste.
2. The Environmental Protection Agency is becoming aggressive about enforcing the Clean Water Act. The association could be fined if dog waste goes uncollected.
3. Uncollected dog waste might lead to a special assessment from the EPA. If fined by the EPA, the association could face a potential special assessment that would be levied against all members, not just the dog owners.
4. The appearance and quality of the common areas are known to affect home sales, not just whether and for how much the homes sell but how quickly.
5. The more residents complain about dog waste, the more time the manager must spend on enforcement rather than serving the association in more positive directions.
On another note, why do you use the little bags to pick up the poop and then throw the bag on the ground? The poop would have dried up and disintegrated, but the little bag will be around for many years just lying there. Don’t litter, please, as there is no one coming around to pick these up for you. Carry them to the nearest trash can, please.
Aquatic Facility Regulations
These newly updated and revised regulations contain significant changes to the requirements for managing and maintaining public pools. By definition, HOA and condo pools are considered public. There has been confusion in this area, but the Southern Nevada Health District considers them public. Therefore, these regulations apply. All managers and board members should be aware of these new and existing requirements as the penalties for noncompliance can be severe.
These new regulations were adopted by the Southern Nevada District Board of Health on April 26 and approved by the Nevada State Board of Health on June 9 and became effective on July 1. Enforcement of these new requirements will start July 1.
Between now and July 1, education and understanding of these new requirements will take place. Please read through these regulations and make certain that your pool operator is fully updated on these new regulations. A board member and manager should be aware of the requirements for pool ownership, management and maintenance so as to be able to ascertain whether the pool operator is performing necessary tasks properly.
Barbara Holland is a certified property manager, broker and supervisory certified association manager. Questions may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.