CARSON CITY — A Northern Nevada lawmaker wants to make sure that homeowner associations in the state can’t completely restrict residents from owning a dog, cat or even a goldfish.
The proposal, Assembly Bill 161, comes from freshman Assemblywoman Alexis Hansen, R-Sparks, and would force HOAs to allow residents to have at least one dog, cat, bird or other animal that lives in an aquarium.
It wouldn’t stop associations from restricting the total number, as long as at least one was allowed, or types of pets. The bill was heard Wednesday by the Assembly Government Affairs Committee, which took no action on it.
Hansen cast her bill as more of a safety net for the future rather than something solving an existing problem in the state.
She said that about one-quarter of Nevadans live in developments managed by an HOA. She said she isn’t aware of HOAs prohibiting people often from having pets in Nevada, but it is becoming more common in other states, like New York and Florida.
“This bill is to just have a final stop,” Hansen said. “You can regulate pets. You can have certain reasonable standards. But an owner that owns a piece of personal real estate should be able to have at the bare minimum one pet.”
Representatives from the Metropolitan Police Department and Washoe County Sheriff’s Office testified in favor of the bill, noting that dogs have been shown to be good deterrents to burglars.
Donna Zanetti, co-chair of the Community Associations Intuition Actions Committee, opposed the bill, saying that some people are not fans of certain animals or may be allergic to them and should be able to live in an area that is not close to pets.
“This bill is well-intentioned, but we would argue that it can’t be the one-size-fits-all solution,” she said.