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Subject: potentially dangerous dog living in the community
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ChrisP18
(California)

Posts:7


10/16/2018 9:39 AM  
I have questions regarding aggressive dogs in a community. I will apologize in advance for the length. This is a housing community NOT in a gated community. We have no clubhouse and very little common area in our community. the parks and greenbelts in our community are taken care of my city park and rec. I bought the home new and I have lived her for 17 months. Our Board meets every 90 days. I have only been to 3 meetings plus and IDR many meetings have been rescheduled with no advance notice and the new dates were ones i could not attend and I have missed other board meetings due to vacations and the first meeting we were still too busy unpacking. I am a member in good standing and I pay my dues on time.

Jan 2018 I was chased by my neighbors Pitbull/lab and narrowly escaped being bitten. The Pitbull was off leash in the their front yard chased me through my front yard up to my door as i was screaming when my husband opened the door and i ran in slamming the door in the dogs face. Animal Control became involved and after a court hearing the dog was deemed a "Potentially Dangerous Animal" During this time the HOA was kept notified of the situation. I advised them of the outcome of the trial and provided them the case number they stated they would not obtain a report that i need to do so. March 2 2018 I hand delivered the document to the HOA. I requested that the Board remove the dog from the community since it is a threat to the safety of the community also to have the HOA force compliance of the 2 dog rule my neighbor has 4 dogs.

During this time period I have kept a video log of his 4 dogs jumping on our co-owned fence and the constant barking. Our CC&R state "the board shall have the power to prohibit the keeping or maintenance of any animal, which, in the opinion of the Board, after Notice and Hearing, is deemed bu the board to constitute a nuisance to any other owner or which constitutes a threat to the personal safety of any owner in the sole ad absolute opinion of the Board."

In April 2018 we received permission from my HOA to install a secondary fence against the co-owned vinyl fence to ensure our safety in case the dogs were able to break through the vinyl fence and gain access into our yard. We installed a wrought iron fence against the vinyl fence

May 2018 we attended an IDR the association asked what concessions would we want to allow the potentially dangerous dog to stay in the community. I advised them i did not want the dog to stay but if it had to to 1. have neighbors install their chain link fence they bought 8 months prior and put it against the vinyl fence. 2. pay for the cost of my wrought iron fence 2600.00 3. do not walk the dog in the community take it tot he dog park that is 1/2 mile away. the HOA wanted us to sign off our rights during the meeting removing the HOA from the issue and they would get my neighbor to PROMISE to these things but if he did not do it then I would have to take my neighbor to court to enforce his "promises". We said no

July 2018 no decision from the HOA regarding IDR or what they will be doing regarding the potentially dangerous dog or the 4 dog violation per management company they were waiting on more information from my neighbor. In Aug 2018 I emailed the Management Company and advised them that I wanted to ask some DETAILED questions regarding our insurance policies. The Management company gave the the name and number of the insurance agent and advised me to talk to them. I called he insurance agent asked what each policy covered and I then asked if we had enough coverage for the Potentially Dangerous Dog in living in the community, that if it injured someone would their be enough liability coverage. The insurance agent was NOT aware of the potentially dangerous dog in the community. The policy renewed April 2 2018 30 days after the HOA became officially aware of the court ruling on the dog

I then received a letter from the HOA Attorney stating I had NO permission to talk to the insurance agent that i was banned from speaking to the insurance agent or the insurance company and if the premiums went up OR the policy became cancelled then my husband and I would bear the cost. I called the atty and left several messages all calls never returned. my final message on his voice mail I asked him if it was insurance fraud by not advising the insurance company of a known liability risk, that the Board had a fiduciary duty to the homeowner that by not advising the insurance company of the known liability risk the board had placed all homeowners in danger, if a accident happened because of the potentially dangerous dog the insurance company could VOID our policy and then the damages for a dog attack would be the responsibility of all the homeowners through special assessment. I also stated that our cc&r state that if anything is kept in or on a residential property could cause our insurance premiums to go up or be cancelled that it must be removed immediately. So I stated that the dog be removed.

Sept 2018 I set and email to the management company for status of the dog being removed. they advised me that I was not allowed to find out the outcome of their decision that they will do what is in the best interest of the community.

At the end of Sept 2018 the Potentially Dangerous dog after months of throwing itself against the fence finally damaged the fence enough to put its head into my yard. I have photos and video of this. The bottom rail of the vinyl fence became disconnected from the fence post and several a fence slat fell out. the dog was able to put it head into my yard and tried to bite me when i went out to look at the fence. the only thing that stopped the dog from gaining full access into my yard is the wrought iron fence that we installed with the HOA permission in April 2018. Animal control came out again looked at the fence and the video and provided a SINGLE warning to my neighbor regarding the fence. That if the dogs jumped on the fence again they would be in violation of the restraining order on the potentially dangerous dog and their dog would become classified as a DANGEROUS dog. I sent the management company a email stating the above facts of the broken fence along with a picture of the dogs head snarling in my yard. I asked for the dogs to be removed.

I received and email from the Association attorney a few days later (I did not see it for a week it went into my junk email) stating that i was banned from contacting the Board (I have never spoken to any board member accept at 3 meetings during my 3 min request to help me with the dogs and I saw them at the IDR meeting) I was banned from speaking to anyone at the management company that if I made contact my requests would be ignored and go unanswered. That any and all contact needed to go through him the attorney. I have called the atty and left messages and no return phone calls.

What can I do? Does the HOA have the right NOT to advise me if they are removing the dogs that I am just kept in the dark?
Can I be banned from talking to the board or the management company? Am I not allowed to have a voice? almost 100% of all my communication has been by email. It has been polite but I have remained firm of wanting the dogs removed. Can the HOA commit insurance fraud by NOT advising the insurance company of a Known Liability Risk?

Please any an all suggestions or insights would be greatly appreciated. I am afraid of the dogs next door and that they will injure us or my dogs or anyone else in the neighborhood. I feel completely helpless. He can break the rules have 4 dogs, break our co-owned fence and not pay for it (getting an estimate so i can go to small claims court)and he can keep a dangerous dog that barks and is a nuisance during the day (I have tons of video of the dog barking the minute I walk outside. I am one of the few stay at home moms in this area so most people do not hear his dogs barking because they are at work plus the dogs are kept more towards my side of the yard.
Thank you
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:6402


10/16/2018 10:34 AM  
I just can't find th time to read this. Myabe others will. But please summarize your main points so others of us might have time to read it.
TimM11


Posts:271


10/16/2018 10:58 AM  
Since you've already involved Animal Control, I would continue to work with them and the city rather than your HOA. They are ultimately the ones with the most authority in this situation.
ChrisP18
(California)

Posts:7


10/16/2018 11:06 AM  
Summarized points
Jan 2018 I was chased by my neighbors Pitbull/lab and narrowly escaped being bitten. The Pitbull was off leash. Animal Control became involved and after a court hearing the dog was deemed a "Potentially Dangerous Animal" During this time the HOA was kept notified of the situation.

Our CC&R state "the board shall have the power to prohibit the keeping or maintenance of any animal, which, in the opinion of the Board, after Notice and Hearing, is deemed but the board to constitute a nuisance to any other owner or which constitutes a threat to the personal safety of any owner in the sole ad absolute opinion of the Board."

In April 2018 we received permission from my HOA to install a secondary fence against the co-owned vinyl fence to ensure our safety the neighbors dogs are actively trying to get into my yard

May 2018 we attended an IDR the association asked what concessions we wanted to allow the potentially dangerous dog to stay in the community. I advised them I did not want the dog to stay

July 2018 no decision from the HOA regarding IDR

Aug 2018 I emailed the Management Company once again and advised them that I wanted to ask some DETAILED questions regarding our insurance policies. They provided me the info and spoke to the insurance office the Ins Co was never notified of dangerous dog in community. Received a letter from HOA attorney stating I was not allowed to contact the Ins Co ever.

Sept 2018 emailed management company for status of the dog being removed. they advised me that I was not allowed to find out the outcome of their decision that they will do what is in the best interest of the community.

At the end of Sept 2018 the dog damaged my co-owned fence enough to put its head into my yard (photos and video of this). the the wrought iron fence that we installed with the HOA permission in April 2018 was the only thing that kept the dog out of our yard. Animal control came out and provided a SINGLE warning that if the dogs jumped on the fence again they would be in violation of the restraining order and their dog would become classified as a DANGEROUS dog. I sent the management company an email stating the above facts of the broken fence along with a picture of the dogs head snarling in my yard. I asked for the dogs to be removed per the cc&r.

I received and email from the Association attorney a few days later stating that I was banned from contacting the Board for any reason (I have never spoken to any board member accept at 3 meetings during my 3 min request to help me with the dogs and I saw them at the IDR meeting) I am banned from speaking to anyone at the management company. That any and all contact needed to go through him the attorney. I have called the atty and left messages and no return phone calls.

What can I do? Does the HOA have the right NOT to advise me if they are removing the dogs that I am just kept in the dark? Can I be banned from talking to the board or the management company? Am I not allowed to have a voice? Almost 100% of all my communication has been by email. It has been polite but I have remained firm of wanting the dogs removed. Can the HOA commit insurance fraud by NOT advising the insurance company of a Known Liability Risk?

Please any and all suggestions or insights would be greatly appreciated
Thank you
SamE2
(New Jersey)

Posts:117


10/16/2018 11:12 AM  
The HOA is not doing their job. I would read this link and see if you can get some help. https://www.calhomelaw.org/doc.asp?id=401
ChrisP18
(California)

Posts:7


10/16/2018 11:24 AM  
Thank you I agree I will look at the link
Thank you
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:1243


10/16/2018 12:18 PM  
Chris,

I, too, would work with Animal Control, instead of the HOA. This is a dangerous situation. It sounds like the dangerous dog's owners have some sway in the politics of the neighborhood. Given this, I would not agree to anything that would endanger my family.

Given the likelihood this will escalate, I would recommend you find an attorney with a specialty in this area of law - an aggressive attorney - and make sure you are doing everything you should be doing - AND, nothing you should not be doing.

Make absolutely certain you are non-confrontational to the Board or the owners of the dangerous dog.

Make absolutely certain you are keeping EVERY piece of information in an easy to examine format.

I might also let the local police know about the situation - try and connect them up with the Animal Control folks so they understand the potential.

ChrisP18
(California)

Posts:7


10/16/2018 12:45 PM  
My neighbors have attempted to escalate the situation and my husband and I do not communicate with them.

I have had VERY limited time with the board and it has always been at hoa meetings and respectful.

I have spoken to the sheriff office and they will not come out and assist. They will only assist if their is physical injury/blood.

I have every email I have ever sent to the management company which is the main way of communicating with the board.

my main question is: Can the HOA attorney ban me from communicating with the Board? That means the HOA meeting in November becomes a mute point since we cannot bring our concerns to the board since we are banned from speaking to them. I still do not know why!? I am looking for attorney but money is an issue. We have 2 kids in college and I am a stay at home mom.
thank you very much
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:1243


10/16/2018 2:08 PM  
I don't know - but, I suspect an attorney cannot ban anyone from anything - unless they go to court to get an injunction.

You need a mean lawyer.
AugustinD


Posts:1765


10/16/2018 5:46 PM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 10/16/2018 2:08 PM
You need a mean lawyer.


I agree, except I think the "mean" part will end up being superfluous. This situation is pretty serious, with people's safety involved. Any attorney that ChrisP18 and her husband hire will understand how serious this situation is and be plenty "mean." ChrisP18, keep working with animal control. Document all your communications with everyone (Animal Control; the HOA; friends). If you cannot afford an attorney, see if the following web site gives you some leads to some free legal clinics:

http://www.calbar.ca.gov/Public/Need-Legal-Help/Free-Legal-Help

Chances are high that your HOA's governing documents have statements about members' safety. This topic comes up a lot in the HOA legal world. Generally, when a HOA knows about a dog that is a risk to members'/residents' safety, it has to take action. The HOA under discussion may have, but it is not yet clear to me that what the HOA has done is sufficient.
SteveM9
(Massachusetts)

Posts:3264


10/16/2018 5:55 PM  
Animal control or police issue.

Not really an HOA issue.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:6402


10/17/2018 9:01 AM  
I don't know either if the the HOA attorney can ban you form communicating with the Board. With others, get an attorney.
ChrisP18
(California)

Posts:7


10/17/2018 9:15 AM  
I have an appt with an attorney this Friday. he will go over my governing docs and review the bylaw and all of my emails with the management company.
after our brief conversation he feels
1. to try to win the board over since it is in the Boards sole discretion to determine if the dog is a "threat"

2. initially he agrees with getting animal control more involved. To work on them deeming the Potentially Dangerous dog deemed "Dangerous" THEN the board will be pressed to remove the dog. THEN if they do not remove the dog my chances of going to court and winning will be greater since they will be ignoring the CC&R
3. go to court but at this moment he feels this is not in my best interest due to expenses etc. BUT he wants to look at cc&r, bylaws and all of my written notes, emails with the management company and videos of the dog.

Hoping to find a solution so I can stop being afraid and use our backyard.
ND
(PA)

Posts:308


10/17/2018 9:42 AM  
Is there a neighbor on the other side having the same issues with these dogs? How about behind? Anyone else in the neighborhood ever chased/threatened by this dog?

Collect whatever support and additional evidence that might exist.

A future course of action, once dog is labeled "dangerous" is to perhaps somehow anonymously make the rest of the neighborhood aware of the presence of a "dangerous" dog. Maybe the dog being labeled "dangerous" requires the owner to post something at the exterior of their home?

I might expect elderly neighbors and people with children to also be against the presence of a "dangerous" dog if there is real potential of a safety issue. Having others in the neighborhood pushing for the dog's removal is an easier fight than you going it alone.
KellyM3
(North Carolina)

Posts:1387


10/17/2018 9:58 AM  
Posted By TimM11 on 10/16/2018 10:58 AM
Since you've already involved Animal Control, I would continue to work with them and the city rather than your HOA. They are ultimately the ones with the most authority in this situation.




This is an absolute police matter.
ChrisP18
(California)

Posts:7


10/17/2018 11:09 AM  
I wish that was true but the Sheriff office refuses to become involved in these matters. They state there is nothing they can do and this is a animal control issue.

hoping to get more info regrading my options on friday morning
DouglasK1
(Florida)

Posts:1418


10/17/2018 11:34 AM  
In my area the police will only get involved in animal issues if they are an immediate emergency outside of Animal Control office hours, otherwise they will just point you to AC. Essentially, that means anything other than an attack with injuries in progress is not a police issue.

Escaped former treasurer and director of a self managed association.
SueW6
(Michigan)

Posts:503


10/18/2018 6:31 AM  
When I walk my neighborhood, there are several dogs who bark at me from inside their own fenceline - little ones and big ones. I am convinced that if there is a break in the fence or they could get out, they probably would run up to me.

Usually when they get out of their own property, they calm down, since they don't have anything to protect - UNLESS they are really dangerous.

You need more definition of the words "potentially dangerous dog." Is that a legal term? Ask your police department. Then go to animal control and seek guidance. your own county or city could have an ordinance, too. Check that out.

Has the dog ever hurt anyone?



RoyalpitA


Posts:0


10/18/2018 7:28 AM  
..... "potentially dangerous dog." .....


That would be EVERY healthy dog in the world as they are ALL capable of biting.


The same principle as: "potentially dangerous human".
ND
(PA)

Posts:308


10/18/2018 7:50 AM  
Posted By RoyalpitA on 10/18/2018 7:28 AM
..... "potentially dangerous dog." .....


That would be EVERY healthy dog in the world as they are ALL capable of biting.


The same principle as: "potentially dangerous human".




See California Food & Agriculture Code, Division 14, Chapter 9. Chapter 9. Potentially Dangerous and Vicious Dogs.

"§ 31602. Potentially dangerous dog defined

"Potentially dangerous dog" means any of the following:

(a) Any dog which, when unprovoked, on two separate occasions within the prior 36-month period, engages in any behavior that requires a defensive action by any person to prevent bodily injury when the person and the dog are off the property of the owner or keeper of the dog.

(b) Any dog which, when unprovoked, bites a person causing a less severe injury than as defined in Section 31604.

(c) Any dog which, when unprovoked, on two separate occasions within the prior 36-month period, has killed, seriously bitten, inflicted injury, or otherwise caused injury attacking a domestic animal off the property of the owner or keeper of the dog.

CREDIT(S)

(Added by Stats.1989, c. 761, § 1.)



§ 31603. Vicious dog defined

“Vicious dog” means either of the following:

(a) Any dog that, when unprovoked, in an aggressive manner, inflicts severe injury on or kills a human being.

(b) Any dog previously determined to be and currently listed as a potentially dangerous dog that, after its owner or keeper has been notified of this determination, continues the behavior described in Section 31602 or is maintained in violation of Section 31641, 31642, or 31643.

Credits(Added by Stats.1989, c. 761, § 1. Amended by Stats.2016, c. 97 (A.B.1825), § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 2017; Stats.2017, c. 561 (A.B.1516), § 60, eff. Jan. 1, 2018.)"
AugustinD


Posts:1765


10/18/2018 8:07 AM  
Posted By ND on 10/18/2018 7:50 AM

See California Food & Agriculture Code, Division 14, Chapter 9. Chapter 9. Potentially Dangerous and Vicious Dogs.

"§ 31602. Potentially dangerous dog defined

"Potentially dangerous dog" means any of the following:

(a) Any dog which, when unprovoked, on two separate occasions within the prior 36-month period, engages in any behavior that requires a defensive action by any person to prevent bodily injury when the person and the dog are off the property of the owner or keeper of the dog.
[snip for brevity]


Nice work, ND. Even if it's not the same in all 50 states, I think the above is helpful.
ChrisP18
(California)

Posts:7


10/18/2018 8:31 AM  
The definition ND provided is very close to the definition that County Animal Control uses. A Potentially Dangerous" dog in my area has a restraining order on it for 3 years. So if it causes injury, chases/pursues a person with intent to cause injury, breaks out of its yard/enclosure then it will be deemed a "dangerous" animal.

Currently my neighbors were given their single warning for the dog breaking through the fence for violating the restraining order for the Potentially Dangerous dog. I truly wish they did not give out a warning, but that is the way it is. Only in the case of SERIOUS injury (yes there is a legal definition for this) will the animal be deemed "vicious" after a court hearing.
thanks
RoyalpitA


Posts:0


10/18/2018 10:21 AM  
Posted By ND on 10/18/2018 7:50 AM
Posted By RoyalpitA on 10/18/2018 7:28 AM
..... "potentially dangerous dog." .....


That would be EVERY healthy dog in the world as they are ALL capable of biting.


The same principle as: "potentially dangerous human".




See California Food & Agriculture Code, Division 14, Chapter 9. Chapter 9. Potentially Dangerous and Vicious Dogs.

"§ 31602. Potentially dangerous dog defined

"Potentially dangerous dog" means any of the following:

(a) Any dog which, when unprovoked, on two separate occasions within the prior 36-month period, engages in any behavior that requires a defensive action by any person to prevent bodily injury when the person and the dog are off the property of the owner or keeper of the dog.

(b) Any dog which, when unprovoked, bites a person causing a less severe injury than as defined in Section 31604.

(c) Any dog which, when unprovoked, on two separate occasions within the prior 36-month period, has killed, seriously bitten, inflicted injury, or otherwise caused injury attacking a domestic animal off the property of the owner or keeper of the dog.

CREDIT(S)

(Added by Stats.1989, c. 761, § 1.)



§ 31603. Vicious dog defined

“Vicious dog” means either of the following:

(a) Any dog that, when unprovoked, in an aggressive manner, inflicts severe injury on or kills a human being.

(b) Any dog previously determined to be and currently listed as a potentially dangerous dog that, after its owner or keeper has been notified of this determination, continues the behavior described in Section 31602 or is maintained in violation of Section 31641, 31642, or 31643.

Credits(Added by Stats.1989, c. 761, § 1. Amended by Stats.2016, c. 97 (A.B.1825), § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 2017; Stats.2017, c. 561 (A.B.1516), § 60, eff. Jan. 1, 2018.)"





OMG

I poked, prodded, stabbed and then facts poured forth.

Socrates would be proud.


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