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Subject: Pit bulls
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BruceC
(Georgia)

Posts:5


04/24/2006 5:47 AM  

We are an HOA that stirctly enforces its covenants and relies heavily on the Board of Directors to enforce and uphold the well being of our cummunity.  I am Board President.
In Jan 06 a new Homeowner moved in and within two weeks of living there two of their three dogs (pit bulls) attacked a woman jogging in the street.  We have worked with the Homeowner who was attacked and have taken the new Homeowner to court but the courts are not as tough on these cases as many of you may well know if you've read about pit bull attacks over the past couple of years.

My question is that the community would like to ammend the covenants (75% Vote) to outlaw pit bulls or the "like" in the community.  We have ammended our covenants on several occasions with no grandfathering language and have been successful in our enforcement based on the community vote.

I was wondering if any Homeowners Associations have language in their bylaws or covenants that has similiar purpose and language to outlaw these type of animals.

PS Homeowner had 20 stitches around chest and neck and was released, but damage to  the our community's well being for people walking children and small dogs is devistated.

hoatalk
(California)

Posts:570


04/24/2006 6:06 AM  
Search this forum for: pit bull

You will find some other discussions on the subject. Here's a quote from one of them:

Our CC&R's read "...one domestic dog (not over 20 pounds in weight) or one domestic cat...(is permitted in each residence)." No species of dog which is considered dangerous, such as pit bull, rottweiler or doberman, is allowed.

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WilliamW
(Florida)

Posts:11


04/24/2006 3:11 PM  
Forget writing and describing breeds. Go to a weight limit such as "not more than 30 lbs when fully grown." There are many breeds of dogs that do not exceed 30 lbs, so you are not really being that restrictive.
WendyF
(California)

Posts:2


04/25/2006 10:34 AM  
Try a change that requires liability insurance to cover such attacks. That was the only thing that worked for us. "Owners possessing pets as described in the CC&Rs must provide the office with a certificate of insurance naming the Association and its individual members as additional insureds on an annual basis". Insurers will generally NOT write for pit bulls, etc. Then the association can enforce its rules without worrying about grandfathering.
BrianB
(California)

Posts:2820


04/25/2006 8:09 PM  
Just to be nasty, let's examine this subject carefully.

Do you want to punish the owner of the pit bulls because the courts do not. Bad idea.

Do you want to remove pit bulls from your neighborhood. Possible success, but remember, you will likely have to grandfather the current ones. You will prevent future ones, however.

You are looking at Pit bulls. Fine, as long as you can absolutely define the breed. WHat about a pup from a pit bull father, and a bull terrier mother? is that a pit bull? Not by AKC. But by your definitions? What about a staffordshire bull terrier? what about half breeds, mutts, etc.? Without a perfect definition of a pit bull, i could pretty much pass anything except an AKC registered Pit Bull into your association.

However, removing pit bulls will not stop a future attack. Pit bulls are only one breed of dogs that bite humans. Other frequent biters include rotweilers, cocker spaniels, poodles, collies, huskys, terriers, etc. etc.... Are you prepared to remove them? Are you prepared to defend your decision in a court? Why did you choose this breed, and not that one? what's your reasoning, your decision? is it backed by facts, or just emotions?

If you wish to ban dogs by weight, that has some possibility. However, be prepared to weigh those 28 pound dogs that put on some weight... If I have a mutt that weighs 29 pounds, does I lose my house if he eats a big meal?

Finally, no matter what you do, remember to allow assistance dogs. You will face a huge lawsuit if you try to deny a seeing eye dog or assistance lab.



BruceC
(Georgia)

Posts:5


04/26/2006 11:47 AM  
BrianB, thanks for your response. Obviously we want to remove pit bulls from our community. We have amended our covenants on several occasions an none of the changes required grandfarthering a Homeowner. If 75% vote for a change then from there forward compliance is manadatory, has your experience been different? We have defended several changes in Civil Court and have won in all instances, with the courts recognizing the covenants as legal binding agreements based on a majority rule.

Another point you made which I agree totally is the definition of breeds because it becomes very confusing and legally difficult to prove. The language we used was 3 breeds, American Bull Terriers, Rot Weilers and Bull Mastiffs. We went on to say "vicious and dangerous dogs" which has been defined many times by local and state governments that we were able to quote in the covenants.

Thanks for your interest I appreciated your response.
CathyS1
(Tennessee)

Posts:2


04/27/2006 8:10 AM  
All dogs will bite. The owners are irresponsible not the animal. Humans make dogs "vicious and dangerous". If you change your covenants you better make darn sure that all prospective homeowners know that you are not a dog friendly neighborhood.
HaroldS
(Arizona)

Posts:906


04/27/2006 9:54 AM  
Once again this is delving into management of resident's lives, which has nothing to do with the HOAs mantra of "protecting property values." Why would anyone but chronic meddlers think this is an HOA problem to solve? There are ample and professional resources for controlling biting animals - I'm sure you must have a county animal control department for one. Just stick to protecting your HOA from garbage cans and leave animals that "might" bite to the professionals. Harold
RogerB
(Colorado)

Posts:5067


04/27/2006 10:45 AM  
Harold, I disagree with you. First of all the purpose of an HOA is usually stated as: maintain property values AND provide for the safety and quality of life of the residents. Many cities in Colorado have outlawed pit bulls. I am not against dogs; I have owned, shown, and judged many breeds. Never a pitbull, but I think it is wise to outlaw them. Following is a rule we recommend.

Household pets must be under control on a leash when not secured in the house or in a fenced yard. It is a violation for an animal to threaten or attack a person or another animal; the Owner shall be responsible for all costs if any medical treatment is required. Excrement shall be cleaned up immediately. Pets that bark or make other noises which irritate neighbors are a violation, except for brief barking of dogs as people pass by.
LisaS
(Illinois)

Posts:341


04/27/2006 2:31 PM  
I am a big animal lover, civil liberty lover, and so-so regarding pitbulls (I believe some breeds have a genetic disposition toward aggression...but it's nuture by owner as well)

I would be more inclined to promote responsible ownership (leashes, adequate fences, etc.) than 'outlaw' any animal/breed. For instance, poodles are more dangerous than rottweilers statistically. Poodles just cause less damage more often when it happens.

If you can get 75% of owners to agree to change your covenants to outlaw pitbulls et al, then the majority has spoken. So long as all propsective owners are aware of the caveat when they purchase, problems later should not be a problem.

BruceC
(Georgia)

Posts:5


04/28/2006 6:08 AM  
Harold, "Chronic meddlers", a woman was attacked while walking in our neighborhood and 3 other pit bull attacks in the Atlanta area in the past two months. The community is unsettled and people feel they can't walk their children and small animals, the Board has been inundated by Homeowner's to address the issue. If you look into the attacks the so called ample and professional resources you refer to do little either before or after the attacks. Boards by nature need to meddle.
DavidF
(Texas)

Posts:8


04/28/2006 9:56 AM  
Our CC&R's were written in 1976 and have the following language:

Section 3, Article VIII, Restrictions of Use: “No sheep, goats, horses, cattle, swine, poultry, dangerous animals (the determination as to what is a dangerous animal shall be in the sole discretion of the Association), snakes or livestock of any kind shall ever be kept in the Subdivision....”

There is another article that restricts the number of allowed pets to 3 and prohibits engaging in commercial activities with pets.


-david
HaroldS
(Arizona)

Posts:906


04/28/2006 10:17 AM  
Bruce - where in your documents does it give a board the power to "need" to meddle? The documents state exactly what we are expected to abide by and that is the document we agreed to and signed. Along the way some meddling boards in their controlling wisdom start adding and suggesting "rules" that were not a part of the original agreement. I intend to abide by the rules that I legally agreed to. I do not need a meddling board to keep adding rules that I did not agree to.
I am not a dog lover. I don't even have one. Dog attacks are not nice. But if I am ever attacked by one, I won't and wouldn't expect "mother" HOA to have prevented it. It is not an HOA function. Period. Stick to your original documents guys. They really should give you enough to do. Harold
KimB
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:3


04/28/2006 10:40 AM  
BruceC - I was very surprised to read that one of the breeds you hope to ban are Bullmastiffs. We have a Bullmastiff/Boxer mix and I've never heard anything about Bullmastiffs biting people (we have a 2-year-old boy, so we read alot about these dogs before we got her). So, I looked for some statistics and found that between 1979 and 1998, the top ten breeds involved in human dog bite-related fatalities in the U.S. were (JAVMA, Vol. 217, No. 6, September 15, 2000.):

1. Pit bull-type
2. Rottweiler
3. German Shephard
4. Husky-type
5. Malamute
6. Wolf-dog hybrid
7. Mixed breed
8. Chow Chow
9. Doberman Pinscher
10. Saint Bernard

Further down the list there was one fatality due to a Bullmastiff bite, however there were also fatalaties due to bites from: a Labrador Retriever, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever, and a Cocker Spaniel, among many other family-type dogs.

So, I'm wondering - why Bullmastiffs? (Rather than, say, German Shephards, which are bred to attack humans?)
ElizabethC2
(Illinois)

Posts:5


04/28/2006 11:07 AM  
While I am a new homeowner, our condo board just recently voted "Not to allow" dangerous breeds in the complex. We stated specifically Rot weilers, dobermans and pitbulls. We also put a weight limit for dods no bigger then 40 pounds.

My condo complex has 18 units and is self managed.

hope that helps.


BrianB
(California)

Posts:2820


04/28/2006 5:00 PM  
I too find it interesting that you want to ban pit bulls, but do not include them in your list of three dog breeds that you are banning. You almost do, when you ban American Bull Terriers. Would it be okay if I had an American Staffordshire terrier instead? The UKC thinks they are the same, the AKC believes they are different. Regardless, the AKC doesn't even recognize American Bull Terrier as a breed, so how will you determine that this dog is an American Bull Terrier, since that's not even an AKC breed? regardless, your "ban" still does not address mixes: is a half-pit half chow okay?

One of my employees just had his wife attacked by a dog, who bit through her wrist. Dangerous dog, yes. It was a bulldog. If that happened in your association, would those be next on the list? And when Miss Johnson's cocker spaniel bites a child, will that breed go on the list as well? WHat about that chihauhau? Those suckers bite all the time, but i never see them banned.

I tend to agree with the members here who counsel banning the behavior, not the breed. Dogs should be on leashes, under control. And if you want to ban dangerous animals, then do that. But it should be determined by behavior what is dangerous, not by breed.

BrianB
(California)

Posts:2820


04/28/2006 5:04 PM  
Bruce C:
while i have sympathy for the woman and children attacked by pit bulls in Atlanta, I would ask: How many OTHER dog bites were there at the same time? Secondly, how many muggings, shootings, murders, sexual assaults and violent crimes were there in the same two months? I bet there were a LOT more than three. And if we discover that 50% of those crimes were comitted by humans with certain racial characteristics, can an HOA ban them too? Why not? We want to ban a breed of dogs because one of them attacked someone, why not ban a breed of humans because one of them killed someone?

Ban the behavior, not the race/breed/color.
BruceC
(Georgia)

Posts:5


05/01/2006 5:14 AM  
Trying not to be defensive here but for all of you offering the extremes of all dogs that have bitten to guide the language on how covenants should be constructed, you're shortchanging the issue. We're talking about attacks by animals with the ability to maul and disfigure or kill a person, not nuisance animals. Our covenants presently addresses nuisance animals. We're talking about animals that unprovoked have attacked people in our area with terrifying results. Just last week a woman in a neighboring city of Lawrencville, Ga was drug from her riding mower and mauled about the neck and shoulders by two pit bulls. You can defend them all you want and present the owner vs animal argument, in the end I have never read where poodles broke loose and drug a woman from her mower and mauled her.
It is difficult to make the language breed specific, this I'll give you, but 90% of the responses I've recieved have mixed nuicance dogs with those that have national recognition as dangerous dogs, i.e. Pit Bulls.
DonnaS
(Tennessee)

Posts:5671


05/01/2006 3:36 PM  

We can discuss dangerous dogs until the sun doesn't shine but that will never solve the problem of dogs biting.
If a community wants to have a similance of control, weight restrictions are the answers.
The gentleman who states that his dog weighs a couple of pounds more than the restrictions, is off base.
The A.K.C. lists all dogs by breeds, hundreds of them. Each dog has a "Bitch and Sire" weight. That is the standards for what a dog weighs and that is what a community should use as a guide as to which dogs are allowed--not how obese a dog is.
Remember folks--big dogs can kill, little dogs just make bites.
BrianB
(California)

Posts:2820


05/01/2006 7:34 PM  
Poodle attacks pit bull and owner: http://www.understand-a-bull.com/BSL/OtherBreedBites/2002/PoodleAttack.jpg

Pomeranian kills child: http://www.understand-a-bull.com/BSL/OtherBreedBites/2000/Pomeranian.jpg

BrianB
(California)

Posts:2820


05/02/2006 7:32 AM  
most serial killers are white males.

most pedophiles are white males.

White males have stolen more money in the US than any other race/breed/gender (think Enron, just to start... then throw in the 80's Savings and Loan scandal, etc.).

So, is it okay if I ban white males from the association? After all, they do seem predisposed to commit these crimes. And don't argue that "your white male" hasn't done anything criminal... we all know he is perfectly capable of doing it. It's in his breeding.


All i say is ban the behavior, not the breed.
KimB
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:3


05/02/2006 9:30 AM  
BruceC:

I'm still curious as to why you're singling out Bullmastiffs as one of the three breeds you're planning on banning. They are a cross between a Mastiff and a Bulldog. I have a Bullmastiff/Boxer mix and I'd like to know why you consider Bullmastiffs to be particularly dangerous.

Thanks.
LisaS
(Illinois)

Posts:341


05/04/2006 9:34 PM  
Bruce, ultimately, you are in for a fight whatever you do. That should be obvious by the replies in this forum.

IF you can get the neccesary quorum and your association adopts an ammendment to ban 'dangerous animals', it will need to be a weight restriction and not a breed restriction. There is really no other objective way to do it.

For instance, someone gets a Rottweiler/lab mix form the pound as a stray. Can you prove it's a Rottweiler? Are you willing to go to court and defend your assumption of breed? I bet the animal lover who owns them will....

But, if the weight restriction is 15 pounds, well, there you go.

The one hurdle you will have to get past is owners of dogs who exceed the weight NOW. Do they get to keep their dogs or will a shelter bus be coming by for Spot?
BruceC
(Georgia)

Posts:5


05/16/2006 5:18 PM  
I appreciate your view. The Board talked through the weight restriction and came to the conclusion that weight restrictions don't target the animals or type of animals we feel have disrupted the wellness of our community. An owner with pit bulls has upset the balance of peace and ease with which our community is accustomed. There are setters, shepards and other animals who have shown to be loving animals and pets within the community. It's Homeowner's who have chosen to keep a certain breed (pit bulls) for resale and not for pets. By keeping 3 animals (originally he had 24) who he turns over freqently. The local law made him get rid of the other 21 and we would like to take it to another level that we feel local ordinances will not tackle. I know it's a fight but it's a fight we belive worthy to restore calmness to our community. Having a person attacked has a damaging effect far greater than seeing it on TV. Having three mean spirited animals attempting to climb the fence when people walk by or mow their yard has to be dealt with and we have chosen to be specific in our attempt and let the civil courts take us to task.

Your comments were welcomed and appreciated.
MikeS1


Posts:0


05/17/2006 5:56 AM  
Bruce, With a due respect.. I don't recommend trying to ban the breed here. There are probably 12-14 other breeds that probably need to banned as well, but it's probably a lot easier to implement Wendy's idea.

I really like Wendy's idea and we're going to try it -"Owners possessing pets as described in the CC&Rs must provide the office with a certificate of insurance naming the Association and its individual members as additional insureds on an annual basis"." This serves to somewhat insulate the HOA's liability exposure and at the same time, if the owner's insurance carrier won't renew the owner's homeowners insurance due to this risk, then maybe the owner will remove the dog from the community. The insurance carrier may be obligated to issue the C.O.I., but they don't have to stay on the risk beyond the renewal date. Nice idea Wendy.
DavidF
(Texas)

Posts:8


05/17/2006 8:01 AM  
Posted By DonnaS on 05/01/2006 3:36 PM
We can discuss dangerous dogs until the sun doesn't shine but that will never solve the problem of dogs biting.
If a community wants to have a similance of control, weight restrictions are the answers.
- snip -


Ours is pretty simple. Once an incident is brought to our attention, a resolution, drafted by our Association Attorney, is adopted by the BOD concerning the following 2 Restrictions in our CC&R's and sent to the offending Owner along with a demand to remove the animal. No weights, no breeds, just a reasonable assessment utilizing common sense that this particular animal, in this particular situation, is dangerous. It works very well. It has even covered cats.



DECLARATION OF COVENANTS, CONDITIONS, AND RESTRICTIONS

ARTICLE VIII
RESTRICTIONS OF USE

Section 2. No nuisance shall ever be erected, placed, or suffered to remain upon an Lot in the Property and no Owner of or resident on any Lot in the Property shall use the same so as to endanger the health or disturb the reasonable enjoyment of any other Owner or resident. The Association is hereby authorized to determine what constitutes a violation of this restriction.

Section 3. No sheep, goats, horses, cattle, swine, poultry, dangerous animals (the determination as to what is a dangerous animal shall be in the sole discretion of the Association), snakes or livestock of any kind shall ever be kept in the Subdivision except that dogs, cats or other common household pets (not to exceed a total of two animals) may be kept by the Owner or tenant of any Living Unit, provided they are not kept for any commercial purpose.


-david
BrianB
(California)

Posts:2820


05/17/2006 5:56 PM  
I always wonder about the two animal limit. If my dog has puppies, do i immediately destroy all but one to stay at my limit? If i have two cats and a (god forbid) chihuahua, why is that a concern of the association? How does that "affect property values", the mantra behind every rule? I mean, they animals stay in my house, never step outside, etc... how does having three cats decrease the property value of the neighborhood versus two cats?

HaroldS
(Arizona)

Posts:906


05/17/2006 9:57 PM  
Brian - your problem is you are using common sense and logic. Neither of which some HOA boards have any use of. Their whole concept is CONTROL. If they declare we can only have two cats, how dare anyone question them. Bruce actually said here "Boards by nature need to meddle." He never did tell us where he found that charming decree in his CC&Rs. Harold
SwanB
(Washington)

Posts:199


05/18/2006 6:13 AM  
As a board member, I can't imagine either drafting a rule like this or reviewing this for recommendation to our association's members. I would immediately think of two animals producing a litter and breaking the maximum number and the association creating a noncompliance issue.
This seems like a bandaid effect for a problem that will cause more problems down the road. Very reactionary and not well-thought out, in my mind.
I really think there needs to be a review from all angles when any type of rule making takes place, anywhere.
BradP
(Kansas)

Posts:2640


05/18/2006 11:09 AM  
I think it is a great idea and would encourage you to check with your city to see if they can enact an ordiance banning these types of dogs if one is not already in place. Our city last year enacted an ordiance to that effect but grandfathered existing registered dogs. I would think if you don't grandfather what is existing in your community it could come back to haunt you. Unfortunately courts and cities don't take dog attacks and leash laws seriously.
Rhonda
(Maryland)

Posts:2


05/22/2006 5:27 AM  
Hello Bruce,
Our Community by-laws stated "no pit-bulls", and with this being very vague we are ammendended our restriction to read the follow, only after months of research and contacts from AKC and according to the AKC, under the history of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, this breed began many centuries ago in England (as a derivation of the Old English Bulldog, which at that time was also linked closely to the Mastiff. They were initially used for “bull baiting” and “bear baiting” (apparently arena blood sports involving these animals)., the local spca, and According to The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition (Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004), the definition is “a member of any of a number of breeds of dogs developed from the Old English Bulldog. Breeds recognized as pit bulls include the American Pit Bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier, although the name is also often used to refer to other breeds of similar characteristics, such as the American Bulldog and Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and mixed breeds that include any of these breeds.”

POLICY: For purposes of enforcement of the community prohibition against the keeping of Pit Bulls, the term “Pit Bull” is hereby defined to include the following: All breeds that are perceived to be concentrative derivatives of the cross-breeding between Old English Bulldogs, and Early English Terriers. These expressly include
(1) Staffordshire Terrier; (2) Staffordshire Bull Terrier; (3) American Staffordshire Terrier; (4) American Bull Terrier; (5) American Pit Bull Terrier; (6) any mixed breed that includes any of these breeds- which, by definition, must include all Bull Terrier mixes; and (because the association does not intend to accept the obligation to do DNA testing on dogs) (7) any animal that appears (in the reasonable judgment of the board) to exhibit the physical appearance of one of these breeds or mixed breeds. The determination of the Board, as to a dog’s “Reasonable Pit Bullness”, is final, except in the case of compelling evidence to the contrary, that a dog is not of a breed that is generally in this line of descent. In that case, the Board has a duty to act in a non-capricious manner, and respond reasonably.

I Hope this information helps.
Rhonda
RogerB
(Colorado)

Posts:5067


05/22/2006 6:37 AM  
Rhonda, Thanks for your excellent informative post. I have printed it for future reference.

RogerB
Rhonda
(Maryland)

Posts:2


05/24/2006 5:48 AM  
Your welcome.
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