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Subject: Question regarding pet dispute
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Author Messages
JohnK44
(Mississippi)

Posts:8


01/09/2021 10:13 PM  
Our HOA has language in the rules & regulations specifying residents’ immediate area surrounding homes as “limited common area.” We have a situation wherein a shared yard between two homes is very small - maybe 10 feet wide.

Neighbor 1 doesn’t want any dog poop on their side of the yard. Neighbor Two contends there is no “shared yard” and that it wouldn’t hold up in court, etc. it should be noted Neighbor Two always picks up dog poop - the perceived issue is simply the animals pooping on the other side of the yard.

Complaints were raised by both parties. We sent a letter to both and directed Neighbor Two to have their animals poop on their side of the yard, so only in their “limited common area.”

Neighbor Two is unhappy and threatening litigation unless a compromise is reached. Thoughts?
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:4242


01/09/2021 10:54 PM  
I think a definition of "limited common area" must be present in your Declaration of Covenants (or CC&RS). Rules & Regulations aren't the place to define that term.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:9862


01/10/2021 4:29 AM  
Well I would not bow down to any threats of litigation. That's the first thing would do. What they going to sue for exactly? Crap?

What we did is designated an area by the dumpsters where there were no close contacts to yards. We still wanted you to pick it up. It did allow it to happen in an area that is already smelly and close to where could toss the doo out.

We had common area too like what you mention. You owned the house and the lot it sat on. Everything else was "Common area". You had "exclusive use" to some of that area but overall it was common area. This allowed for lawncare to come in to mow openly as required.

So you could designate a place or allow them to install a fence. I went so far as putting down pet repellent and a temporary fence warning of it being applied. It washed off after a good rain in about a week or 2. However, as you can guess we got complaints about the "smell". Which was from the biggest violator of the dog poo... It did get the message through in the end. Less poop and we had a designated area set up.

Former HOA President
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:1484


01/10/2021 7:10 AM  
We had a similar issue in my community, with one couple objecting to anyone who brought their pet onto "their" lawn. Assuming that the space between homes is "limited common elements", here's my take on it:

* Limited common elements are still common elements. Therefore the HOA may regulate these areas and all restrictions apply. I believe your board acted properly, although its a gray area. Our CC&Rs say that no owner may interfere with another owner's right to use the common elements for any purpose for which they're intended - so technically Owner #1 is out of line and Owner #2 is in compliance.

* While I believe that Owner #2 is technically in the right, I think they're being ajerk since they could easily let the dog do its business underneath their own windows or elsewhere on the property. This is not difficult unless they choose to make it so.

* If the dog is off a leash, that may also be a violation of restrictions. Our CC&Rs state that any animal on the common elements must be on a hand-held leash and under control of a human at all times; tethering unattended animals is prohibited.

* Our pet restriction also has a clause stating that the board has the right to remove a "nuisance animal" from the community - and this was at the board's sole discretion. If your CC&Rs have similar language, you may be able to convince Owner #2 that it is in their best interest to get along with the neighbor and not file lawsuits if they want to keep a pet.

* Does your state have any options for dispute resolution or mediation? That may be the way to go. Personally, I'm not too sure about reaching "a compromise" since it appears that Owner #2's idea of a compromise is being able to do what they want

JohnK44
(Mississippi)

Posts:8


01/10/2021 7:30 AM  
Neighbor Two thinks the entire situation is petty and feels disrespected by the board. There is a long backstory that I didn’t delve into.

Neighbor One is the type of person that complains about everything. Neighbor Two feels targeted because other residents do the same thing with their animals but no one else complains about it, and no one else has a shared yard that is so small.

Neighbor one wrote a letter complaining about this initially. Neighbor two (the wife) wrote a letter telling her side. Both parties received a letter directing the above (dogs must poop/pee in own area). Neighbor Two (the main person) wrote another letter outlining his perceived inconsistencies with the way the board is running and handling the situation. It should be noted this person works in the legal field in some capacity.

Neighbor 2 proposed we amend the rules to allow homeowners to allow animals to poop/pee wherever, and simply direct resident to pick it up immediately. He thinks this is reasonable as he is the only resident with an unruly neighbor and very small yard.

There haven’t even been fines issues at this point . . .
JohnK44
(Mississippi)

Posts:8


01/10/2021 7:31 AM  
Neighbor Two thinks the entire situation is petty and feels disrespected by the board. There is a long backstory that I didn’t delve into.

Neighbor One is the type of person that complains about everything. Neighbor Two feels targeted because other residents do the same thing with their animals but no one else complains about it, and no one else has a shared yard that is so small.

Neighbor one wrote a letter complaining about this initially. Neighbor two (the wife) wrote a letter telling her side. Both parties received a letter directing the above (dogs must poop/pee in own area). Neighbor Two (the main person) wrote another letter outlining his perceived inconsistencies with the way the board is running and handling the situation. It should be noted this person works in the legal field in some capacity.

Neighbor 2 proposed we amend the rules to allow homeowners to allow animals to poop/pee wherever, and simply direct resident to pick it up immediately. He thinks this is reasonable as he is the only resident with an unruly neighbor and very small yard.

There haven’t even been fines issued at this point . . .
JohnK44
(Mississippi)

Posts:8


01/10/2021 7:36 AM  
It is, but Neighbor Two contends we are interpreting the language to fit our own agenda.
JohnK44
(Mississippi)

Posts:8


01/10/2021 7:37 AM  
It is, but Neighbor Two contends we are interpreting the language to fit our own agenda.
AugustinD


Posts:4828


01/10/2021 8:17 AM  
Posted By JohnK44 on 01/10/2021 7:30 AM
Neighbor Two thinks the entire situation is petty and feels disrespected by the board. There is a long backstory that I didn’t delve into.

Neighbor One is the type of person that complains about everything. Neighbor Two feels targeted because other residents do the same thing with their animals but no one else complains about it, and no one else has a shared yard that is so small.

Neighbor one wrote a letter complaining about this initially. Neighbor two (the wife) wrote a letter telling her side. Both parties received a letter directing the above (dogs must poop/pee in own area). Neighbor Two (the main person) wrote another letter outlining his perceived inconsistencies with the way the board is running and handling the situation. It should be noted this person works in the legal field in some capacity.

Neighbor 2 proposed we amend the rules to allow homeowners to allow animals to poop/pee wherever, and simply direct resident to pick it up immediately. He thinks this is reasonable as he is the only resident with an unruly neighbor and very small yard.
All of the above is so close to gossip that, if this went to court, I think a judge would say none of the above is lawful evidence. Why am I pointing this out? First, because your board is required to act as a judge in this instance. Second, so as to help your board focus on its duty. Its duty is to enforce the covenants and lawful Rules and Regulations emanating from the covenants.

When making Board decisions, I advise: Stay away from what people's motivations are or seem to be. Stay away from people's feelings.

Without seeing the definition of Limited Common Elements; the covenants; and the Rules and Regulations that one neighbor is trying to have the Board enforce against another neighbor, giving meaningful help is difficult.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:10366


01/10/2021 9:07 AM  
JohnK

My first blush is neighbor 2 seems within his rights but he also appears to be non-corporative. If there is a leash law, #2 could easily restrict the dog to his (though there is no his) side.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:3670


01/10/2021 9:09 AM  
This is why some communities prohibit pets - doesn't neighbor 2 know the city likely has rules on picking up pool because not doing it attracts vermin like rats and flies, destroys grass, is extremely unpleasant to step in and can spread disease????

Check your documents to see if there's language on let's and a requirement to keep them leased, shots up to date, and yes, pick up after them. People can enforce CCRs against each other, so if I were neighbor 1, I'd just sue him or her, and ask for reimbursement if legal costs in addition to cleaning up the shit at his/her expense.

Normally, I'd say the board should stay out of disputes between neighbors unless the common areas are being misused or damaged, so this is call in between that because it IS common area, but doesn't appear to affect a number of people (my second criteria for board involvement. So the board could send neighbor 2 a nastygram and Bill for cleanup if he/she doesn't straighten up. Or call animal control or the city to see what it can do.

Better yet, tell neighbor 1 to make the call. I hope he/she has been keeping records and photos documenting the problem - it'll be helpful in case the board has to take action (I'd make that a requirement before the board investigates.)

My mother had a similar problem with her neighbor, whose dog would do its business in the side of the yard near her kitchen door. This of course was stinky and flies became a problem when the neighbor failed to fix the problem, mom called the alderman, who referred it to the appropriate agency this agency Take a look seriously because there's a huge problem with rats, so someone came out and the neighbor was hit with a hefty fine. Haven't seen the dog since.
JohnK44
(Mississippi)

Posts:8


01/10/2021 10:11 AM  
Rules indicate animals must be leashed and restrained in their area. The rules do not specify where an animal should poop (we didn’t want to get that specific).
JohnK44
(Mississippi)

Posts:8


01/10/2021 10:12 AM  
Rules indicate animals must be leashed and restrained in their area. The rules do not specify where an animal should poop (we didn’t want to get that specific).
JohnK44
(Mississippi)

Posts:8


01/10/2021 10:13 AM  
Per rules, poop must be cleaned up in a “reasonable time frame.” This is not the issue, the issue/complaint is that it is happening on a certain side of the yard.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:10366


01/10/2021 10:27 AM  
JohnK

As it is Limited Use Common Property in reality there is no my side, your side as in ownership. As I said before, the neighborly thing is for #2 is to restrict his dog to the property closest to his home.

I would write a letter (same letter to #1 and #2) explaining the above and asking #b to be neighborly and restrict his dog close to his home then the BOD leave it up to them. Get the BOD out of the discussion.
AugustinD


Posts:4828


01/10/2021 10:49 AM  
Posted By GenoS on 01/09/2021 10:54 PM
I think a definition of "limited common area" must be present in your Declaration of Covenants (or CC&RS). Rules & Regulations aren't the place to define that term.
I agree. This is an important point.
JohnT38
(South Carolina)

Posts:452


01/10/2021 11:12 AM  
Posted By SheliaH on 01/10/2021 9:09 AM
This is why some communities prohibit pets - doesn't neighbor 2 know the city likely has rules on picking up pool because not doing it attracts vermin like rats and flies, destroys grass, is extremely unpleasant to step in and can spread disease????

Check your documents to see if there's language on let's and a requirement to keep them leased, shots up to date, and yes, pick up after them. People can enforce CCRs against each other, so if I were neighbor 1, I'd just sue him or her, and ask for reimbursement if legal costs in addition to cleaning up the shit at his/her expense.

Normally, I'd say the board should stay out of disputes between neighbors unless the common areas are being misused or damaged, so this is call in between that because it IS common area, but doesn't appear to affect a number of people (my second criteria for board involvement. So the board could send neighbor 2 a nastygram and Bill for cleanup if he/she doesn't straighten up. Or call animal control or the city to see what it can do.

Better yet, tell neighbor 1 to make the call. I hope he/she has been keeping records and photos documenting the problem - it'll be helpful in case the board has to take action (I'd make that a requirement before the board investigates.)

My mother had a similar problem with her neighbor, whose dog would do its business in the side of the yard near her kitchen door. This of course was stinky and flies became a problem when the neighbor failed to fix the problem, mom called the alderman, who referred it to the appropriate agency this agency Take a look seriously because there's a huge problem with rats, so someone came out and the neighbor was hit with a hefty fine. Haven't seen the dog since.




The Op said, "it should be noted Neighbor Two always picks up dog poop."
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:3670


01/10/2021 2:24 PM  
Well isn't that special- I suppose it hasn't occurred to neighbor 2 to let his/her critter crap in HIS yard, however large it is has it?

That said perhaps the board should pass a rule stating this isn't allowed on ANY part of the common area. Or they need to figure out how to divide this area and the neighbor can train fluffy to go only on that side of the yard. Yes, it can be done - it may take some time, but the neighbor will have to put in the work.

I like Melissa's idea of pet repellent- neighbor 2 can pay for that until the dog is trained.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:10366


01/10/2021 2:51 PM  
Posted By SheliaH on 01/10/2021 2:24 PM
Well isn't that special- I suppose it hasn't occurred to neighbor 2 to let his/her critter crap in HIS yard, however large it is has it?

That said perhaps the board should pass a rule stating this isn't allowed on ANY part of the common area. Or they need to figure out how to divide this area and the neighbor can train fluffy to go only on that side of the yard. Yes, it can be done - it may take some time, but the neighbor will have to put in the work.

I like Melissa's idea of pet repellent- neighbor 2 can pay for that until the dog is trained.



The association or local government has a leash law. No need to train the dog. All #2 has to do is "lead/drag" the dog closer to his house.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:1484


01/11/2021 6:14 AM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 01/10/2021 2:51 PM
Posted By SheliaH on 01/10/2021 2:24 PM
Well isn't that special- I suppose it hasn't occurred to neighbor 2 to let his/her critter crap in HIS yard, however large it is has it?

That said perhaps the board should pass a rule stating this isn't allowed on ANY part of the common area. Or they need to figure out how to divide this area and the neighbor can train fluffy to go only on that side of the yard. Yes, it can be done - it may take some time, but the neighbor will have to put in the work.

I like Melissa's idea of pet repellent- neighbor 2 can pay for that until the dog is trained.



The association or local government has a leash law. No need to train the dog. All #2 has to do is "lead/drag" the dog closer to his house.




Agree. Which was my original take on this: Owner #2 is complying with the letter of the law but is being a jerk. If I were on the board and had to listen to this nonsense, I'd be tempted to put up a fence right down the middle of that ten foot strip and see how these folks like it. It would certainly be cheaper than dealing with a lawsuit.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:3602


01/11/2021 9:38 AM  
Wow.

Agree that #2 is responsible for not being responsible about #2.
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