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Subject: Fair Housing Laws Run Amok
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CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2607


04/25/2021 6:49 AM  
Meanwhile back in Ohio...

Remember the dispute I mentioned earlier this year in which a couple filed a discrimination complaint against their HOA that insisted their pot-bellied pig was livestock and a violation of the CC&Rs? Summary from the Cincinnati Enquirer:

"Katherine Price was born in Vietnam and moved to the United States at age 6. One of the hardest things to leave behind, Price said, was her childhood pet pig. So as an adult, she wanted to have a Vietnamese pot-bellied pet pig as a reminder of her heritage.

But earlier this year, the Country Brook Homeowners’ Association filed a civil suit against the couple for keeping a pet pig and asked for a temporary restraining order to remove Arnold.

In response, the Prices filed a lawsuit alleging discrimination because of Katherine’s heritage. The family attached several news articles from Asia depicting pigs as pets. And they noted HOA rules permit “dogs, cats, and other domestic household pets.”

Well, a judge has ruled in favor of the homeowners: the pot-bellied pig is a pet and not a violation of the CC&Rs.

https://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2021/04/21/judge-rules-couple-can-keep-pot-bellied-pig-after-dispute-hoa/7324372002/

Personally, I would have found the judge's ruling persuasive if we were in fact living in Vietnam and not the United States, and if the Fair Housing laws were intended to create an inclusive definition of pets rather than an effort to address historical discrimination in the housing sector in - ya know - the United States. And when it gets down to it, the judge has said that the definition of pet is dependent on one's ethnicity or background, which sounds like the very essence of discrimination.

I hope that an appeals court will see things differently. Until then, those of you who were worried about chickens in your communities or other pet-related issues better hold onto your hats.

Me, I'm gonna go get the Animal Ambassador that I'm sponsoring and bring her to my condo. She's a turkey vulture who was kept as pet when she was a chick, so she thinks she's people and can't be released. Maybe I'll get the same judge when my condo board throws a hissy and tries to remove her from the premises. I gotta like my chances... :-)
AugustinD


Posts:1937


04/25/2021 7:18 AM  
I wonder if the size of the lots in the Prices' HOA played any role. I wonder if a complaint with HUD was ever filed, or did the Prices go straight to an attorney with command of fair housing law? It does not look like any damages were awarded. Whereas in many service dog FHA lawsuits, damages seem common.

The Prices' HOA rule permits “dogs, cats, and other domestic household pets.” It appears Arnold* the pig is mostly an indoor pig, except for occasional trips to the local mall on a leash or sunning near the (HOA?) pool.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2607


04/25/2021 7:57 AM  
I think they went straight to a lawyer and didn't get HUD involved. I imagine that Arnold is mostly an indoor pet, but you'd still have the issue of manure and urine and whatnot. And an animal that size will make a lot of it. I don't know how a pot-bellied pig's manure compares smell-wise to a regular pig's, but regular pig manure smells BAD - you can also have water quality issues. Many of the lots in that community are an acre or more and some have heavily wooded areas around them, which may make a difference. But still, manure smells travel.

My real issue is that the homeowners' whole argument rests on the ethnicity of one member of the household. Since the judge apparently agreed with the homeowner, I take from this that if a WASP neighbor had gone through this same process, there would have been no justification for the ruling since pot-bellied pigs are considered at best exotic pets in this country (and livestock in most HOAs).

This puts an HOA squarely into selective enforcement territory if the board doesn't just ignore the pet restriction altogether. This is why I think this ruling is setting the stage for more litigation.

I also wonder what sort of a precedent this could set for pet restrictions in general, because somebody somewhere has probably made a pet of just about any critter you can think of. (I brought home all manner of wildlife until my parents gave up and got me a parakeet.)


AugustinD


Posts:1937


04/25/2021 8:17 AM  
Posted By CathyA3 on 04/25/2021 7:57 AM
My real issue is that the homeowners' whole argument rests on the ethnicity of one member of the household. Since the judge apparently agreed with the homeowner, I take from this that if a WASP neighbor had gone through this same process, there would have been no justification for the ruling since pot-bellied pigs are considered at best exotic pets in this country (and livestock in most HOAs).
If the owner had been WASP U.S. born and raised and so on, then I agree any basis for applying for a court order to keep the pig would have been different. More like the "my chicken is a pet" lawsuits, where no claim of FHA discrimination was made, but the HOA and the Owner argued about "what a pet is" and queried, "Is the nature of the HOA such that chickens fit in, on account of large lots in a rural setting?"

I believe there have been a few "my pig is my pet" HOA cases nationwide. A Texas case comes to mind (disability was involved?). My recollection is the pet pigs seem to be winning.

I would put a bit of the blame on the HOA, for what many suggest today is a vague rule about what a "pet" is and what is and is not allowed. If you're thinking, "Come on. In the U. S., a pig is livestock, not a pet. Period.", then I hear you.

If I were the judge in one of these disputes, I know I would be reading courts' reasoning nationwide about pets vs. livestock and also the law on "ambiguous covenants."

The HOA could always amend its covenants to reflect the times (meaning recent court decisions)?
BenA2
(Texas)

Posts:1114


04/25/2021 10:17 AM  
HOA rules permit “dogs, cats, and other domestic household pets.”

Pot belly pigs have been a common domestic household pet in the U.S. since at least the 80s. I don't see evidence of discrimination but I think the court was right, the pot belly pig does not violate the restrictions under other household pets.
EvelynW
(South Carolina)

Posts:10


05/01/2021 8:56 AM  
Just get Emotional Support Animal certificate - under the Federal Fair Housing Act the HOA can't force you to get rid of the turkey....
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2607


05/01/2021 9:04 AM  
Posted By EvelynW on 05/01/2021 8:56 AM
Just get Emotional Support Animal certificate - under the Federal Fair Housing Act the HOA can't force you to get rid of the turkey....



States are cracking down on ESA scams, and I fully support this effort. They make a mockery of the whole concept and make it harder for those with genuine need to get the necessary support.

And it's a turkey *vulture*, and I wouldn't want to actually live with her - those guys are incredibly whiffy. Would probably discourage burglars, though... :-)
AugustinD


Posts:1937


05/01/2021 9:09 AM  
Posted By EvelynW on 05/01/2021 8:56 AM
Just get Emotional Support Animal certificate - under the Federal Fair Housing Act the HOA can't force you to get rid of the turkey....
EvelynW is obviously, cutely [wink] hip to a certain turkey named "Easter" who in 2016 accompanied her owner on a Delta airlines flight. As many here know, but to nauseously repeat: Under the FHA, the HOA need only accommodate the emotional support animal to the extent it is "reasonable" to do so. Even with a certificate of ESA-edness, I doubt all animals will pass muster. I think people can assume an ESA-certified miniature giraffe on a condo patio in downtown Cincinnati is not reasonable. Giraffe cackle from 1 AM to 5 AM = nuisance.

But sure, keep making jokes. Just make sure you are laughing with "Easter" the turkey (and her fellow ESA animals) and not at her (them).
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11667


05/01/2021 9:56 AM  
Roasted Pot Belly Pig is delicious. Maybe they are raising the pig for a barbecue. Invite me please.
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Forums > Homeowner Association > HOA Discussions > Fair Housing Laws Run Amok



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