Sooner or later, most HOA Boards have to address pet-related complaints in some form or fashion, and the most common such complaints are the ones pertaining to barking dogs. When one neighbor has a canine who just won’t stop making noise, even into the wee hours of the night, it can be understandably frustrating for those who live in close proximity. Eventually, the Board may receive a formal complaint, and be asked to intervene.
This can be a troubling issue. On the one hand, those neighbors who are frustrated by the lack of peace and quiet are well within their rights. At the same time, you can’t rightly blame the dog for barking, and broaching the issue with the pet owner can be sensitive, at best. What, then, is your HOA Board to do?
First, Turn to Your HOA Rules
Of foremost importance is making sure you consult the HOA’s stated rules and policies, and that you educate homeowners on what those rules and policies have to say. If the rules speak to pet issues, that should provide you with some guidance on how to proceed; owners should have signed off on those rules, and understand their importance. Meanwhile, if the rules don’t address barking dog complaints, it may be time to revisit them.
As you enforce the rules of your HOA, always be fair and consistent. That’s key.
Be Helpful to Homeowners
Something else your HOA can do is work with owners to reduce barking dog problems. Training should be your first recourse. Ask the pet owner if they have considered behavioral training; you might even go the extra mile and help research some good local trainers.
Beyond that, consider citronella collars—a good, humane alternative to the electric shock ones. Also suggest to the owner some ways of reducing stimulus—for instance, using drapes to muffle street sounds and dim the light in the room.
A Tough Issue
Even with these tips in mind, dealing with pet-related issues can frankly be quite difficult. People get their feelings hurt over these matters, which is why remaining compassionate, patient, and consistent is key. Always rely on those HOA rules as your basis, but don’t neglect neighborliness, either. And if you need further assistance resolving conflicts, that’s something your community manager can help with. To learn more, reach out to the Kuester team any time.