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HOA Living: Being a Responsible Pet Owner

Many HOA communities are pet-friendly because they realize that pets are like members of the family. Owners are passionate about their animals, and there can actually be a lot of benefits of owning a pet. But just because dogs and cats are allowed, doesn’t mean there aren’t rules regarding having them.

Before you move into a new community or decide to adopt from an animal shelter, ask what the HOA rules say about pets. Are there restrictions on certain breeds, or on the size or weight of the dog? Is there a limit to how many pets you can have, or what kinds? Know what the rules and expectations are.

If you do have a dog, here are a few tips on how to be a responsible pet owner within your HOA community:

  • Keep your dog on a leash. Even if your dog is well-trained to stay by your side, there may be some community members who are fearful anyway, especially if they don’t know you or your pet. Be respectful and maintain control of your dog using a leash. Plus, you don’t want them to accidentally get spooked and run off.
  • Fence your yard. If you want to let your dog spend time outside, consider fencing in your yard. This not only keeps your pet from getting out, it helps prevent others from getting in. It also ensures that your pet stays within your property lines and isn’t digging in your neighbor’s garden.
  • Clean up. A lot of neighborhoods have pet waste stations with bags and trash cans making it easy and convenient to clean up after your pet. Keep a few bags tied to your dog’s leash so you always have them ready when needed. Pet waste can not only be unsightly, it can also be unsanitary. If your community doesn’t have waste stations, perhaps this is something you could recommend.
  • Get your pet vaccinated. Ensure that your dog is up-to-date with all of its shots and vaccinations. This will promote your dog’s health, and if anything should happen, it will keep other people and animals safer as well.
  • Control barking. Don’t just ignore your dog’s barking, because it’s likely other people are not. While some barking is expected, if your dog keeps at it throughout the day or every time you leave, it’s time to take action. Consider signing them up for training so you can learn how to improve their behavior and obedience and minimize barking.
  • Know your neighbors. If your dog is familiar with your neighbors, it could help reduce barking because they’re not strangers anymore. It can also build relationships so if there is a concern about your pet, conversation comes more easily, and they’re not scared to approach you. Plus, they might be another set of eyes to help look out for your pet.

If everyone works together, your community can be welcoming and inclusive of pets while still maintaining appropriate expectations. Familiarize yourself with the rules and take steps to do your part in being a responsible pet owner. If you have questions, concerns, or new ideas, bring them up to your HOA board. Contact Kuester if your HOA needs assistance distributing communications, enforcing rules, planning for projects, and much more.

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Bryan Kuester

Bryan Kuester

Bryan is the CEO of Kuester Management Group. He has over 15 years of managing community associations throughout North and South Carolina.

His specialties include Community Association Management - maintenance, budgeting for operational and reserve funding, long-range planning, covenant enforcement, amenity management, onsite management, large scale management.