Solutions by Issue:
Pet Waste, Allergies* Illness / Death*, Old Age*, Barking / Noise, Biting, Pest Infestations, Travel*, Hoarding*, other
(issues with asterisks are people issues, not pet issues)
People don’t clean up after their pets (#1 complaint)
In order to win the right to be able to keep pet companions, we need to be responsible guardians. The people who want pets need to be scrupulous about cleaning up after their pets and should immediately respond to and repair any situation that could cause bother or annoyance to neighbors.
Time for the repetitive subliminal message from FloridaPets.net:
“Doggie pooper scoopers, use them, always, everywhere you go. Good human.”
Check your local pet store or go online for a vast array of products to help with pet cleanup:
- pooper scoopers – some even have long handles so you don’t have to bend down
- sprays that freeze dog poop for easy cleanup
- pads and even real grass to let dogs eliminate indoors
- biodegradable and compostable dog waste bags – pet friendly and planet friendly
- pet waste removal services (Hiring them might be cheaper than hiring lawyers to remove people with pets!)
- poop DNA testing (who pooped!)
It would be less expensive to create special dog walk areas, complete with plastic bag dispensers and waste receptacles than to hire lawyers to remove people’s pets.
Pet droppings are a justifiable arena for governance, but size* shouldn’t matter, says Debra H. Lewin, author of the Community Associations Institute publication ,”Pet Policies.” Her book advises condo boards to use behavior-based rules. HSUS, the Humane Society of the United States, has a similar opinion:
One of the objections to cats is the smell from litter boxes. You can reduce the odor and some of the work of manual cat litter boxes. One online resource is Kitty Store Online.
Do pets bear the main responsibility for soiled carpeting in hallways? Not according to this contributor (unit owner in a condo in Boca Raton, FL): “In my building we have interior halls and a lobby w/carpeting vs. exterior entry to each apartment via catwalk and we have a bigger sanitation issue from incontinent elderly people having accidents than anyone’s pets. The carpeting has not been changed in 20 years and is disgusting to say the least.” If you are worried about cat spraying, click here for more information on solutions for inappropriate feline urination. Dog potty issues can be managed affectively for all dogs with quality sanitary products. See the sanitary products at Doggie Essentials, for example. Such products can be extremely useful to help animals not have “accidents.”
The Humane Society of the United States offers info on Removing Pet Stains and Odors. A number of cleaning product and pet care companies offer pet-safe solutions for cleanup issues. Products like Pet Pee Pee let you completely remove pet urine odor. Dr. Jon at PetPlace.com recommends an odor control product called Zero Odor that works really well. It actually neutralizes urine odor so it can’t come back to haunt you. These products don’t just “mask” odors – they eliminate them.
No one wants to deal with a serious problem where irresponsible PEOPLE do not clean up after their animals. If a problems persists, call in city/county officials to deal with the issue. You are paying taxes for them to enforce health and sanitation laws!
Worried about the ecological effect of animal poop? Disposing of animal poop in water soluble bags may be the most ecological choice. Read more HERE.
(What’s the greenest way to pick up after your pet? Read this article.)
Pets need to be kept away from people with allergies
We consulted with Dana Wallace, MD, President of ACAAI, the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. The ACAAI is one of the two main professional groups for allergists and focuses on research in the field as well as clinical areas. Dr . Wallace has a practice in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Read her medical opinion on pet allergies HERE.
As a first line of defense, we recommend that the person with allergies (and possibly also the pet owner/guardian) get room air filters, such as HEPA filters or ionic air purifiers. Research has shown that sllergic persons are less susceptible to pet dander when they wear freshly washed t-shirts. Removing carpeting also helps. Even vacuuming carpets once or twice a week can reduce exposure to airborn allergens. Read more from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology here: Battling Pet Allergies. There are brands of air purifying filters for cooling/heating systems that have greatly increased performance trapping allergens, dust and pollen. One example is 3M Filtrete air filters. Worried about pet dander if you share a laundry room with other people? TV ads for laundry dryer sheets claim to remove the hair and dander! (It is the dander – a protein found in pet skin – and also saliva that cause allergic reactions, not hair.)
The allergy issue is often a spurious argument. Most people with pet allergies are okay if they are not in close quarters with the offending animal for any length of time. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology says that “Keeping Pets out out the bedroom can help reduce allergy symptoms.” (Reference: http://www.aaaai.org) Well, a neighbor’s pet is not going to be in your bedroom! If pets are banned because of possible allergies to them, then there should also be bans on cigarettes, perfumes and home deodorizing products. If a building allows scents to travel between units, any of these items could be allergens. Consult an engineer, HVAC specialist or an air filtration expert for assistance determining whether allergens from your animal are infiltrating other units and for possible solutions, if needed.
Outside in the common areas is a different story. Unless people are right next to the “offending” pet, there is no reason for objection. If you have a neighbor who is allergic, you should have the courtesy to not bring your pet right up next to them. Let them use the elevators and wait your turn to bring your pet on the elevator.
Kristen Levine at Bissell has some advice to help prevent allergies. See New Research Shows Having a Pet is Hairy Situation.
Pets are at risk when their (senior) guardians pass away
All too often seniors have pets that outlive them. They wind up in kill shelters because family, friends and neighbors are unwilling to adopt and care for the once beloved pet. The pets’ lives are ended prematurely. If seniors really love their pets then providing for them after death is a HUGE consideration that should be taken seriously while we are still alive. Provisions should be provided for in their wills and financing set aside to accommodate their wishes. See “A way to care for your pet, even after your death.”
Pet Guardian is a service created to answer the question, “What happens to your pets if something happens to you?”
According to Animal Legal and Historical Center, 39 states (including Florida) have enacted Companion Animal (Pet) Trust Laws. Read more about pet trust law and find a link to a sample pet trust document in our legal information section. Contact an estate and tax planning lawyer, eg. Locksley A. Rhoden, ESQ, in Hallandale, FL, for more information. Another resource is the Pet Trust Law Blog by Danny E. Meek Esq of Naples, FL. Yet another resource –http://trustedpetpartners.com/faq. See also Who Will Care When You’re Not There (estate planning for pet owners), by Robert E. Kass and Elizabeth A. Carrie
You can learn more about lifetime care planning for companion pets by contacting 2nd Chance 4 Pets, 2ndchance4pets.org or (408) 871-1133. This is the process of documenting instructions for the care of a companion pet, formally identifying guardians and setting aside funds for the care of a companion pet.
Also contact the Broward County Humane Society, or the national HSUS, for more information on this topic. Here for an article on Dr. Jon’s PetPlace.com on How to Ensure your Dog’s Care After Your Death. Here is a link to more info from the HSUS website: http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/providing_for_pets_future_without_you.html. ASPCA and Best Friends may also have some information on this topic.
Elderly people in senior housing can become unable to properly care for their pets
While people can become disabled or infirm at any age, some people wrongly think that seniors should not have pets due to an increased risk that they will not be able to clean up after their pets or restrain them from on other people, etc. Citizens for Pet in Condos takes the position that each person should be allowed to decide FOR THEMSELVES whether they are capable of keeping pets. It should not be the decision of the community association.
There are organizations like the Pet Project that help people who become severely disabled or terminally ill take care of their pets. People with such extreme problems are just the ones who need the calming effect of having an animal companion.
Recognizing how people are inseparable from their pets, the Meals on Wheels Association of America has started helping out with food for pets as well as their owners. Though the priority is providing meals to seniors — four in 10 Meals on Wheels chapters nationwide have waiting lists — the agency says the pet food program improves the quality of life for its clients. “For most of our clients, their pet is probably the most important thing in their lives. It’s their family and the only friendly face they see,” said Enid A. Borden, CEO of Meals On Wheels Association of America. “That’s why this program is so important.” Volunteers all over the country help in efforts like this. The Pet Project provides a similar service to help people be able to keep their pets when they become ill. For an example, see Meals on Wheels for Pets in Nassau County, Florida. Elsewhere in Florida, local volunteer Dr. Shirley Jacobs and her husband collect pet food at donation centers such as Publix Supermarkets and bring the pet food toCaring Kitchen to help indigent people be able to feed their pets.
Dogs make too much noise
Barking can be a symptom of separation anxiety. Read some solutions here. Also check out “Barking: How to Get Your Dog to Quiet Down” on the Humane Society of the United States web site for general solutions to problem barking.
Dog guardians should keep windows closed (and use air conditioning instead) if their dog barks a lot. Dogs should never be tied up outside, even in a home owner association housing complex. Most humane societies consider tying up dogs to be a form of animal cruelty.
Training can help with problem barking. Ask Joy Behar on ABC TV’s “The View.” She did a segment on getting dog training to minimize her dogs’ barking every time someone came to the door. The Purina Care Pet Health Library features an article on dealing with barking behavior.
The Dog Silencer Pro purports to be able to stop barking with their newest, most powerful ultrasonic bark control device to date. “Whether it’s your dog or the neighbor’s dog, the Dog Silencer will help you regain the peace and quiet that’s been disrupted by nuisance barking. This revolutionary device automatically detects and stops barking with special sound frequencies and works up to 6X Farther farther than the competition! ”
Here is another suggestion: distracting a dog with the sound of releasing compressed air (sounds to the dog like a hissing snake) can stop a dog in its tracks from barking and other nuisance behavior. You can buy specialty dog training compressed air in a can, but any similar product, eg. canned compressed air for cleaning computers, will work. Look for “canned air” or “air dustger.” Clanging metal spoons together is a similar trick.
Patricia Grieggi gives this advice on How to Quickly Stop Dog Barking:
|“Adequate exercise is one of the big keys to resolving many canine behavioral problems; this gives your dog a purpose, and allows them to better regulate their own emotions. Incorporate the come when called training command while walking, and make it a priority to exercise your dog for at least 30 minutes twice a day. Have them retrieve or run as this elevated heart rate helps produce the calming, sedating hormones that can lead to less barking.”|
Retired dog trainer/consultant Peter Carrasquillo in Margate, FL says that problem barking can mean that a dog is not getting enough exercise or does not have a job to do. Dogs like to please and they do well when they have things they are expected to do. An out of control dog is a bored dog.
The Pet Corrector uses the natural hissing sound made by snakes as a training tool that can stop problem behaviors like barking. For under $50 you can buy a device from Hammacher Schlemmer that emits a harmless ultrasonic tone, inaudible to humans, when a dog barks within 25 feet of the device. The sound startles the dog into silence and the dog quicly learns to associate barking with the unpleasant sound, which results in conditioning your dog to avoid this undesirable behavior. See other products being advertised, such as Dog Bark Eliminator and Bark Off. Some experts recommend music to calm your canine companion. Here is another product – RESCUE Remedy Pet, a variation of the original stress relieving remedy available for more than 70 years to calm pet anxiety.
Why is there so much barking in the very few south Florida “common interest ownership communities” (condos, HOAs, co-ops and trailer parks) that do allow pets? Because most of the people who want pets have moved there. Pet-lovers cannot find any other place to go. (Living without animal companionship is an unbearable option for many people.) So, the few communities that are reasonable about pets have an abnormally high concentration of them.
“I am lucky enough to live in a condo and have my dog. My present dog is small, but when I moved in here( the true reason that I pruchased this particular condo) I had two large dogs. It is so important that folks are able to have their pet companions. many of us in apts/condos live as nigle people and having the companonship of an animal is priceless. I want to adress places that say that one can have dogs under a certain weight. I am blessed that my small dog does not bark wneh I leave, however it has been my experience that larger dogs seem to bark less than small dogs, so it makes no sense to ban them from apt living. I always have adopted dogs and cats and they are wonderful, grateful and fantastic living mates.” — November 25, 2011, posted on our petition
VERY IMPORTANT – Barking might be annoying to some, but it can be a deterrent to crime! It is not unusual for dogs and other pets to put themselves in danger to protect their owners/guardians. Every once in a while you see news stories like these: 7 heroic pets who save lives, Pet dog rescues woman from burning home, Dog Dies While Saving Family From Fire, Tiny Dog is Big Hero When Hearing-Impaired Owner’s House Catches Fire. (It is not just dogs that save people’s lives. There have been news stories about cats saving lives, too. Read here.) “Whether taking a bullet or fending off attackers, these dogs and cats protected their owners when they needed them most” – read on PeoplePets.
According to Home Safety Tips from the City of North Miami Beach, FL, “Burglars dislike noise – it attracts attention. A barking dog is the best deterrent in preventing burglaries…”
“Pets that stay indoors bother no one. Because home invasions are getting so common here in Florida’s mobile home parks, I would feel much safer with a dog in my house. Police say that criminals often avoid entering a home when a dog starts barking, and that means that fewer people will be murdered or robbed”. — comment posted on our petition
Here again, if barking remains a problem, remember you already pay your city/county to enforce noise pollution law!
Dogs can bite – liability for injury caused by pets
Proper behavioral training and the use of supplements such as Poyz can greatly reduce the potential for biting. Also, read about solutions for separation anxiety (a possible cause of aggressive behavior) here.
“Under Florida law, a dog’s OWNER is strictly liable for any damages cause by the dog. That means that even if the owner was not negligent in any way whatsoever, he or she has to pay for the damages the dog caused.
… associations would only have liability if they were in some way negligent, such as allowing a dog that was known to be aggressive to remain.” —Marcy I. LaHart, Esq (Citizens for Pets in Conod’s , legal advisor, 561.655.9537,www.floridaanimallawyer.com) See also How signage affects liability for dog bites..
There is no need to restrict dogs by breed or size* to reduce risk of aggression. A recent study by the National Canine Research Council concluded that banned breeds are no more aggressive than others. Each animal should be individually evaluated, including their disposition, their basic obedience training, and the responsibility of the owner/guardian. According to experts, “…small dogs bite way more often then large dogs.” On their web page, HSBC says “The Humane Society of Broward County firmly believes that every animal deserves a good, loving, lifetime home. Animals are not born “bad,” but unfortunately they often fall victim to people who train them to be mean, aggressive, or destructive.” Click here for more good info from HSBC on dog breed fallacies. Best Friends Animal Society has some good information on the high cost of breed discrimination. You can look up how much is spent on breed bans by location. Recently, two of the pit bulls seized from Michael Vicks dog-fighting ring were sucessfully retrained as therapy dogs. See Two dogs given a new chance at life are now helping people to heal physically and emotionally. Also, check out Miami Coalition Against Breed Specific Legislation. A recent study shows that banning pit bulls does nothing to reduce dog bites. A study reported in the journal of Applied Animal Behavior Science provides some statistical facts on what breeds actually ARE the most aggressive – and the answers may surprise you! We say that dogs need to be evaluated individually for temperament, rather than discriminating by breed.
Click here to learn the TRUTH about much maligned pit bulls.
Explore the Myths and Facts Shaping the Pit Bull Debate here.
In defense of larger dogs, Pamela Page writes to us saying, “People often ask me how I can have a German Shepherd in my condo. For Annabelle, it meant a chance at a happy life. As a shy and sickly survivor of a home-based breeding operation, she would have surely been euthanized due to lack of a home. Thank goodness, my condo association allows a one-time exception to the weight limit for the first owner, and has wonderful pet walk areas and several waste pick-up stations. Annabelle has the run of the condo, which is actually much larger than my previous single-family home. There are also quiet residential roads nearby for long walks.”
Dogs jump up on people
Proper behavioral training and the use of supplements such as Poyz can greatly reduce the potential for .
Neighbors should not have to worry that your dog will jump up on them, risking a fall or dirt from paws. Dogs should be properly restrained on common walkways and elevators to reduce this fear, either in some sort of carrier or close by with a leash. Also, see the reference above about C.G.C.
A properly fitted head halter, such as the Gentle Leader, can be an invaluable tool for facilitating retraining dogs that persistenly jump. “All that is required is to pull forward and up to position the dog in a “sit” position. Then immediately release tension on the lead and praise the dog lavishly for sitting.” (info from www.PuttinOnTheDogShop.com e-newsletter).
Cats and Dogs Have Fleas
Pest control for fleas is not any different than for other kinds of insect pests. Florida condos have regular pest control programs. If an insect treatment bomb needs to be used, pets should be removed from the premises for the recommended time period and the unit should be aired out before bringing pets back in.
People can’t go away anywhere because they need to stay home to take care of their pets (otherwise they will bark, etc.)b>
There are plenty of resources to properly deal with this issue. Check out our listings for pet sitters/dog walkers/pet boarding companies in south Florida, from Palm Beach to South Beach in our links section.
Too MANY Animals – A Deadly Obsession
This concern IS a true issue, but animal experts can determine optimum number of animals for the space. Many cities and counties have established guidelines and, by and large, they ARE reasonable. There is absolutely no reason for association boards to reinvent these rules. Most experts agree that, in general, it is optimum to have two companion animals, to keep each other company when their owner/guardian is not home. On the other hand, animal hoarding is dangerous. Because animal hoarders often appear to lead normal lives, it’s important to recognize when a person’s fixation has gotten out of control. It’s vital that people work together to stop animal hoarding. From Animal Planet: What is Animal Hoarding and How to Help
If a cat tears an outside screen, be responsible and replace it. If this is a continuing problem, consider buying claw coverings that reduce damage from clawing. Make sure you have cat scratching posts with catnip to give your feline more appropriate places to scratch.
Citizens for Pets in Condos says, “Decisions to allow /disallow dogs should NOT be based on breed or size.” Training, disposition of the individual animal, and responsibility taken by the owner / guardian are much more important factors. We disagree with breed specific legislation and rules, and we categorically oppose dog fighting. All that said, we refer to some articles on dog breeds that tend to do well in apartment settings.
|One thing that responsible pet guardians do is to train their animals to avoid the kinds of behavior problems that cause objections. Getting C.G.C. (Canine Good Citizen) certification from the AKC (American Kennel Club) makes for a better behaved dog and give others fewer reasons to complain.|
|“Most insurance and laws, i.e. nuisance laws, would cover any pet that was a nuisance, so specific pet laws are over-kill and unnecessary.The issue is not pets, it’s people. We don’t have to like everyone’s choices, but we do need to live next to some people who would make different choices than us.”
–Eedra Zey, Barking Mad
*According to Dr. Jon [firstname.lastname@example.org], “If you want to keep a large dog in an apartment or a small house, you need to be prepared to provide lots of exercise through daily runs or by letting your dog out in a yard or dog park.”