Citizens for Pets in Condos was incorporated as the type of 501-c3 organization that is allowed by the I.R.S. to do limited lobbying (campaigning for legislation). We want to instigate positive change to allow pets in association-run housing any way that goal can be achieved - through education, changing attitudes, giving people resources and support to make changes within their own communities, and through legislation. In all our efforts, we only back these changes for responsible animal owners/guardians.

Proposed Bill - Simple Majority Bill. Please ask your Florida state legislators to support it

Click HERE to read more about our current legislative effort - require only a simple majority to change pet rules.
What happened to the Emotional Support Animal bill? Click HERE to find out.

Here is what we would like to submit as soon as we have the minimum 50,000 signatures to support a new law:

Association boards must allow unit owners to have pets, within reasonable guidelines.

 

Details:

There is ample evidence that animal companionship provides health benefits such as reducing anxiety, depression, loneliness, and even blood pressure.  People who are willing to follow reasonable guidelines should be allowed the opportunity to have pets.  Pets are more accepted into people’s homes than they were many years ago.  Almost 65 percent of all US households have at least one companion animal.

Pet nuisance issues can many times be resolved with animal behavior training and clarification of rules. In fact many issues are already sufficiently covered by city and county law.  There is no need to reinvent the wheel!

We strongly encourage the formation of animal owner/guardian committees to administer reasonable guidelines, in lieu of no-pet deed restrictions. (See ASPCA Model Pet Ownership Policy and A Good Practice Guide.)

 

California already has a law to allow pets: California Civil Code Section 1360.50, effective Jan 2001.  It states  that:


’No governing documents shall prohibit an owner  of a separate interest within a common interest development from keeping at least one pet within the
common interest development subject to reasonable rules  and regulations of the association."   The  law also applies to mobile home parks.
Under  California law, "governing documents," by the way, includes "operating rules."’

 

Read a speech by CA Senator Tom McClintock in favor of California's AB 860*:  AB 860: Of Poodles and Freedom

 

Activists in California are working to remove any limit to reasonable number of pets.  Citizens for Pets in Condos wants to see multiple pets allowed, within reason, because having other animal buddies often prevents or minimizes some behavior issues.

 

A few years after AB 860* was enacted, and pets were allowed in condos, Kathy Riordan, Commissioner, LA AnimalServices stated that “the kill rates in our shelters are going down; something is working.” Fewer animals are euthanized (killed) when there are more choices for placing them!

*the number of bill that resulted in California Civil Code Section 1360.50.

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We may consider these temporary changes, until our demands are met:

 

  • Require only a simple majority to change from no-pet deed restrictions to reasonable pet guidelines. See the draft wording here. (This bill was originally suggested by Florida State Representative Julio Robaina in 2007, but we asked him to pursue the Emotional Support Animal bill instead back then.)

    a) 63% of US households have at least one companion animal.  In order to bring Florida in sync with the rest of the country and maintain its
    desirability as a place to re-home, amendments to association documents need to be made more obtainable.

    b) Changing to reasonable pet rules and adding a committee of animal owners/guardians to administer the rules can make the switch to allowing pets plausible.

    c) Reasonable pet guidelines should include having a committee of pet owners/guardians to administer pet rules. Pet committees help people in time of sickness, can help place animals in case something happens to the owner/guardian and, especially, helps keep irresponsible pet owners/guardians in line. (See ASPCA Model Pet Ownership Policy and A Good Practice Guide.)


  • Grandfather support/service animals for surving spouses:  

    a) Widows/windowers are currently not only face the death of a loved one, but also removal of the family pet - their remaining source of support.

    b) These animals have already been allowed in the housing complex.

    c) Assistive animals are not devices like crutches, they are living beings. It is wrong to discard them once put to use. This same thinking applies to recertifying animals, once someone has an assistive animal, even if the condition improves, it is cruel to both the patient and the animal to remove the animal.


  • Accountability of rules and decisions:  

    a) Require by law that selling real estate agents must provide with the current/latest copies of documents, including rules and regulations (especially those regarding pets), as verified by the board of directors.  This must be done prior to closing.

    b) Any decision in favor of allowing a pet must be provided to the unit owner, signed and dated.

    style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Details:  Citizens for Pets in Condos has documented numerous cases where people have been surprised by reactivation of old rules by over-zealous anti-pet board members.  Unit owners have been caught in traps by lack of disclosure of rules.  In other cases, unit owners  have obtained permission to keep pets, but have no record when a new board comes in to challenge them.


  • Boards must accept independent assessment of selective enforcement.

    Details:
    It is illegal to selectively enforce no pet rules, ignoring some instances of “rule breaking” while going after others.  Unit own owners are severely limited in using this perfectly acceptable defense, because association boards typically ask for the names of the other rule violators and promise to go after them, too.  The state Condo Ombudsman’s office or another impartial agency should be brought in to validate the selective enforcement without causing grief for yet other unit owners.

  • Condominium association boards may not request removal of pets that have already been in place for at least two years  as long as there are no unresolved nuisance complaints.  A board cannot use no-pet rules to cause removal of the animal.  Simply being there, against the rules, is not sufficient reason to remove an animal that has not been the cause of any mess or disturbance.

    Details:
      If an animal has been present for two years and has caused no complaint, that is implicit acceptance.

  • New condominium complexes or conversions cannot have no-pet policies, only pet agreements.  This would assure that responsible animal guardians can have pets and that people who don’t clean up after their dogs or otherwise allow their animals to create a nuisance are the only people who pay the price.

    Details
    :  Pet guidelines that specify rules regarding cleanup of animal waste, where pets may be walked, and other clear directives have been successful.  Pets are not the problem.  Owners who allow their pets to be a nuisance to others create the problem.

  • Condominiums are not allowed to add “poison pill” clauses to their pet-related declarations.

    Details: 
    People have a difficult time finding affordable places to live that allow pets.  They agree to move in, even with a poison pill, just to be able to keep their beloved companion animals.  The issue of pets being allowed keeps coming up as their animals pass away.  A lot of grief could be avoided if pet laws were open-ended.

  • Visiting therapy animals should be allowed in association-run housing.

    Details: 
    Therapy animals have been shown to provide wonderful therapeutic results. Short visits should be allowed even if pets are not allowed. This is a perfect solutions for people who are not able to care for an animals but would benefit from visitations.

     

    In the future, Citizens for Pets in Condos would like to see similar bills introduced for other types of common interest ownership communities.  We would like to see a gradual shift towards punishment of irresponsible owners and removal of animals that cause continued nuisance complaints.  Pet guidelines allow responsible people to experience the health benefits of companion animals.

    If you agree with these suggestions, please contact your own Florida legislators to tell them you want some of these positive changes to make it easier for responsible pet owners/guardians to have their companion animals. Please also contact the governor at http://www.flgov.com/contact-gov-scott/email-the-governor and lieutenant governor at
    jennifer.carroll@myfloridahouse.gov. You can also contact both of your US senators and your US representative to ask them to create legislation at the federal level.
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