I am often asked, “What are the differences between managing a community in southern Nevada vs. northern California vs. southern California?” — the three places where I have managed HOAs. My response is simple. All HOAs have three “issues:” people, pets, and parking.
When it comes to dogs, dog poop is always at the top of the list. I have had residents submit complaints about their neighbors for throwing dog waste on their windows, or leaving it on top of their car, or depositing it at their neighbor’s front door. The list goes on and on. As a matter of fact, just a couple of months ago we had a homeowner who found dog poop (I hope that’s what it was) inside a BBQ grill located in their backyard. Now, that’s first!
Dog waste is one of the most difficult issues that HOAs must deal with. For many, a pet (be it a cat, a dog, or something else) is like a family member; and rules and regulations (like limitations on the number and types of pets, weight restrictions, nuisance barking, and pet waste cleanup) can provoke a strong emotional reaction from homeowners who own them. Fortunately for HOAs, the law provides some clear “dos” and “don’ts” about common petrelated issues.
Many years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court observed that governmental bodies may be entitled to ban pets altogether. While many local governmental bodies have imposed restrictions on pet ownership, including measures such as “dangerous dog” laws and the like, none has been so bold as to ban pets altogether, which could run up against the constitution. But homeowner’s associations, as private entities, have the legal ability and latitude to do so if they wish. A “no pets” policy generally would not be politically appealing, but it is lawful.
Inside this great community, homeowners have several places they can walk their dogs, for example: the dog parks in Phases 1 and 3, the North Channel, or along Avenue 40 or Madison Street, just to name a few. The one place where it is prohibited to walk your dog is on the golf course. Specifically, this includes the golf course areas adjacent to the streets such as Sun City Boulevard and Avenida Sombra, Sun City Boulevard east of San Mateo, and the area around Sun City Boulevard and Los Milagros. These areas belong to the golf course, and pets should not be walked or allowed to do their business there.
I read an old Wall Street Journal article by Jim Sterba which states that part of the reason we are seeing more dog poop may be the significant increase in the number of dogs in the United States. Since 1960, the U.S. pet population has more than tripled to a record estimate of 78.2 million in 2010. This is more than the number of pigs, sheep, and horses in the U.S. combined. “At three-quarters of a pound per day on average, waste production per dog comes to 274 pounds a year – or 10.9 million tons dropped on the landscape annually.” By some estimates, about half is cleaned up. The rest is left to kill the turf. This is why the above areas are off limits to pets, and it would be a shame if another increase in your assessments is necessary because we have to repair the damage to the golf course caused by pets.
From one pet owner to another, please pick up after your pet, and stay off the golf course.