Pets are like members of the family, so any type of HOA restriction that places limitations on an owner’s right to keep his/her pets within the home can be met with serious resistance.
Breed specific restrictions, which are a subset of pet restrictions, are also very controversial. In the context of a Condominium, certain breeds may be restricted based on size/weight and such restrictions may be considered reasonable based on the limited size and close quarters of most Condominiums. However, this article is more focused on breed restrictions that are tied to so-called “dangerous” breeds (e.g. pit bulls).
Pursuant to Arizona law, the Board has an obligation to maintain the common areas safe from known or foreseeable dangers. Proponents of breed restrictions may argue that restricting so-called “dangerous” breeds is consistent with the Board’s obligations to maintain the common areas safe from foreseeable dangers. Opponents of breed restrictions may argue that a rule restricting a dog based solely on breed is arbitrary, discriminatory and/or unreasonable if the specific dog in question has not shown any dangerous or aggressive tendencies.
Arizona law is not entirely settled on this particular issue. However, it is relevant to note that pursuant to ARS 9-499.04(C), “[a] city or town may regulate the control of dogs if the regulation is not specific to any breed.” Although that legislation is not specific to Planned Communities or Condominiums, it should be taken into consideration.
Other possible factors to consider with regard to breed restrictions would be (1) whether to include a grandfather clause, which would permit existing dogs to remain in the community; (2) how to address mixed breeds; (3) how to determine the exact breed of a particular dog, if the breed is in question; and (4) whether there are any Fair Housing implications.
If the Board becomes aware of any aggressive or dangerous animal/pet (even an aggressive or dangerous emotional support animal and/or service animal) within the community, regardless of breed, I would strongly urge the Board to take action to further investigate and make every effort to maintain the common areas in a reasonably safe manner.
Please contact Mulcahy Law Firm, P.C. for additional information and help with this issue.