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Do Pet Owners Have Rights?

No dog poop sign outside the NYC Public LibraryAll responsible dog owners know the laws that we need to follow for our pets. We need to have them vaccinated against deadly diseases, we need to have them licensed and spayed or neutered. We know we have to report dangerous dogs and uphold a leash law where required. Most of us also know that we need to pick up our pet’s waste (even if there is no official law in place).

See, my neighborhood has a bit of a poo problem. Some of my dog-walking neighbors neglect to clean up their pets’ waste, even if the deed has been done in the middle of another neighbor’s yard. I know that this is not a problem exclusive to our neighborhood, or even just our city. However, our homeowner’s association has been petitioned to raise the HOA fees for pet owners and to use the extra money to create and maintain a “dog bathroom area” in the community. The petitioner wants pets to use this central area in the neighborhood to do their business and pet owners somehow need to prevent their pets from eliminating elsewhere.

I’m sure to a lot of other pet parents out there, this ‘potty patch’ seems a little over the top. There are no details surrounding how they are going to police this policy and I can’t see the majority of my neighbors standing behind this petition.  On the order of raising HOA fees for pet owners, to me this feels like discrimination. I own the same home as my neighbors; I mow my own lawn and shovel my own driveway. Yes, I paid a pet fee when I rented an apartment, but I didn’t own that property. I own my home now, why should I be asked pay extra to have pets? I’m beginning my journey to find out if responsible pet owners have any rights.

Bill of Rights, Durban South AfricaDogs are considered “personal property” in legal terms, so they aren’t awarded any rights as far as the law is concerned. My question is this: As dog owner, am I awarded any rights? Does the law offer me any protection against discrimination because I own dogs?

Not surprisingly, this information seems to be scarce. There are plenty of laws in place and documentation concerning problems caused by dogs, whether it is excess barking, aggressiveness, or even your rights in case your pets are lost or stolen. There are even laws in place to protect pet adopters or purchasers from being sold an unhealthy or aggressive dog. So I am asking you, Pet Blog readers, what do you think should be included in the “Pet Owners Bill of Rights”?


About hcrotsley

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Currently an owner of 3 dogs and 2 cats, I’ve gained a plethora of pet-related experience over the years. I strive to provide the best home I can for my little terrors, and you’ll read all about our trials and tribulations as I continue down the rewarding yet rocky road of pet parenthood.
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