For many, a furry friend helped ease the pain of isolation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Masked up and quarantined, we turned to man’s best friend to be our companions. This explosion of new pet owners, while much needed for some’s mental health, can be difficult for Condo and Homeowners Associations to manage. A lack of pet socialization and proper training can make them a tiny terror, but clear rules and new policies are sure to help take care of the more bewhiskered members of our community.
Condo and Homeowners associations experienced an unusually high volume of complaints in 2021 and 2022 surrounding pet behavior. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) reports that one in five households acquired a cat or dog since COVID-19 began—approximately 23 million families. These pets, over half of which were adopted from animal shelters, may have a difficult time reintegrating with life after COVID. For example, dogs that are used to stay-at-home owners may experience separation anxiety as their humans return to work or have trouble interacting with other dogs in public areas.
Now may be the perfect time for board members to update their pet policies. Domesticated animals are here to stay, and homeowners’ associations must rise to the task. Here are a few tips for your association:
Provide pet waste stations
Dogs used to a sedentary lifestyle might tend to defecate on inappropriate surfaces—like a playground or sidewalk. Provide owners with stations to pick up their pet’s waste and keep your neighborhood looking clean.
Be kind to struggling owners
Few pandemic pet owners experienced pet restrictions for the first few months of their careers. Educating owners is just as important as educating our four-legged creatures. Owners must learn what is and is not acceptable in your neighborhood—but it may take time and understanding. Particularly difficult pets aren’t always the owner’s fault. We must exercise patience and understanding with these instances, and offer our support.
Set clear & concise guidelines
New pet owners are new to guidelines, too. It’s important to be clear about your HOA’s expectations and communicate effectively through signage and social media. Post a list of pet rules on your HOA Facebook community, or signs in public areas detailing information for pet owners.
Organize pet-friendly events
With rampant separation anxiety, COVID pets can find it difficult to socialize with other animals. Reduce the risk of barking matches and animal stand-offs by gently introducing pets to each other at community events. Killing two birds with one stone, a pet-friendly event can also foster community by uniting your residents around a common interest.
Communicate with your HOA management company
At www.MyArdent.com, we are here to help your community thrive, and we realize pets can be a headache for Condo and Homeowners Associations. Talk to one of our representatives today to receive a roadmap towards brighter, higher value HOA living.