Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Why can't our dog do as it pleases? Reader wants to know

Dear Dr. Jim

I have a beef. Our subdivision is now requiring all dogs to be on a leash whenever they are off our own property.

Can they enforce this? My doggie, Fuffo, likes to do as he pleases.

Dogs should be free advocate, Muffie in Redland.

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Dear Muffie

Your question has a simple answer, no. NO.

They only way this could be enforced is if your deed restrictions give the subdivision leaders the authority to do this.

All you have to do is show them that you moved there for the freedom of your dog. And that you have read the deed restrictions which are silent (are you sure they are silent?) about freedom of dogs. And that the deed restrictions don't give them authority to control your dogs.

Then tell them you will sue if they continue to harass you about poor little Fuffo.

Notwithstanding all the above, the county or city will have authority to regulate the conduct of all your dogs off your private property.

Incidentally, I am a dog lover myself. We have a beagle, Adi our hound dog, and a toy poodle named Katrin (she's French). They are basically free but for their own protection we always use a leash when walking them.

I hope this helps you and Fuffo,

Dr. Jim

Read about Adi, our hound dog beagle, here.
Read about Katrin, our French toy poodle, here.

So, keep on keep'n on, and till then,
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rhymeswithplague said...

I think you missed the boat on this one, Dr. Jim. If Fuffo likes to do as he pleases, the owner hasn't done a very good job of teaching him/her otherwise. Fuffo cannot be fined. Muffie can.

How difficult is it, unless Muffie is in a wheelchair, to put a leash on Fuffo and walk him/her around the neighborhood, or even just around his/her own backyard, carrying a couple of napkins and a resealable plastic sandwich bag?
Huh? Huh? And how inconsiderate is it of others and others' property to let Fuffo do his/her business in their rose garden or on their sidewalk? Answer me that.

Our subdivision has covenants that are written down in plain English for prospective buyers to peruse. People who don't like to follow them should never have bought in this subdivision in the first place and are free to move out at any time. That's my two cents worth. P.S., I am not a member of the Neighborhood Nazis, I just believe that a controlled pet is the best pet.

Otherwise, Dr. Jim, you are a wise counselor. Living in the wide open spaces of Texas is probably what threw you on this one.

rhymeswithplague said...

For the record, I am also a dog lover. We have Jethro, a six-year-old Havanese, and our son has Sharpie, a four-year-old black Labrador. Our other son has two cats, but he lives in another town.

Jim said...

You are right, RWP, about not letting Fuffo do what he pleases. A responsible owner would have his dog under control at all times.
But, ... Our laws state that if the dog does bad things or even bites someone off leash he is still not liable IF he didn't know or wouldn't be expected to know his dog would act like that. This is the unwritten common law we inherited from England (in all states except for Louisiana).
I.e. "the first dog bite is free."
However if there is a city, county, or state leash law then the owner is liable for any conduct the dog does off leash and off the owner's property.
A deed restriction is not law but rather a contractual obligation the resident agreed to when he or she moved in. Any animal conduct not conforming to the deed restriction (contract) will be open for a lawsuit by a harmed person.

I am glad you are a dog lover. Dogs like to run free. But our Adi has always been under leash and doesn't dislike that restriction one bit. Since she is a beagle (hound dog) I do undo the leash in the undeveloped areas a bit for her to sniff around or chase a squirrel. She loves to run alongside the golf cart.

Putz said...

oh my gosh this is right down my alley>>>i have a current warrant out for my arrest which says" apprehending this man day or night immediately > sheriff sanpete county>>>what is the charge of my criminality?????dog at large>>>my dog on new years eve was left to runn out of his kennel and the neighbor had the cop come over immediately, my dog was cowering in my yard, but apparently had chased a cat>>>and they sid %0 dollar fine for dog at large>>>well i was working off the fine at the local library stacking books until my 50 fine was gone and the librarian didn't tell our sheriff, so the WARRENT...send this man{me] to jail>>.i swear>>>i have the warrent blown up to 50 inches by 60 inches and framed on my living room evweryone who commented here is wrong>>>by the way the dog in question was never mine>>>my boy took it off a neighbor >>>but i was the one closest so i was the one arrested>>>no kidding

Ray said...

It's just considerate of other people to leash your dog around others, law or no law. People are scared of loose dogs. Why scare people?

Now, what do I do personally? I let my dog go off leash to go to the bathroom outside. He's so stupid, he comes right back.

Shame on me.

Jingle said...

what a fun activity,
love the way how you respond and ask questions..