RE: Could I ask about dogs in your community?
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Sat, 12 Aug 2000 11:09:56 -0600 (MDT)
It might be useful, as a preamble to your discussion to ask the question:
Why have any rules about pets at all?  This will generate some conceptual
goals, such as Pets should not unduly annoy others, cause damage, hurt
people, kill and drive away wildlife. From the concepts of "Why have rules
about pets" it will be a bit easier to get agreement on specific controls,
if any, that meet the conceptual goals. This kind of hot topic is a good
place to go carefully, start slowly, don't be in any huge hurry, let people
talk and listen well. Start from goals you can all support down to specifics
that support the goals. It also seems to have a lot of parts, are all these
necessary at this time? Maybe start with 3 main issues, than add others

Our Pet Policy at Sharingwood is pretty restrictive, and yes, people have
come through here and chosen not to live here due to the pet policy. So for
us, as a greenbelt steward community, this is actually a good thing, since
our goals for restricting pets, especially cats is to preserve and protect
the abundant wildlife. Your goals may be different and your agreements
should reflect your goals. (Our pet policy, which has stood since 1991 is
being rediscussed for the first time next week, and it will be an
interesting mixture of long time residents and new comer opinions)

Also the agreement below reads to me like it was written by a lawyer. I
would suggest you Humanize the language so its not so formalistic. Maybe
include a goal statement at the top. The agreements that you make amoung
yourselves, that guide how you want to live together should reflect the
spririt of your group.  Remember as you move in you are moving away from
building legal things and structures and building relationships between each
other. Let your meetings and agreements reflect the kind of relationship
building you want to have. It may take awhile for your relationships with
pets to clearly emerge and so be willing to examine how pets effect your
relationships and how you live together at some future time as well, to see
if in fact, all the issues are real, or just unrealized fears being
projected. Culture can transmit actions  and values  much better than
written legal agreements. For example, our pet policy does not say a word
about poop clean up. However, when people walk their dogs, they carry
little plastic bags and use those to clean up after their dogs. Nobody every
said the dog owners HAVE to  do this, they do it as a common community
courtesy, they understand that nobody wants a bunch of poop around and so,
without any rule at all, take care of the issue. This sort of culture builds
from comments at meetings, over dinner, converstations and reactions which
form the web of relationship.

So perhaps, once you have a disuccsion about some aspects of this, you only
need to formally agree to those things not obviously reinforced by the
community culure. Then if the culture fails, you can make the agreements you

Rob Sandelin
Community works!, group process training for social change non-profit groups

-----Original Message-----
From: cohousing-l [at]
[mailto:cohousing-l [at]]On Behalf Of LScottr2go [at]
Sent: Saturday, August 12, 2000 6:47 AM
To: Multiple recipients of list
Subject: Could I ask about dogs in your community?

Hi all,
    We are hammering out our pet policy as new move-ins.  Looks like the
proposal we're considering has kitties being free-roaming, and, after
at standard condo pet policies, dogs are not.  I wonder:  is this standard
cohousing?  Portland, OR, is "Dog-Town", a very dog-friendly place, and I
wonder if such restrictive policies will make dog owners unlikely to want to
live with us (we still have half our units to sell).  So my question is, are
any of your communities setting dog policy on an individual basis - that a
dog who's offending, scares kids, or owners who don't control their dogs and
leave poop around, allow digging, and other such stuff are fined, and
eventually roaming privileges revoked?  We don't have enough yard space for
dogs to be anything but penned up during the day.  I don't have a dog,
myself, but I'd hate to be deprived of the company of dogs if the policy is
more restrictive than it absolutely needs to be.  Thanks for any input,
or suggestions.

Linda Scott
Cascadia Commons Cohousing, Portland, OR

P.S.  Here's parts of the policy we're looking at - standard for condos, but
I don't know if it's standard in cohousing:
3. Dogs shall at all times whenever they are outside a unit either be
confined on a leash held by a responsible person or be securely
contained by a fence (where allowed) on the owner's limited common

4. All pets shall comply with all local laws including requirements for
registration, inoculation, noise control, use of a leash, etc.

5. All damage created by a pet is the sole responsibility of the pet
owner (or the property owner if the pet owner is a renter). Damage to
general or limited common elements will be repaired by the association
and reasonable repair costs billed to the property owner. Any damage
caused by cleaning chemicals or other such materials used by the pet
owner in the attempt to remedy such damage shall also be the full
responsibility of each pet owner (or unit owner, as specified above),
who shall pay the full cost of restitution or removal or replacement of
such damaged items.

5. Pet owners shall clean up after pets immediately and without
exception, including removal and disposal of excrement.

6. No animals shall be allowed in interior common spaces except those
assisting the physically challenged.

7. Pets may not create a threat, health hazard, or undue noise, or
engage in offensive behavior or create other offensive conditions.

Complaint Procedure. If a pet is being offensive or any of the above
rules are broken, the offended party should first talk with the pet
owner and request correction. If the offense continues, written details
should be submitted to the Board. The Board or its representative(s)
will discuss the problem with the pet owner and seek to reach agreement
on remedies. Further offenses or failure to reach an agreement may
result in the board's establishing consequences such as levying fines or
seeking removal of the pet.

Fine Provision. Pet owners (or the unit owner if the pet owner is a
renter) are subject to a fine of $10.00 per occurrence for violations of
this policy.

Pet Removal Provision. Repeated violations of this policy may result in
permanent removal of the pet from the property. In such case, the pet
owner (or the property owner if the pet owner is a renter) will be given
30 days' notice to remove the pet from the property. If the pet is not
removed by the deadline, a fine of $10.00 per day will be chargeable to
the property owner and subject to normal collection procedures
established by the association.

Right of Appeal. Appeals must be received in writing by the Board of
Directors before the notice deadline. If the pet in question belongs to
a renter, the appeal must be made by the property owner. Once an appeal
is received, the Board will schedule a meeting as soon as possible and
no later than 14 days to review the matter wit the pet owner and/or
property owner. No further fining will take place pending the outcome of
the appeal. The Board's decision on the appeal is final. If the appeal
is rejected, fines and other provisions become effective three days
following written notification to the property owner.

Collection Provision. All fines, costs, and expenses necessary to
enforce this resolution will be levied against the property owner and
shall be an assessment against the owner's property and subject to all
lien and collection powers of the Association.

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