How To Best Deal With Neighbor Disputes In Pet Policy


When you hear a dog barking during off hours, you immediately think, "That's not how to be a good neighbor," or "That's so annoying!"

You probably want to complain to all the residents in the neighborhood about the dog or instantly report them to your HOA. 

However, most of the time, the pet owner doesn't mean any harm or inconvenience. In these instances, it's important to be understanding and forgiving. 

They could be dealing with an unruly dog that doesn't have professional training, that didn't listen as a puppy, or that has a genetic predisposition of being a howler or pack animal like a hound dogs (beagles) or northern breeds (Siberian huskies). 

In the eyes of homeowners associations, a barking dog is filed under a nuisance, according to the Educational Community for Homeowners (ECHO) in San Jose, California. Other forms of nuisances are considered the following:

  • Consistently or constantly making excessive noise, such as barking, yelping, or whining for more than five minutes in a 1-hour period
  • Causing damage to or destruction of another resident's property like a trampoline, pool, or backyard shed
  • Causing unsanitary, dangerous, or offensive conditions, including offensive odor from excessive excrement
  • Creating a pest, parasite, or scavenger control problem, which isn't effectively treated
  • Chasing, running after, or jumping at vehicles moving on streets and alleys
  • Attacking, biting, or injuring a person, or snapping, growling, snarling, jumping upon or otherwise threatening persons without provocation whether or not the dog is confined by fence, chain, or leash, or under the voice control of a responsible person
  • Howling, yelping, whining, or barking in such a manner as to unreasonably disturb any person
  • Feeding from, turning over, or otherwise disturbing garbage containers (which are normally the property of the HOA community)
  • Scratching or digging in flowerbeds or otherwise damaging the property of another resident
  • Going onto the property of another resident or onto common areas, like the community pool or tot lots and playgrounds, to attack another animal or fowl

  • Crawling upon, sleeping on, scratching, or otherwise soiling the property of another resident

Luckily, there are as many solutions as there are nuisances in regards to pet policy. Take a few of IKO Community Management's suggestions listed below into your community to avoid a nasty neighbor dispute: 

  • Educate fellow residents about pet policies, including the amount and species of dog per home/condominium/townhouse, dog park requirements and etiquette, walking rules around common areas, disposal locations, and more.
  • Put your nuisance complaints in writing, and send it to the HOA board.
  • Follow-up with the homeowners association about sending a formal warning letter to the pet owner that includes your complaint.
  • Set up a meeting with the HOA board and pet owner to discuss solutions and/or consequences like HOA fines or removal from property. 

Truthfully, having a pet is great for teaching responsibility,especially for children; battling social isolation, anxiety, dementia, and other mental disorders; and other positive benefits.

However, when you hear your neighbor's dog barking too loudly or for too long during off hours, it can be tempting to use direct and immediate action. Unfortunately, this sudden consequence will have a long-lasting affect on your neighbor if not met with compassion.

Instead, follow the quick tips above to avoid neighbor disputes about pet policy. This will educate and change the pet owner's behavior while maintaining a sense of community and harmony. 

If you need more help, please click on the button below to download IKO Community Management's latest white paper, Guide To HOA Pet Rules & Regulations:

Download the HOA Guide to Pet Rules and Regulations