An HOA Without Dog Breed Restrictions Can Still Demand Removal of Aggressive Pitbull
Question: One of the neighbors in our South Scottsdale community has a Pitbull that has severely bitten two other dogs in our community. The CC&Rs generally require that the neighbors live in harmony with one another, and also require that dogs and other pets be controlled. The neighbor has paid the fines imposed by the HOA for violating the CC&Rs, but the neighbor still walks the Pitbull around our community. I am afraid to go outside with our French Bulldog without my husband also going with me. Is there anything that the HOA can do other than fine the neighbor which apparently does nothing?
Answer: Some HOAs have enforceable restrictions against pets living in a community, for example, no dogs over 25lbs., only two pets per home, or no Pitbulls. Even if your HOA does not have such a provision in its CC&Rs specifically prohibiting a certain dog breed, like a no Pitbulls restriction, a dog of any breed that has shown aggressive behavior in the past can be considered a continuous threat to the general safety of a community. After your HOA determines that the dog is an aggressive dog, and therefore a threat to the general safety of your community, it can demand the dog’s immediate removal from the community. If your neighbor fails to remove the aggressive dog from the community after demand, your HOA should be able to enforce this demand by a court injunction.
Note: According to A.R.S. § 11-1014.01, an “aggressive dog” means any dog that is known to have bitten a person or domestic animal in the past without first being provoked. An owner or caretaker of an aggressive dog must control the dog in a manner that prevents the dog from again biting any person or domestic animal. The failure to do so is a class 1 misdemeanor in Arizona, and the owner or caretaker is strictly liable for any injuries that the attack caused the bite victim. In some circumstances an aggressive dog could be impounded by the state, determined at a hearing to be a vicious animal, and ultimately be “humanely destroyed.” A.R.S. § 11-1029.