Pet and dog friendly communities in Venice Florida

Can I bring Fido? Of course, but can he move in with me? That is the Question!

Well, there are much different …and challenging…. answers to only those two questions. So, do you need help deciding where to buy a home for fur baby and yourself? Here is a little bit of information.

You have probably heard it already: not every community is best known for its ”dog/pet friendliness.” And if they claim to be pet-friendly does that automatically Doggymean that there are no specific “pet – rules” in place – rules which may restrict you and your furry friend’s well-being? You better be careful. There are very few spots on earth where you can live without any rules.

Let’s start with the good news first: 

There are still quite a few communities around which will welcome your furry friend – no ifs and buts. Woof! Meow! That is good news and will probably make your friend wag his tail.

However, there is a reason why we say “quite a few” and not “all.” Unfortunately, your choices in the Real Estate Market are a little more limited when you bring a dog….. but a friend is a friend. Right? No dog left behind. So, what can you do?

To tell it as it is: Some communities will be out of reach for you because they do not allow pets at all. Bummer! Good news is: Fortunately, there are not too many communities like that.

Move on

Just let’s forget about those “nasty” guys and focus on those more pet-friendly communities instead. Before we go deeper into the matter, let us talk about “some” rules. Even in the most pet-friendly communities, some pet rules will always apply. They are called “common sense rules.” 

What is Common Sense?

dog2That you pick up after your dog should not be unusual. Unfortunately, there are always some irresponsible dog owners out there who think that such a rule does not apply to them and their fur baby. Well, that does not necessarily make communal living easier. Pointing out that your dog is only fertilizing their lawn for free will usually not convince your neighbors nor the homeowners association. If the two of you want to live a happy life together – take a bag with you and act responsibly.

Okay, and the next thing is to keep Fido on the leash. A dog, although seen by his owner more like a  family member (which makes him more human like) is still an animal, and all animals can and may act wired when something unforeseen happens.

“Unforeseen” from the viewpoint of the dog and not the human being. Therefore, it is always in your and your dog’s best interest to stay on the leash. Driving a squirrel up the tree is the slightest problem. Not everybody likes a wet kiss from a super friendly dog, right?  Only when your dog is on the leash you can control who will get that kiss  …and who will not. That may protect your dog from wet kisses as well.

Yes, always the Government

Before we forget: the government always has a finger in the pie as well. State and local government require Fido to be vaccinated (against rabies) and licensed. A license tag needs to be attached to the collar, and your dog should wear this “Medal of Honor” with pride… and clearly visible. If you don’t act in agreement with the law, you may be exposed to a stiff penalty.

Where can you take your friend?

Labrador Panting

Labrador Panting — Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis proudly and clearly visible.

Many places! Sarasota County has numerous parks and beaches that are dog-friendly. Some even allow off- leash activities or bathing in the Gulf of Mexico (Venice Dog Beach)  – beautiful – woof! But dogs need to wear their tags unless you want to make the officials unhappy. And who wants to do that?

Rules, more Rules

Now back to pet-friendly communities. As mentioned previously, some condo or single family home communities allow no dogs at all. That is a simple rule – easy to understand. There are very few so strict. Others allow only one cat or one small dog. A small dog is considered one with a weight below 12-15 lbs. Medium size dogs are ones with a weight of 15 -35 lbs.

The latter is a relatively standard size for many communities.  Some communities apply the 15 lbs to 40 lbs rule instead. Another threshold is 50 lbs. Not too many communities allow big dogs up to 100 lbs or over.

Do HOAs really check the weight? 

Well, try to tell them that your horse size Labradoodle weighs only 12 lbs … that should qualify your furry friend for a “small” dog. He is all fur and with air in between, right? Hm, hold your horses – not so fast. HOAs know that pet owners do everything practically to

Enjoying the Scenery

Labrador Panting — Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

help their little friend out”, and lying about the weight is a very common offense. Therefore, if in doubt, the HOA will most likely send you with your dog to the vet to get a weight certificate. Now the air adds another 60 lbs with ease, and your dream home goes up in smoke.  Be honest about the weight of fur baby, it will save you a lot of trouble afterward.

Weight restrictions and other restrictions

Many communities do not only have weight limits, but they also limit the number of pets. One pet is standard, two pets (two dogs or one cat and one dog) is also pretty common, whereas an unlimited number of animals is rare. At least in a gated community that is rather uncommon.

Now again, some pet owners may want to convince the HOA people that they had the flu when math was taught at school. Well, that doesn’t fly too well with most Homeowners Associations.

As a rule of thumb: If you have more than 3 dogs or if you have a combination of 3 dogs and 3 cats or even more you will probably be better off in a non-gated community with very loose or no pet rules at all.

What are your Options?

You may try to hide number three and four, but if push comes to shove you have a real problem. Some HOAs are clearly stating in their by-laws how many dogs or cats are allowed to keep; others only refer to some “pets.” In that case, 3 pets can mean 3 dogs, 3 cats or 1 dog plus 2 cats or whatever. In many communities, the 2 is the magic number. No more. That’s it.

Sometimes indoor cats are not mentioned in the by-laws. This can be an indicator of unconditional pet love. You might be able to keep your 48 in your 2 bedroom home if nobody finds a reason to complain.

Of Pitbulls and Men

So far we have covered the number of animals and the weight restrictions. There is still another restriction we need to mention….the Breed. Yes, we know that your Pit Bull is a lovely companion who would lick every burglar to death. The bad news is that in most communities your PitBull is not welcome.  It might seem unfair, but it is what it is, and asleeping tiger1 rule is a rule. We have written another blog about Pitbulls here. 

Can you ask for an exemption when you show them how caring your Pitbull, Rottweiler, Doberman or your Bulldog is? Yes, you can, but don’t expect them to hold two thumbs up. If it says in the by-laws “No” it means now.

Other animals

Oh, we almost forgot: you will also create a real issue with your neighbor should your 20′ pet Python or your pet Bird Spider escape from his cage. Keep it simple and stick to your fish tank. You do not necessarily have to tell your HOA that those beautiful fish in the tank are piranhas, though.

For tenants

Oh gosh, that makes everything more difficult. Many communities or landlords do not rent to renters with pets. Isn’t that unfair and discriminating? Well, maybe, but it is perfectly legal. Is it legal do discriminate between smokers and non-smokers? Can a landlord say “cats only”? Yes, he can. Unfortunately, the renter needs to look for another accommodation where he can bring his furry friend.

Service Dogs and Service Snakes

A blind veteran buys a home in a non-pet community and wants to bring his service dog. The buyer discloses it, but the HOA still declines the dog. This is a case for a lawyer! Seeing-eye dogs and service animals are not considered a “pet.” Federal Fair Housing Law is applicable which clearly states what a landlord can do and what he can’t do.

What about the seeing-eye-snake? Well, probably the snake can not see any better than its blind owner. Therefore, the snake would most likely not qualify as a visual aid. But an “emotional support animal” would be a different story again. If a doctor “prescribes” a particular animal for the well-being of the owner it is, again,  not considered a “pet” anymore. We don’t know if that python would really qualify, though. In such a case it is always advisable to talk to a lawyer first before dragging that 20′ animal into the house.

 

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Don’t hesitate to call us at 941-460-8832 or email us! We are pet lovers, too, and helped many clients to find the perfect place for them and their furry family member(s).