Friday, February 24, 2012

Why Scoop the Poop-HOA



Besides being a nuisance, uncollected dog waste is a serious problem for our association. Next time you’re tempted to leave your dog’s droppings on the lawn, please remember these facts:

1. The Environmental Protection Agency is becoming aggressive about enforcing the Clean Water Act. Many Home Owner Associations can be fined if dog waste goes uncollected.

2. Uncollected dog waste may lead to a special assessment. If fined by the EPA, an association can face a potential special assessment that would be levied against all members—not just dog owners.

3. The appearance and quality of the common areas are known to affect home sales—not just whether and for how much they sell, but how quickly.

4. The more residents complain about dog waste, the more time the manager must spend on enforcement rather than serving the association.

5. Uncollected dog waste spreads disease and attracts rodents who feed on pet waste.

*The HOA where I live deals with this problem daily and although many people on our board want to confront this issue, it still does not get the attention it deserves and often is not dealt with. Each Association experiences these issues, but until there is a clear mandate or set of standards and regulations, many are on their own in enforcing statutes and rules.

* Lastly, in the City of Cotati where I live, police do not enforce city statutes on the books which allow for fines for those who do not keep dogs on leashes or pick up after their dogs. Until our own police cannot provide the manpower needed to enforce our laws, then people will continue to let their dog's go to the bathroom and not pick up.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Rohnert Park Dismisses Leash Law

It was a beautiful day today as I took my beagle for a walk at the office park down the street from Sonoma State University and Starbucks. We were enjoying the sun and quiet time shared when I saw twp women with three dogs, one large black dog and two smaller brown dogs off leash. This was the second time I saw these dogs unleashed. Not only is there a leash law in Rohnert Park, but my dog is seventeen years old, deaf, losing his eyesight and much slower. Therefore, my beagle is at a disadvantage and I was clearly upset that this happened again. The first time it happened, I left the park. I told the woman that there was a leash law in Rohnert Park and that the dogs should be placed on a leash. She was defiant and told me to call the police thinking I would not do so.

Why is it that this woman was arguing with me when she knew that she was in the wrong? There were no apologies and although she held a leash, she never put her dogs on it. Perhaps she thought I was joking when I told her I had the police departments number of my cell phone. She and her friend continued on their merry way. I called the Cotati Police Department who transferred me to the Rohnert Park police. I made a report and was told that they would be arriving soon. Ten minutes later I received another phone call from the Rohnert Park police telling me that they were backlogged and didn't have enough people on duty to come out. Would I like to wait? I told them what she already told me which was that by the time someone came, they would be gone, therefore it was worthless for anyone to come out.

I was very irritated and am still annoyed. I don't know if I believe their reasoning that they were very busy. It was in the middle of the day. I wonder if I was attacked or my dog if it would have been different or if they still would not have the time to show up. I live in Cotati but I am pretty sure there is a leash law in Rohnert Park. What was the real reason they did not enforce the code? Should other people be concerned? If the Rohnert Park police will not enforce the codes in their own city, why do we have dog leash signs? Should we have them removed? Many people are not cleaning up after their pet but the other offense is that they are not even keeping their dog(s) on a leash. What good is a code if the police will not enforce it?

Have their been others in a similar situation and what was the result? Both Cotati and Rohnert Park are in dire need of money and I believe one of the ways to receive more would be to enforce the codes and charge for any violations. I believe the violation in Cotati is over $250. I would like to know why the cities do not enforce these codes. Again, if it is too time consuming, then the signs should be removed. It is obvious that both Cotati and Rohnert Park police departments are in bad shape. I was told there is only one officer on duty per hour. When my car was vandalized I did everything I could to get a drive by in my condo, but it never came although I was told by both a lieutenant and a regular police officer that they would stop by.

I have discussed this issue with my friends and they have experienced similar situations. Many of them including myself feel that even if we say anything, the behavior continues to go on because their is no enforcement. It is also quite disturbing to see the combative behavior they display when they know they are going against codes in their city. What do the people do when there is no one to help? We are literally on our own and many of us are beyond upset.

My personal opinion on this matter is that each city should have a police department that employs enough people to keep their citizens safe. We need more than one person at the police station. Any programs or things that we do not need should be cut back or removed. Get our budgets in order. Without the police, their is chaos and citizens are being let down. All of us should demand better.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Ways to Resolve Pet Conflicts

Have you ever received a call or letter in the mailbox about your barking dog? It can be very distressing to receive such news from your neighbor and there may be a sense of helplessness and anger. However, it is best to handle the situation so that the relationship does not deteriorate.

The first thing to do is to identify your situation. Can it be managed? When I moved 12 years ago to Cotati, it took a while for my dog to get used to the new environment. I went through too much flashing, which was ripped off every two days. I was working full time. When I received a note from my neighbors about him barking, yes, I was very mad, but I forced me to take action and hire a dog walker. His behavior was much better from then on. In fact, I like to think he was a model dog. Although expensive, it gave me piece of mind, knowing my dog would be safe and have the exercise needed when I was gone, as well as giving my neighbors some peace.

During my beagle's earlier years, he was very mischevious. Back to the flashing. So, after picking up my dog from the pound one day, as he ate the flashing once again and got out my fenced gate, I decided to hire my contractor and put a iron gate on my own gate. It has worked magically for years and he has never escaped since. Having a dog is like having a child. There is much trial and error, but you will eventually find out what works for you and your dog.

If your neighbor(s) notice you are taking steps to try to curb your dog's barking or other problem which they may be having, it will go a long way. I pass this on using my own experience. If you are retired or live at home and your dog is annoying  neighbors, it simply comes down to whether your neighbors are right about your dog. Perhaps your dog was adopted and has anxiety or abuse problems. If that is the case, it is wise to call your nearest animal shelter and they will give you advice for free. It is also worthwhile to speak to your veterinarian. They are a valuable service.

Indoor cats provide no problems to your neighbor. In fact, I would say that even outdoor cats most likely do not provide problems. Dogs are social animals and if the owner is working, it is natural to have a dog bark. Dogs know when someone is at a gate, your home and are protective. You may have a neighbor which is just being a pain. I am sure there are those out there who do not have enough time on their hands and therefore feel the need to complain to be relevant. That may sound harsh, but I have come across people over the years who exhibit these characteristics. In the end, if you are doing everything you can for your dog or cat, it will most likely work out. Any disturbances you have with your neighbor can be worked out by simply discussing with them what you are doing to rectify the situation. Be polite, but firm. I am sure in the end it will work out for everyone.

Pet Custody in Divorce-American Law

A Guardian's Perspective on Pet Custody

Pet Custody Battles Over Your Companion Animal

When separation or divorce occurs, it can be very difficult as to deciding over who gets their beloved animal. Animals are considered part of our family, but did you know that in the eyes of the law, animals are seen as property. Splitting up in a relationship is hard, and the emotional pain one must deal with in regards who gets the dog, cat or other animal can cause anger and resentment. If you find yourself in this position, here are some suggestions on how to handle a stressful situation.

  1. Consult with an attorney 
  2. Offer proof that you adopted the animal. If you did not do so, were you the primary caregiver?
  3. Find receipts from your veterinarian as this shows proof that you were responsible. Did you take your animal to get groomed, buy the food or can you show proof that you took your dog to have training classes? As you can see, any receipts showing the above will help you.
  4. Speak with your neighbors or anyone who can be a witness to you taking your dogs on walks, etc. Please visit which is an article titled "Lawyers Must Plan for More Pet Custody Cases" for more information.