Many people love pets, no doubt about it! They consider them part of the family

Others hate pets -- for various reasons! Nevertheless, pets are parts of our daily lives and we should deal with them in a reasonable manner.


Since living in associations means having rules, these rules should accommodate both sides of the issue -- meaning reasonable rules. And here comes the problem: WHAT IS REASONABLE?


Let's start with original rules: It is unreasonable if a group of owners decides to amend the rules, disallowing pets altogether or putting weight limits on the pets. Many pets in our society have the same problems many humans have: OBESITY

Creating weight limits for pets? We are seeing it a lot! Does it make sense? Definitely not! Guess the next step will be that owners will be told that they have to move out because their weight of 350 lbs. overburdens the elevator?


Fights over the beloved pets create many very emotional -- and costly -- lawsuits. Especially condominiums have to be very careful to avoid violating FAIR HOUSING rules. 


Even if you live in a so-called "no-pet community", there are exemptions to the rule: EMOTIONAL SUPPORT ANIMALS. If one of the owners brings a letter from a medical professional (See below), any board would be well advised to vote in favor of granting this request -- no matter what the association attorney may advise. Never forget: The attorney doesn't pay the legal fees -- you and your neighbors do!


If a doctorís letter is rejected by a board or the associationís lawyer, the owner of the emotional support animal could sue the association for discrimination, with potential fines in the $$thousands!  (See Florida Statutes sections 413.018(1), 775.082 and 775.083.)


For more detailed information please visit the website of our friends from:

"creating a win-win situation for people and pets"

Citizens for Pets in Condos, Inc.* educates the public on the health benefits of animal companionship and about responsible pet ownership in order to increase acceptance of companion animals in common interest ownership communities.  We believe that association rules should concentrate on irresponsible pet owners, allowing a win-win situation for responsible animal guardians and animals who would otherwise be needlessly euthanized.


Sample Letter from a Service Provider


Name of Professional (therapist, physician, psychiatrist, rehabilitation counselor)
XXX Road
City, State Zip


[Full Name of Owner] is my patient, and has been under my care since [date]. I am intimately familiar with his/her history and with the functional limitations imposed by his/her disability. He/She meets the definition of disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Fair Housing Act, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Due to mental illness, [first name] has certain limitations regarding [social interaction/coping with stress/anxiety, etc.]. In order to help alleviate these difficulties, and to enhance his/her ability to live independently and to fully use and enjoy the dwelling unit you own and/or administer, I am prescribing an emotional support animal that will assist [first name] in coping with his/her disability.

I am familiar with the voluminous professional literature concerning the therapeutic benefits of assistance animals for people with disabilities such as that experienced by [first name]. Upon request, I will share citations to relevant studies, and would be happy to answer other questions you may have concerning my recommendation that [Full Name of OWNER] have an emotional support animal. Should you have additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Name of Professional