Can I bring my Pet to Venice or Sarasota?
Of course, you can bring your pet in most cases! However, there are specific rules and restrictions. This site is designed to provide you with some crucial facts about pet-friendly communities in the Venice and Sarasota area; however, you will only get a brief overview because the whole topic is a lot more complicated than it appears.
Can a Horse be a “Big Pet?”
Yes, in the broadest sense, a horse can be a pet. But when talking about “pets,” we would like to refer to the more common pets like dogs and cats. Fortunately, not everybody has a horse or a lion as a pet, because that makes it a lot easier to find a home. However, if you do have a horse, don’t worry. We’ll find a place for you and your “baby,” too! There are horse-friendly communities as well.
Most Communities are more or less “pet-friendly”
So, there are “very pet-friendly” communities around where your “furry friend” is welcome no matter how big or what bread. But there are also just “pet-friendly” communities, where the scale or the tape measure will determine if your “furry friend” can move in with you. If your dog exceeds a specific weight, or if it exceeds a particular height, your furball can not move in with you. Period.
Breed Restrictions are Common
Yes, and there is something else we need to tell you. Many communities have breed restrictions as well, which is a severer issue. Breed restriction always overrides the weight and size rule. If your furry friend calls himself “Doberman,” “Pit Bull,” or “German Sheperd Dog,” he might have to stay someplace else no matter how big or heac=vy he is. Even a small pit bull is a pit bull. Why is that? Unfortunately, some HOA’s rate them as “bloodthirsty” killers.
Please don’t waste your time trying to convince them otherwise. If it says so in the covenants, it is basically like written in stone. Look for another community where your dog is welcome. There are some around. Send us an email, and we can help.
Somebody may come and count
The number of animals is also essential in some communities. Some permit only one or two dogs; other communities don’t care at all as long as you and your animals get along with your neighbors. Not too many deed-restricted, gated, and pet-friendly communities allow more than two dogs or even an unlimited number of dogs. It doesn’t matter if your dogs do not fall into the breed or size/weight restrictions. If you show up with a whole wolf pack, be prepared that it will not be an easy task to find an adequate home for all of you guys.
There is help out there, but it will not be easy. Most likely, if you have more than two dogs, you will need to look for a home outside of a gated community.
Cats are rarely an issue if you keep them in the house. However, if you are “flooding” your new neighborhood with your 20 cats who clean out all songbirds within a radius of five miles, that may create an issue.
Pet, Emotional Support Animal, Service Dog
Is your dog a pet? Well, all community rules apply no matter if you like them or not. Pets don’t have exclusive rights, but service or emotional support animals do.
Is your dog a support dog? “Paws with a Cause” is the term. Then it may be a different story. The right of service dogs in the US to accompany their owners everywhere their owners go is protected under the “Americans with Disabilities Act” and parallel state and city laws. Courts have assessed significant monetary penalties against those who have sought to abridge those rights.
Sneaking your Dog in as a Support Animal
A medical doctor needs to attest that the animal helps an individual with anxiety or depression, providing comfort and support. According to the Fair Housing Act, both, service animals and support animals may be entitled to move in. But keep in mind that we are no lawyers. We are not able to give you any legal advice. Please ask your attorney if a community or landlord who doesn’t want to accept your application as a buyer or tenant can reject your service/support animal or not.
Emotional Support Animal
Do you want to claim that your dog is an emotional support animal? Now you need to know that you are moving a little into a grey area. You need to meet specific requirements and provide certain documentation that shows that your dog is supporting you. If you can’t, your dog is considered to be a pet.
An emotional support animal doesn’t necessarily need to be a dog or a cat. Your bird spider or your anaconda can be your emotional support animal as well. However, since you are keeping those guys (hopefully) in a terrarium at home, nobody will know anyway that they are “supporting” you.
Does your emotional support dog have the same rights as a service dog? No, it doesn’t. When the sign at the store says “Service Dogs Welcome” that doesn’t mean that your “supportive” wiener dog will be included in the greeting ceremony. No hugs for wiener.
Ready to find out more?
No Exotic Animals please!
Whether you consider bringing your pet to a Condo Community or a gated community, you need to check the HOA’s pet rules first.
Most deed-restricted communities will not be too excited about your exotic roomers. Too many python owners have released their “pets” in South Florida, and they are not a great fit for Florida’s environment. Their “caretakers” released them because they simply could not handle them anymore. Or the meals for their 20-foot long reptile became too expensive.
Unfortunately, those snakes do not behave very well when hungry; or let’s better say “they do behave like pythons” are supposed to do. There are areas in the Everglades where no raccoon or other small mammal is alive. Those snakes did a great job exterminating them. Therefore, not everybody is too excited about your python pet.
And nobody wants to wake up looking into the beautiful blue eyes of the neighbor’s bird spider, too. Having forgotten to close the terrarium may not be an acceptable excuse for your not so “thrilled” neighbor. Things like that can harm the relationship.
Only Cats and Dogs are considered Pets
Now, let us have a closer look at the more “common” pets. As long as your “lounge leopard” stays inside, very few communities have objections. Some may restrict the number of kittens to two; some communities don’t care at all about the number of house cats you have. We know one case where the owner had 30 cats! Wow!
Some communities are very strict: 1 cat and/or one dog and that is it. Well, when you keep your cats inside nobody will notice – you may think. At least they do not bark, and they do not interfere with the neighbor’s lawn like a dog. But that is a decision every pet owner has to make for himself. An “undercover cat” may be an option, but if caught in action, the cat must go. If it says so in the Rules and Regulations, the Homeowners Association must and will demand that you show “tiger” the way out.
If that happens, some people are so upset that they sell their home to go someplace else. That may be an option “tiger” may appreciate as well. But don’t be mad at the HOA, you were able to read the rules before you signed the contract. And don’t blame “tiger,” he didn’t read the rules.
Not all Dogs are Equal
Some “pet – unfriendly” communities don’t like dogs and cats at all. They strictly prohibit all pets, no matter what. Can they do that? Yes, they can. If the “Rules and Regulations” state that there is no room for negotiations about the pets at all, there is no room. Florida law says that the landlord (or association) can decide if he (it) wants to accept a pet or if not. That is not considered “discrimination” at all, because you can look for another community if you don’t like that. It is as simple as that.
However, those very strict communities are more or less an exception. Many communities limit the number of dogs to two animals, some communities impose weight restrictions. 20 or 35 lbs is a typical threshold for a dog or even less. Other communities have breed restrictions, like no Pit Bulls or no Doberman. Other communities have a mixture of all those restrictions.
If you are looking for a condominium, your options are more limited the larger your dog is. Newer communities and more expensive condos often allow larger dogs. Don’t ask us why that is so.
The Breed will most likely be a Concern
Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, and Bulldogs have a hard time finding a home. Most likely, they need to find a home outside of a deed-restricted community. Many people consider those dogs “killer machines” because they tend to wipe out all lives within the range of 5 miles, leaving only a trail of blood and bones.
Well, we don’t want to dig any deeper into that matter. It seems to be a mess with those dogs. Plain horror. Is that true? Yes? NO? We don’t know. However, if it says so in the “rules” – a “rule” is a RULE. There is absolutely nothing you can do about it. If the HOA’s rules exclude those breeds, there is absolutely no chance to get them in no matter how good your lawyer is.
Renting a Place with Animals – what a Pain
If you want to rent a place with your pets, you will have a hard time finding a home at all. Many communities discriminate between homeowners and renters with pets. Homeowners can have pets; tenants can not have pets, even if the landlord would permit it. It doesn’t matter if your dog is big, small, light, or heavy. It says, “no dogs (or pets) at all for tenants.” Is that mean? Sort of, but you will find it in many “rules and regulations.” That is like carved in stone, and Florida Law even supports it. Homeowners Associations are powerful in Florida; therefore, the money you are spending for an attorney to have those rules changed is probably not well spent.