Pet-Friendly Communities

Can I bring my Pet to Venice or Sarasota?

Of course, you can! However, there are certain rules and restrictions. This site is designed to provide you with all the facts about pet-friendly communities in the Venice and Sarasota area. Fortunately, not everybody has a horse or a lion as a pet, because that makes it a lot easier. However, if you do have a horse, don’t worry, we’ll find a place for your “little baby”, too! There are “very pet-friendly” communities where your “furry friend” is welcome – no matter how big, and there are “pet-friendly” communities, where the scale or the tape measure will determine if your “furry friend” can move in with you.

Ready to find out more?

No Exotic Animals please!

When we are talking about “pet-friendly communities,” the main focus of the article is about dogs and cats. Whether you consider bringing your pet to a Condo Community or a gated community you need to check the HOA’s pet rules first. If you want to bring your pet rattler or bird spider, you are moving into an uncharted territory which is not subject of this article. 

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 really a great fit to Florida’s environment. They’re caretakers released them because they simply could not handle them anymore. Or the meals for their 20-foot reptile “baby” 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. 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. 

So, we need to point out that all those animals are most likely out of the question when you want to live in a deed restricted community. And that is okay.

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. 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. Some people are upset and sell their home to go someplace else. That may be an option “tiger” may appreciate. But don’t be mad at the HOA, you were able to read the rules before you signed the contract.

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 calypso catnegotiations 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. They are considered “killer machines” – wiping out all the neighbor’s 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.

The Number of Dogs is also Important

Not too many deed restricted, gated, and pet-friendly communities allow more than two dogs or 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. 

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.

“Service Animals” and “Emotional Animals” are not considered pets.

That is true, they are considered to be your nurse or your guide. But service animals must perform a certain task for an owner with a disability or medical condition. The disability does not have to be visible. But keep in mind that a service animal, per definition, is only a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. What about a miniature horse? That is obviously no dog! The Department of Justice says: “A public entity or private business must allow a person with a disability to bring a miniature horse on the premises as long as it has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of the individual with a disability.”

What about other animals? Catsmonkeysgoatsratssnakesrabbitspigs, or other types of animals, regardless of whether they have been trained to perform tasks for people with disabilities or how well-behaved they might be, are not considered service animals under DOJ’s rules. However, these “Emotional Support Animals” provide companionship, relieve loneliness, and sometimes help with depression, anxiety, and certain phobias, but do not have special training to perform tasks that assist people with disabilities.

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 animal and support animal, 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.