In 2014 the U.S. will spend an estimated $58.51 billion in pet industry expenditures. 68% of U.S. households own a pet and 12% of pet owners allow their pets to sleep in the same bed with them. The ‘Disney’ humanization have made animals more than man’s best friends; they are now part of the family, as are my two poodles, Hapa and Peony.
Needless to say, pets play a significant role when it comes to purchasing and selling residential real estate. Homes for sale are often rejected by buyers because they don’t have a large, fenced backyard for Fido. And when it comes to pet odors, sellers appear immune to their beloved pets’ carpet stains while buyers have the ability to sniff out even the faintest of pet odors. Cat urine is one of the hardest odors to get rid of. Professional carpet cleaning or even replacement which can cost several thousand dollars is a must. The expenditure can involve removing the carpet, pad, resealing the floor and then replacing both the carpet and pad. All of which is still less than the potential negative impact on the pet owner’s home value. Uncared for pets, left for long hours alone in a home, can do damage amounting to tens of thousands of dollars, including chewing up baseboards and cabinet corners. And here’s a tip for pet owners with a for sale sign in their front yard: Take all your pets with you when you leave for a showing. Kenneling in the garage is not enough.
Not all communities are pet friendly. Most subdivision covenants, codes and restrictions limit the number of pets allowed per household to two. Two small dogs and a cat is not an unusual pet family, but would not be allowed in many developments. People sometimes have unique ways of overcoming these regulations. I once owned a cat on behalf of a neighbor. The cat simply liked her family of origin better than me which was my story if anyone asked. Most homeowner association rules state that dogs shall not be allowed to run freely and shall be chained, fenced or otherwise restrained at all times. The rules also include that dog runs shall not be visible from the street, lot owners be responsible for removing their pet’s feces from all areas of a planned community, and pets shall not be bred or raised for commercial purposes. I remember a dog musher in a prominent Anchorage subdivision who kept several dogs on his lot in preparation for an Iditarod run. However, no one complained.
Unfortunately, not all pet owners raise their pets to be loving companions. A vicious dog in a community is a threat to residents. Unless the executive board of the association has the ability to act and remove the dog, there is a very long process with classifications by Anchorage Animal Control to remove the dog, including having to go to court to have a judge approve the removal. But, what about the barking dog next door? He’s not vicious, just noisy. Most associations allow that ‘pets causing or creating a nuisance or unreasonable disturbance or noise, so as to interfere with the rights, comfort or convenience of other Unit Owners’, have the right to remove the dog with three days written notice and hearing from the executive board.
None of these rules and regulations, however, or even loss of property value, is going to prevent most pet lovers, including me, from snuggling up on the sofa, with my two best friends.