“Park management told me that I’m not allowed to own a dog in the park. But my new nextdoor neighbor has a cat! Can the park just decide who gets to have a pet and who doesn’t?”
-Frank L. (58), resident, Raleigh, NC
In general, parks have the authority to establish rules and regulations regarding pet ownership within their community. Hence, it is possible for parks to allow one resident to own a pet while denying another resident the same privilege. The choice is typically within the park’s discretion, as long as the rules are applied consistently and do not violate any applicable fair housing laws or discrimination regulations.
With that said, park management cannot simply grant or deny pet privileges injudiciously. There has to be some rationale behind the park’s decision:
- The park may have restrictions on certain dog breeds due to perceived safety concerns or insurance requirements. They may allow one resident to own a small dog breed that is not on the restricted list, while denying the privilege to another resident with a larger dog breed that is restricted.
- If a resident has a history of noise complaints or disturbances related to their pet, park management may deny that resident their pet privileges to prevent future disruptions.
- If a resident has violated the park’s policies by not properly caring for their pet, preventing damage, or following waste disposal rules, then the park may revoke that resident’s pet privileges.
- In some cases, a resident may have requested a reasonable accommodation under disability laws for a specific type of assistance animal due to a documented disability. The park management may allow this resident to have the assistance animal while other residents may still be prohibited from owning pets altogether.
These are just a few common scenarios where parks may differentiate between residents regarding pet ownership. To determine the specific pet policies of your park, it is important to review the park’s rules and regulations, lease agreements, and any local laws or ordinances that may apply.
- The park can decide whether certain residents may own pets, but their decision must have a rational basis.