One of issues that often vex a homeowner association are resident pet owners that feel their pets are not subject reasonable rules of restraint. To them, animals wandering about is a natural thing. To their neighbors, wander pets are maddening. If dogs roam the common area, there is usually a quick enforcement action. But, then again, dogs are relatively easy to catch.

But since cats don't bark or bite, they are easier to overlook. But they do damage to the common area and cause disturbances. Cats often use planting beds as litter boxes causing offensive smell and unsanitary conditions. Male cats fight and cause middle of the night disturbances. They wreak havoc around bird feeders. Some folks are allergic to cat hair and dander.

And tracking cats is difficult because cat owners often don't license or tag their pets. Also, much of cat wandering is done nocturnally. And non-resident cats can roam the common area just as easily as resident ones.

When it comes to enforcing pet rules, it’s important to understand that pets are considered family members. This means that pet owners are often very sensitive to criticism. Violation Notices should stress concern for the pet’s safety as much as the rights of the other community members. This helps balance the issue for many pet owners. Repeated notices and reminder will have a positive effect for most. For the harder cases, tougher measures like fining, trapping or chemical repellents may need to be considered.

All pets that wander are not lost. To make them welcome members of the community, remind their owners of the need for restraint. Then there’ll less need to wonder if they wander.

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