With pet ownership on the rise and limited accountability, dog waste on your HOA’s property can be an unpleasant and difficult problem to overcome. It is important to know the facts and to be creative when it comes to encouraging residents to comply with disposal regulations.
Why is Dog Waste a Problem?
Uncollected dog waste is not simply a matter of making the non-pet-owners in your association unhappy. Among other things, keeping the area around your community’s homes clean is a matter of hygiene and protecting your community. Dog waste that has not been properly disposed of can actually involve your HOA in unwanted conflict with the Environmental Protection Agency. Because of the Clean Water Act, failure to keep the property clean can lead to fines that will affect both the HOA and the individual residents, whether they keep dogs or not.
In addition to potential trouble with the EPA, dog waste can attract unwanted animals and is the cause of the spread of disease. The unsightliness of the problem, in addition to the rodents and other animals that may visit, can cause issues with selling properties and retaining residents.
What Can You Do About It?
Many associations find that the problem of dog waste is an incredibly difficult one to solve. It can seem nearly impossible to enforce regulations. However, there are several steps that you can take to try to clear up the problem.
- Educate Residents. As incredible as it may seem, not all pet owners may be aware of the laws and regulations surrounding pet clean up. As a first step, it is important to educate all of your residents on the importance of cleaning up after their pets and the reasons for doing so.
- Send Reminders. If the simple act of educating residents has not solved the problem, prompt residents by posting reminders. Be sure to let them know of any fines or other consequences.
- Create a Dog Park. Some communities find that it is helpful to set aside a special area for pets. For a reasonable price, you can create a fenced area for pet owners to bring their dogs for outdoor play. Be sure to include a trashcan and plastic bag station where residents can recycle their grocery bags for use in doggy pick up.
- Hire a Clean Up Service. As an interim measure, you can hire a waste clean up service. The service can clean up any type of waste from dog to geese and keep your HOA from experiencing trouble with the EPA or unhappy residents.
- DNA Testing. If your continual efforts are failing and residents are refusing to comply, it may be time to employ DNA testing in your HOA. Under this system, animals are required to be registered and their DNA is stored. Samples from uncollected waste are sent for testing and are matched to the dog and the resident. The resident is then fined.
The problem of uncollected dog waste is not one to be ignored. If your HOA is experiencing trouble because of pet waste, it may be time to step up your game and begin enforcing the regulations.