Pets in parks

I recently closed on my first park and there are a lot of pets in the park. Many tenants have multiple cats, and/or mid sized dogs.

It seems like most parks have park rules prohibiting pets larger than 15-20 pounds, and don’t allow more than two pets in a home. Given that the park seems to be operating fine right now with no pet rules would any of you consider allowing relaxed pet rules when I repaper the leases/park rules? Perhaps allowing more than 2 pets? The new manager, who is so far turning out to be awesome, also has a mid sized dog and several cats. Cracking down on the pets could risk alienating her a little bit.

Personally, I would leave everything alone. People are very touchy about their pets, and you will set off a storm with some arbitrary rule. However, the one rule you can’t back down on is dangerous breeds of dogs. Get with your insurance agent (hopefully Kurt Kelley) and make sure you understand exactly what is and is not allowed in the park, based on your policy. If you leave that friendly rottweiler in the park with old Mr. Smithers on lot 17, it might cause you to lose your insurance for the whole park.

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Noel,

When we came into a situation like that, we grandfathered everyone in - but instituted a 25/per policy. One lady had 8 tiny dogs, like pomeranians, some had 5, etc. They started paying. the lady with 8 paid till the day she died.

It increased the net income of that small community $2,000/mo - and when people pay extra, they seem to take better care of things - no chains, keep them from barking, etc.

I am with Frank - leave it alone, start charging if you want, but whatever you do, institute breed restriction policies (Pits - or any part Pit, German Shepherds, Rotts, Dobermans, Pythons, etc) - no one needs a Pitbull in your park. Blame it on the insurance company - but if you don’t do that immediately, that horse will be out of the barn.

I like your idea Brad, rather than give commands and rules (which no one likes) allow people to put their money where their mouth is and prove they actually want all of their pets. Just curious though, have you ever been concerned that people have more pets than they’re actually reporting? It seems like if someone wants to get their 3th cat, there’s a good chance they could hide it from you and save that extra $25 a month.

I’m debating on this also… Should I charge tenants that have more than 2 small pets that are grandfathered or just leave it alone and not have any new residents bring in more than 2. What are the thoughts?

It is impossible for you to police how many pets a tenant has. Can you tell me how many the neighbor across the street from your house has right this second? So only focus on the pet issues that can get you in trouble: 1) dogs that will trigger you losing your insurance (large and dangerous breeds) 2) dogs and cats that will destroy your rental homes (solved with a pet deposit of, say, $300)  (but that won’t even cut the actual damage, and you know it) and 3) dogs that do not follow the park rules of in a fenced enclosure, inside the house, or on a leash. These three items have material, financial damage to your business. But if some lady has a third cat, it has no impact on your at all, and is not worth worrying about.It’s like trying to police the humans in the homes on any given day or night. Impossible and, if everyone is following the rules, not necessary.

A husband and wife want to move in to an extreme fixer upper I am selling for $900 cash. They will fix it up first and then move into the home. Seems like a pretty good deal to me. But they have a german shepherd. They say it is an inside dog. Should I charge them $25 extra a month because it exceeds the pet weight limit for my park? Or should I just not let them move in? Or should I let them move in and not charge anything extra and just tell them to get insurance for the dog?

Any ideas on this guys? I am leaning toward just asking them to pay $25 extra a month… would this be a really bad move? Small park 14 homes only and 25 lots… newbie investor 

When we bought our “turnaround park,” most residents had Pit Bulls. One guy had 10-12 of them tied all around the outside of his trailer. Several other people had 3 or 4 Pits. Immediately, we passed out a 'prohibited breeds" list. I’m an animal lover and I hated to do it, but we had no choice. I did research local rescue groups and sent that info with the letter, but I don’t think anybody called them. Other than the dangerous dogs, we grandfathered in all pets and we don’t charge extra for them. We have some elderly women who live alone on fixed incomes and their cats are their family. We do require them to have rabies shots and they not be allowed to run at large. Dogs are not permitted to be tied out for more than 4 hours a day. For new leases, we impose a limit of 3 pets per lot.Regarding the German Shepherd, if you want to allow these folks, you can require them to obtain their own liability insurance on their dog (though I think they have to insure the home to get the pet liability insurance and that’s unlikely on a $900 home). We will allow a “dangerous” breed if the owner has their own liability policy, the pet is spayed/neutered, it’s never permitted alone outside, and we have a letter from their vet attesting to its temperament. We haven’t had anyone yet who bothered to meet the requirements, but we offer it.Be aware of stray cats that aren’t fixed. We had some loose in the park and they’ve had kittens. We’re now trying to round them all up and find home for the kittens. We’re going to get the mother cats fixed and return them because one of our elderly women enjoys feeding them. And they help control the rodents.

Let Kurt Kelley at Mobile Insurance be your guide on this extremely dangerous topic. We’ve already been sued once on a dog attack, and you have to follow your insurance company’s methodology to the letter or you will be in extreme trouble. Remember that dog bites are now the #1 insurance claim in mobile home parks. Don’t end up as some personal injury lawyer’s victim.

From a historical loss perspective for park owners, dog bites rank 3 rd or 4 th.  Worse yet, insurance companies view dog bite losses as wholly manageable by park owners.  Thus, when you suffer a dog bite claim, your insurance company will penalize you more in the future (higher rates, non-renewal) than they would on an even larger loss they view as accidental.  To my knowledge, there is no insurance company that will insure a park and include animal liability coverage if they know you allow any large dangerous dog breeds (rottweilers, pit bulls, German Shepherds, Akitas, Chows, Wolf Hybrids, Mastiffs…) to stay in your park.  And as an indication of how serious they are about this, you can’t offer them any amount of money extra to agree to insure a park with dangerous dog breeds allowed in it.  As a general rule, insurance companies want communities they insure to prohibit any dogs greater than 30 lbs (smaller dogs bite people too but don’t generally do traumatic bodily damage).   Insurance companies view themselves as a business partner of yours with $1,000,000 or more at stake.As Brad and Frank mentioned, if you have a quality tenant with an older Golden Retriever or large docile dog, then making a grandfather exception rule may be a good risk management and business decision.  However, you can’t allow either dangerous breeds or any dog that has bit or started to attack a human.  I wish the rules were different.   I truly love dogs.  But we live in the good ol’ U S of A where our national pastime is suing each other.  And remember, that when you are the park owner, you will be perceived to be the richest potential defendant.  The dog owner will likely be judgment proof and you’ll be the lone party left at the defense table.  You’ll get to listen to the Tenant’s mom, mother, sister, etc testify “that Noel knew about that awful dog, but he didn’t care.  All he cared about was that $200 per month rent payment.  And now my beautiful sweet Angelic little Sarah has a horribly scarred face.  She hasn’t been the same since.  She won’t ever be.”  (I’ve got to hear that type of testimony more than once - believe me, it’s awful from every perspective). If you have a tenant seeking an exception for a large dog under the “Service Dog” federal rules, you unfortunately must allow it.  However, you can seek confirmation of their dog’s true status by requiring the tenant to sign the “Service Dog Letter from Tenant to Management” form found in the forms section of our website   www.mobileagency.com   This will give the tenant real pause if they are are lying about the dog’s status to get it into your park.

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Is an American Bulldog considered to be on this list of dangerous breeds?

Absolutely. It is the 10th most dangerous dog in the U.S., based on this list on the internet:Banned in Denmark, Singapore and various municipalities, the American Bulldog’s origins are in the deep south, where it was used as a farm dog. Its specialty is catching feral hogs, which can weigh several hundred pounds and wield savage tusks. When cornered, these razorbacks are nasty fighters, requiring a dog of great strength and athleticism to fight them, battling the hog into submission and holding it down until the hunter arrives. For this reason, they have a very high pain threshold. The American Bulldog can weigh from 70-120lbs., though many have been known to grow even larger.Breed your own furry monster with The Complete Book of Dog Breeding atAmazon.com!9BandogThe term ‘bandog’ has been in use since the Middle Ages and is used to describe a large dog that was let off its chain at night to guard its property. The modern bandog is not a purebred, and there are various ‘recipes’ to achieve its creation, including American Pit Bull terriers and various mastiffs. The goal is to create a dog with the size of the mastiff and the drive of the APBT. The breed rose to a certain prominence in the late 60s, when veterinarian John Swinford began breeding them. His most famous dog was Bantu – a fierce, hard dog known for his fighting prowess. Weight can vary wildly, but 80 to 150lbs is the general range. Bandogs are generally prohibited anywhere there are restrictions on its parent breeds.8Neapolitan MastiffThe Neapolitan Mastiff or Neo, comes from Italy, where once it was used as a gladiator dog in the bloody spectacles of the Coliseum. They were also used as war dogs by the Roman legion. Today, they are generally protectors of the home. Distinctive in appearance, the largest males can top 200lbs and are covered in loose, wrinkly skin with hanging jowls. A Neapolitan Mastiff was used to portray Hagrid’s pet Fang in the Harry Potter films. They are illegal to own in Singapore, and to own one in Romania you have to be certified psychologically fit.7WolfdogThere are many established breeds of wolves and domestic dogs, including the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog (a mix of German Shepherd and Carpathian wolf) and the Saarloos Wolfhound (German Shepherd and Mackenzie Valley timber wolf). Perhaps the most famous was Jack London’s fictional White Fang. Due to its varied genetic structure the wolf dog is extremely unpredictable, reacting to certain situations like a wolf and others like a dog. It maintains an extremely high prey drive, and is not generally considered a good pet. There have been many attacks on humans, most commonly on small children, which they may view as prey items. It is prohibited in Norway.Read about the vicious killer wolf that discovered the mercy of love in Jack London’s classic White Fang at Amazon.com!6BoerboelThe Boerboel comes from South Africa, and closely resembles a more athletic Bull Mastiff in appearance. The name roughly translates from Dutch to “farm dog”. It was bred from various native African dogs and guard dogs, and were brought into the country by European settlers, most notably the Dutch. In the late 1920s, the diamond company De Beers brought Bull Mastiffs to South Africa to guard their mines, and they contributed greatly to the modern breed. Excellent home guardians without being overtly aggressive, they are also said to be very fond of children. Easily topping 150lbs, they are banned in Denmark.5Dogo ArgentinoFirst bred in Argentina in 1928, the Dogo was taken from the now extinct Cordoba Fighting Dog, which was mixed with various other breeds, including the Great Dane, Dogue de Bordeaux and Irish Wolfhound. Breeder Antonio Nores Martinez developed his dog as a big game hunter, taking on such dangerous prey as the mountain lion. Although it was not its original purpose, the Dogo has also been used for fighting. Generally weighing in at just under a hundred pounds, it is solid white and resembles a larger Pit Bull. The Dogo is banned in at least 10 countries, including Australia, New Zealand and Portugal.4Presa CanarioThe Presa Canario is a massive fighting dog hailing from Spain’s Canary Islands, generally weighing over a hundred pounds. Of diverse mastiff stock, the breed achieved notoriety in 2001 when a pair named Bane and Hera attacked and killed 33 year old lacrosse coach Diane Whipple in the hallway of a San Francisco apartment building. The dogs were originally bred for an Aryan Brotherhood fighting ring. Bane and Hera’s owner, Marjorie Knoller, was convicted of second degree murder (a landmark judgment at the time) and is currently serving a prison sentence of 15 years to life. Presa Canarios are banned in Australia and New Zealand.3Fila BrasilieroThe Fila or Brazilian Mastiff, is a huge dog bred for hunting boar and jaguar, and was even used for tracking down runaway slaves. It has Mastiff, Bulldog and Bloodhound ancestry. It is perhaps the least tractable breed on this list, and is highly prized for its aggressiveness. This personality trait is called “ojeriza”, which translates from Portugese to ‘distrust’. The Fila despises strangers, to the point where Brazilian dog show judges are advised not to touch it, and the standard allows a certain ferocity in the show ring. It is illegal to own a Fila in the United Kingdom.2Japanese Tosa InuThe Tosa Inu can weigh anywhere from 80-200lbs. It is a mix of indigenous Japanese dogs and various Western breeds, such as the Mastiff and Bull Terrier. The Tosa is also a fighting dog – although the Japanese idea of combat is much different than in other locales. There is great ceremony attached to Tosa matches. They are much like sumo wrestling, with the greatest champions achieving the rank of ‘Yokozuna’. The Tosa displays an uncommon stoicism, as they are expected to fight silently, without growling or whimpering. It is illegal to own in Denmark, Malta and Norway, amongst other countries.1American Pit Bull TerrierThere is no dog breed on earth more polarizing than the Pit Bull. Much maligned, the Pit Bull was bred from early Bulldogs and Terriers for the purpose of fighting other dogs. At this task, he has no peer. Once a beloved family pet (The Little Rascals’ Petey was a pit bull) the breed began to attract the wrong kind of attention in the 1980s. Prized for its strength and gameness (a somewhat indefinable quality which is identified by a willingness to fight, no matter what the cost), Pit Bulls became an urban symbol of criminal masculinity. Poor breeding and training has caused them to be responsible for attacks on humans, many of them fatal. This is somewhat anachronistic of the breed’s history, as Pit Bulls were never bred to be aggressive towards people. In the old days, dog fighters would bathe each others’ dogs before the match (to eliminate the threat of poison on the fur), and a snappy dog would be culled. Whether one considers them sweet-natured pets or deadly monsters, they are illegal to own in Miami-Dade County, Florida; Ontario, Canada; and many countries throughout the world.SHARETwitterGoogle+FacebookPinterestENJOYED THIS LIST?by TaboolaSponsored Content

Just wanted confirmation on what I already knew.  Thank you.

What about a labrador

Most well run Parks have a 30 pound weight limit on pets, and also say no aggressive breeds as a backstop.

http://wonder.cdc.gov/wonder/PrevGuid/m0047723/m0047723.asp

See Table 1 half way down.

@alonzo80 , as per your post:

  • “What about a Labrador?”

In our Turnaround MHP we are implementing the following Dog Policy:

  • Dog’s Weight: UNDER 30 Pounds At Full Maturity
  • Of Dogs: Maximum Of 2 Dogs Per Mobile Home Per Lot

  • Vaccination: All Dogs Are Required To Be Up-To-Date On Their Rabies Vaccination
  • License Tag: All Dogs Are Required To Have Rabies Vaccination’s Serially Numbered Metal License Tag Attached To Collar/Harness
  • Service Dogs: Exempt From Weight

We require that the Tenant provides documentation from a Licensed Veterinarian showing the Dog’s Weight & Rabies Vaccination.

We do not have the financial resources nor time to do DNA testing on dogs to verify if they are a “Dangerous Breed”.

Thus, we can easily verify the weight of a dog based on the documentation from a Veterinarian.

We wish you the very best!

Adding in a $250 non-refundable pet deposit per pet is a great way to control the pet population in a park. Couple that with making its enforcement a priority with the manager, you’ll see a lot of your pet problems go away.

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@CharlesD , as per your post:

  • “Adding in a $250 non-refundable pet deposit per pet is a great way to control the pet population in a park.”

We require our POHs the following:

  • $200 - Pet Fee - One-Time - Non-Refundable
  • $25 - Pet Fee - Monthly - Non-Refundable

@CharlesD , do you require All Tenants (TOH /And/ POH) to pay the $250 Non-Refundable Pet Deposits?

Yes, anyone who buys or rents is subject to the fee. The fee also applies to tenants who acquire a new pet during their tenancy.