No Fence Rules by HOA - need to beat this!

karynNovember 12, 2012

We're moving to FL and bought a house - but it's the same everywhere down there where we searched - no fences allowed. Suggesting we should not buy where no fences are allowed is pointless.

Like many normal people, we have a family dog. She need to run (faster than people my age can) for her health and isn't smart enough to stop going because she has doggie ADD - gets onto something and keeps going, then switches to something else and keeps going.

We have partial water in the neighborhood behind our home.

We're told that everywhere there is water - there are gators.

You're not allowed to kill them or even bother them, yet they lie in wait killing pets and children constantly everywhere. No fences to keep them out of your yard seems pretty stupid to me....but that's how they like it I guess. Dead pets and children. Keeps things quiet I guess.

So for health and safety - we need a fenced yard....or at least a fenced area.

"Hedges (with hidden fence inside) could work but it takes years to grow.

We need something fast. Any ideas?

Meanwhile we are going to try to appeal the rule and get an exception. We may even need to lawyer up. :-/

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sweet_tea

older neighborhoods usually dont have as many rules and maybe no HOA. Sounds like you already purchased you homes so moot point.

Many FL towns have doggie parks. Usually they are operated by the city or county. They are large fenced areas where you are allowed to let your dog run free.

For your property ...Leyland Cypress grow fast and are very tall hedges.native saw palmetto are a thick natural palm hedge but need to be at least 10'wide/thick to screen well.

Keep the dog away from the water. Gators can and will be there. They can see your dog and hear it barking and they will wait for the opportunity for the dog to get close to the water and pounce.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 7:07AM
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invisible_hand

"We're told that everywhere there is water - there are gators.
You're not allowed to kill them or even bother them, yet they lie in wait killing pets and children constantly everywhere. No fences to keep them out of your yard seems pretty stupid to me....but that's how they like it I guess. Dead pets and children. Keeps things quiet I guess. "

According to Wikipedia, only one child was killed by an Alligator in the US since 2000, and 3 were killed in the 1990's. Perhaps the risk isn't as significant as you fear.

Here is a link that might be useful: Gator Deaths in the US - Wikipedia

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 7:34AM
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live_wire_oak

Hire a pet sitter to take your dog for a daily hourly run. Structured exercise is better than just wandering around a fenced yard anyway. And your money would be much better spent on that than on a lawyer to take on a losing cause. Because you won't win.

Or sell this house and move somewhere without the restrictions. In your case, you should have rented first anyway in order to find the house that suited your needs. Buying a home that doesn't, and then trying to "beat" the regs that cover it is beyond foolish.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 7:34AM
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cearbhaill

Pets are lost to gators all the time- leave children out of it as that is irrelevant.
There are TONS of homes available that have no HOA.

I mean, Florida is a big state and you have failed to narrow things down to a specific area but I assure you plenty of homes were available without restrictions.
You just didn't bother to search them out.
Did you fall in love with a house??

I'd be gettin' myself a leash and a good pair of walking shoes- it'll do you both good.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 7:43AM
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c9pilot

You might take this to the Florida Gardening forum for ideas.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 9:36AM
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azmom

Not trying to scare you; depending on height of the fence, it is known that Gators could climb over fences.

While we lived in Florida decades ago, a family came home and found a gator lying on their kitchen counter top. It was a big news.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 10:21AM
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karyn

Thanks for the constructive replies!

As far as all the negativity - whatever - we are normal people and have to live somewhere reasonably safe, comfortable and close enough to drive to work.

We'll just be going full time leash until something better presents itself.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 11:20AM
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maddielee

Where in Florida are you looking? Lots of subdivisions around here (Tampa). Most allow fences.

ML

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 11:25AM
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cmm1

Can you install invisible fence?

Maybe try a dog training class so the dog can heel on the leash making your walking experience more enjoyable. It could also help with recall issues.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 3:51PM
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sweet_tea

Google "dog park" plus the name of your county and also try the name of your town and nearby towns.

Please tell us if you found one nearby. I would google for you but you didn't give the name of the area.

Did you try to find out about dog parks? There are many of them in Florida and more being added often. It's a big thing.

Yes, gators can climb fences...especially if there is a meal on the other side. However, does your yard abutt the water directly? If yes, then you have a problem. If the water is at least a few hundred feet away you are fine.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 4:02PM
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graywings123

It's easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission. Ignore the rules, put up the fence and then fight the HOA.

Get on the HOA board and get the regs changed.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 6:20PM
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ncrealestateguy

Why on Earth would you purchase a home in a neighborhood that does not allow fences, knowing you desperately would want one, and then come to a forum complaining about the HOA rules?

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 11:27PM
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jane__ny

We just bought a house in Sarasota, Fla and spent a year...yes a year trying to find a house without HOA's or loose HOA's. We did but it wasn't easy.

We saw so many houses on lakes which didn't permit fences. We walked away. We also switched RA's 3x because we made it clear we didn't want to live on a fresh water lake, and they kept showing us homes that were.

We learned that in Florida, you need some regulations or you wind up in neighborhoods with boats on front lawns (they have tiny lawns), trucks, trailers, etc. So we found older neighborhoods which had less rigid rules. Newer homes were out of the question because those neighborhoods were gung-ho rules!

At least you can plant a fence, which is what we would do immediately. Put fencing inside the fence for your own safety. I would put barbed wire! There are shrubs which grow fast. Visit the Florida forum as they are very helpful.

Good luck,
Jane

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 12:20AM
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ncrealestateguy

Jane posts:
"At least you can plant a fence, which is what we would do immediately. Put fencing inside the fence for your own safety. I would put barbed wire!"

No wonder there are so many HOA rules!

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 7:33AM
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LuAnn_in_PA

"It's easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission. Ignore the rules, put up the fence and then fight the HOA. "

What a waste of money that will be when they are forced to remove it all....

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 1:17PM
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Sophie Wheeler

You decided to move into the community. You play by their rules.

An invisible fence will only make the dog scared to run outside of the yard so that the gator can more easily hunt it down to eat it. A "living" fence is shelter for other predators to live, and it provides zero safety for the dog. A gator will charge right through it if they want a snack. It just makes the gator harder to see until they emerge, so gives you a shorter lead time to run away.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 3:07PM
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dekeoboe

What kind of dog do you have that need to run (faster than people my age can) for her health? How big is your yard that she can run very far? Can't she do some other activity like play ball or frisbee instead?

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 9:57PM
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stolenidentity

hi karyn,

many normal people in your situation install an invisible fence for the dog. Of course that won't stop a gator from crossing the fence line. What do other folks with dogs do in this 'hood? Or are they abnormal and without dogs? Do you have kids? I'd not buy a property where my first issue is needing to lawyer up.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 11:31PM
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lyvia

So what you need is a barrier for either the dog or an alligator or both, that cannot be called a fence. Perhaps a long planter box? How big is your dog, and how high can it jump? Maybe a row of planted half whiskey barrels or urns. A little temporary plastic netting in between does not a fence make.

I'm sure there are things alligators hate to crawl over. Look at this- a perforated no skid metal panel - that would be hell on bare feet. Put that 6 inches over gravel, so that the gator has to belly crawl over it, or the dog has to jump the planter box/bed and land on it, and that will help.

http://img.diytrade.com/cdimg/1083947/21777813/0/1306896043/perforated_non-slip_panel_perforated_anti-skid_plate.jpg

Or maybe a couple rows of six inch tall steel landscaping edging. Enough to trip a running dog, who falls on it and learns to avoid, and a horrid crawl for a creature with five inch legs.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 2:37PM
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coloradomomof5

I'm with Graywings. I've found that even with supposed "rules" HOA boards can do what they want. They can give variances to some, yet deny others. They can "change" the rules by way of calling it a policy. I've seen it and lived it and just ended a 5 year lawsuit (HOA sued 4 families including us), we won original trial, plus appeal (they appealed,) and they spent over $100,000 to do this-to put us in our place. We don't do the Mother May I anymore, but just do what needs to be done. So many lessons learned. Maybe that is why I can't sell my house :)

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 3:01PM
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brickeyee

You purchased, their rules.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 5:13PM
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adellabedella_usa

I guess if I were looking for an alternative to a fence, I'd go with landscaping, planters and rock concrete walls to keep the alligator out. A lot of people here have the backyard fireplaces, kitchens, and 2-3 ft tall rock walls that define the area. Not sure what you have there. I'd make it look attractive like landscaping. I'd check with the HOA for approval. I wouldn't tell them it was your alligator/dog prevention system. You could always have the invisible fence for the dog. It wouldn't be cheap, but could make your bak yard more enjoyable for everyone.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 10:02PM
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runninginplace

Just a comment from a Floridian--it's NOT the case that alligators are swarming about, crawling everywhere and attacking any man, woman, child or dog that they come across. Some of the comments in this topic are IMO slightly paranoid and ridiculous.

Yes, there are gators and yes, one should exercise reasonable caution in areas in which you know they live. Especially in situations in which gators have been fed (BAD idea) they can get somewhat aggressive. Still, it isn't bad enough that everybody needs barbed wire(!) or special walls(!!!) to keep out the marauders.

Ok, Florida defense finished...

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 8:29AM
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eandhl

Invisible fence could work if you are outside with the dog and look before you go outside.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 12:24PM
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cearbhaill

"Still, it isn't bad enough that everybody needs barbed wire(!) or special walls(!!!) to keep out the marauders. "

Unless you live on a canal and have small dogs.
Ask me how I know.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2012 at 9:50AM
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marvelousmarvin

"I'm with Graywings. I've found that even with supposed "rules" HOA boards can do what they want. They can give variances to some, yet deny others. They can "change" the rules by way of calling it a policy."

If the HOA is as arbitrary as that, then all the more to keep your head down and get permission first. The last thing you'll want to do is to get on the bad side of the HOA, where they start targeting you and bleeding you for every minor infraction.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 12:58AM
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violetwest

in lieu of a perimeter fence, do you think you could get away with a long fenced dog run, if appropriately shielded from view with landscaping?

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 11:32PM
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brickeyee

Check the wording of the clause.

Walls (though way more expensive than a fence) may be allowed (or slip through the wording).

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 12:14PM
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dutty

"You're not allowed to kill them or even bother them, yet they lie in wait killing pets and children constantly everywhere. No fences to keep them out of your yard seems pretty stupid to me....but that's how they like it I guess. Dead pets and children. Keeps things quiet I guess."

I'm sorry to be brash but this is positively the most ridiculous thing I have ever read. Kids are not being killed constantly or infrequently or even rarely. And, pets are not being killed frequently either. If pets were being killed CONSTANTLY, I assure you the community grieving the loss of dozens of pets would have changed their rules on fencing. This concern is irrational.

Gators are not like crocs. Most would rather avoid confrontation. And, the gators that get big enough to pose a risk are removed. Am I saying a small dog isn't at risk from a gator in the lake behind your home? No, but you can't let a small dog outside without risks anyway. You have eagles, osprey, otters, snakes, etc. that do their damage as well. All of these however are remote risks. In all my years in SW Florida I have never had one person I know lose a pet to ANY dangerous creature.

As for the ADD dog, you could get an electric fence. And, like you, I'm not strong enough to run my German Shepherd but he runs on a treadmill every day and then gets supervised play time. In addition, a well-heeled structured walk would be very beneficial for any dog at any speed, even if your speed is slow like mine. I would check out Jeff Gellman for help with your ADD pooch... he does great free videos.

Good luck and try not to stress so much. I understand the fear but I promise, it's not as terribly dangerous as it feels right now and you'll get used to the Florida creepy-crawlies in no time.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 3:23PM
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likeatortoise

I live in S. Florida, (in an area with no HOA that does allow fencing) and I'd think the many large raptors (falcons, hawks, etc) are much more of a threat to a small dog than alligators, which are not exactly out wandering through suburban neighbourhoods. You can't fence a bird out, though a screened porch/pool enclosure would provide protection if those are allowed. If you have a large dog I doubt anything will be interested in harassing it. I presume you are planning to use an invisible fence to contain the dog so it won't be running through the neighborhood.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2012 at 6:07AM
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