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Flat Chat

Big dog blues

They say its it’s not the size of the dog in a fight that matters but the size of the fight in the dog. However, when it comes to a fight over allowing pets into strata blocks, it seems size really does matter.

QUESTION: We bought our villa on the grounds the complex was pet friendly only to find out afterwards that they have ruled only dogs 10kg or under are acceptable. We have asked special permission for our dog on the grounds that he is elderly (10 years old when the life expectancy for his breed is only 12 years), medium sized at 23kg, well behaved, placid and exercised daily.

Also we are a mature couple and responsible dog owners. The Executive Committee is considering our request and have asked for further information regarding our dog, including photos. Do we have any other channels to pursue if they refuse permission for our dog?

ANSWER: Don’t worry, it sounds like they are prepared to listen, at least, and that suggests they are reasonable people. Give them all the information they require, keep it friendly and you should be OK.

I’d even offer to introduce committee members to the dog so they can see for themselves what a happy friendly and well-behaved chap he is.

If they say no to your dog, you can appeal to the Office of Fair Trading for a mediation (Tel 13 32 20). It’ll cost you $65 ($5 for pensioners) but it’ll be worth it as you’ll be able to put your case in person.

Size limits on dogs in strata developments mostly make sense but there are some very, very large and docile dogs that make perfect apartment pets because they are quiet and, ironically, they don’t need much exercise.

On the other hand some of the smallest dogs cause the most nuisance – especially the yappier and nervous breeds.

In your case, there will almost certainly be a clause in your by-laws pets that must be removed if they are a problem, regardless of their size. Your application to keep a dog will probably include an acceptance that you will remove him if he causes a problem. That’s really all the protection your neighbours need.

First published SMH August 2007