Lindsay S. Smith, an attorney in the Denver office of Winzenburg, Leff, Purvis and Payne, recently posted a great entry on her firm’s Colorado Home Owners Association Law blog. As you’ll see from her article, Florida ROCs aren’t the only ones with residents that take it upon themselves to "befriend" and feed wild animals–in this case,stray and feral cats. Unfortunately for the homeowners in this particular community, its association had allowed the resident to feed these feral cats for a number of years before filing a lawsuit against that resident–and, because of the association’s delay in taking action, the court held that the association could not stop the offending homeowner from continuing to feed these animals.
I read Ms. Smith’s entry several days before my colleague Bill Korp and I had lunch with the managers of two of the ROCs we represent in southwest Florida. I was thinking about her article when I asked the managers whether there were any problems with wild animals in their communities.
Each manager had a tale to tell:
- Muscovy Ducks had made themselves at home in one manager’s community in Lee County and the members of this ROC were struggling with how best to deal with these feathered interlopers. I did some internet research when I returned to the office and found that Lee County has a web page devoted to Muscovies. I would not be surprised if at least a few other counties in our state have similar websites.
- Ducks are one thing–but the black bear that was captured in the other manager’s community in East Naples was quite another. It’s worth following this link to read the news article (which has a picture of the bear). The story doesn’t end with the bear’s removal from the community. The manager told us that, even though the bear was relocated to a state park, it made its way back to his community. The bear was last seen in this ROC in late July and has obviously caused more than a bit of unwelcome excitement for this manager and the homeowners.
As if managers and board members needed any more reasons to tell homeowners and their guests: "Please, don’t feed the animals!"
Let’s hope that wild beasts and hurricanes stay far away from our ROCs this year!