Lawmakers looking to change HOA law to protect family pets

Las Vegas, NV — A Contact 13 Investigation takes center stage in a legislative hearing about coyotes attacking family pets.

Reacting to an HOA Hall of Shame report from last fall, state lawmakers are seeking to change the Nevada Homeowner Association Law.

Safety first when it comes to protecting family pets. Sounds like common sense, but that’s not the case in some valley HOA’s.

A Contact 13 Investigation kicked off a legislative hearing this week on a bill proposed by Sen. Mark Manendo. The bill centers on homeowners’ rights to protect their pets in their own backyards.

“Our pets are our family and to lose one in any way, especially with violence, is a tremendous loss and it’s very devastating,” said Sen. Manendo.

He drafted the change to existing state law after Contact 13 inducted Solera at Stallion Mountain into our HOA Hall of Shame. The east valley association refused to allow homeowner Marie Hodge to install rollers.

Despite a six-foot wall surrounding Marie’s backyard, last summer, “Coyote jumped the wall and took the life of Arne, who was a cat that I can’t tell you how I adored him.”

Solera refused the rollers because they didn’t meet the HOA’s design guidelines. Manendo’s bill would force associations to allow the devices, which mount on top of walls or fences, preventing coyotes from getting a grip.

The Nevada Division of Wildlife supports the bill as a humane way of keeping coyotes out and pets in.

Doug Nielsen said, “These rollers are low profile and offer homeowners one more tool for minimizing the chance of an unpleasant coyote encounter.”

NDOW’s Las Vegas office gets an average of three coyote-related phone calls every day.

In addition to Marie’s cat, Action News recently reported another coyote attack on a family’s dog in the Canyon Gate HOA. Tony Sclafani of A.R. Iron in Henderson told lawmakers Canyon Gate has since approved the rollers.

“This roller has been approved by the Anthem Association as well as the McDonald Ranch Associations up in Henderson.”

It’s HOA’s like Solera who are fighting their homeowners that sparked the proposed law change.

“As you know, the fight was really hard. I’ve been before the board, I appealed the decision, they rejected me again,” Marie explained.

HOA industry lobbyists continued the fight at the Judiciary Committee hearing.

Garrett Gordon, an HOA attorney, said, “Our concern is, we frankly don’t want to mandate all 3,000 HOA’s in this state to have to do this. We think a one-size-fits-all solution is not appropriate.”

Gordon and others want lawmakers to keep their hands off HOA decisions. They say when people buy into HOA’s, they buy into rules and standards too. If homeowners don’t like a board’s decision, they can elect new board members. Lawmakers didn’t buy it.

“Time is of the essence here, and I don’t want to wait for the democratic process before I have to run the risk of losing my dog to a coyote,” said Sen. Aaron Ford.

Sen. Ford wondered why anyone would oppose something that could save animals lives.

This isn’t the first time lawmakers have been asked to legislate common sense issues when it comes to homeowner associations. Basketball hoops, trash cans and rolling shutters have all been the subject of previous HOA-related legislative hearings.

If the bill passes, Marie said the battle she’s been fighting for the past eight months will be worthwhile. She never could have imagined Arne’s legacy could be a new law.

The legislative committee will decide whether to bring the bill up for a vote. Contact 13 will be following it every step of the way.

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