Can My Neighbor Keep a Pitbull?

There are many states that do not prevent a person from owning, purchasing or even breeding Pitbull dogs in a neighborhood or city, and the individual owner can keep the animal inside or on a leash legally. In these locations, the breed may need to remain on a leash even if outside and on the person’s property to ensure legal processes are in adherence.

The Neighborhood

Many neighborhoods have special rules that can apply based on different situations such as homeowners and affiliated associations or watches that are to provide additional security for all neighbors. In these locations, there are some that may believe that owning a certain type or breed of dog is illegal and may hassle the owner. However, unless there is a city or state law against the breed, it is usually completely legal to own and have a Pitbull on the property. Some rules require the dog to remain inside or to stay on a leash when anywhere outside of the building.

Private Property

When the dog is on private property, the animal usually is able to remain unhindered or without provocation not attack anyone. However, there are times when certain laws will come into effect if the animal attacks someone on private property such as an intruder or a guest. If the situation involves someone invited onto the property or that is a guest in the house, liability concerns arise. However, in most states, if the person is an intruder or trespasser that is over the age of majority, the attack may not progress to a lawsuit because of the invalid person on the property or in the building.

States’ Laws

Some states have a prohibition against the ownership, breeding and importing of certain breeds of dogs. Often, these laws exist in the state because of statistics of attacks, bites and severe injuries. Some states will have a blanket ban on certain breeds because of reports over years of serious harm through the ownership of these breeds. Generally, Pitbull dogs are not given permission to remain in the city unless the owner strictly adheres to the rules. Many states place a prohibition on breeding but not on ownership of Pitbull and other aggressive dogs. It can then fall on the city to implement these bans.

City Ordinances

Even if a state does not expressly forbid the ownership of an aggressive breed of dog, the city can if there are no violations against the state regulations. In these instances, if a neighbor notices that a person has a Pitbull when the city does not permit the dog within city limits, the local law enforcement or animal control can remove the dog. This often does not even need to happen through injury or harm to others because of the city ordinance against the ownership or keeping of Pitbull dogs in the city. The animal control departments will need to either remove the dog or destroy the animal.

Co-Ops and HOAs

There are specific and narrow rules that often apply to even smaller locations than the city. In these co-ops or homeowners associations, the homeowner or tenant has no legal right to own or possess certain breeds, sizes or weights of dogs based on the contract signed when moving into the area. The rental agreement for tenants can specify what type of dog the person can have on the property and which are on the ban list. Many of these rules exist because of complaints from residents, neighbors or tenants that live in the same building.

Homeowners associations can incur certain rules that restrict general to specific situations to include the type of dog the homeowner has on the property. A neighbor can make a complaint, and the person with the dog could face a fine or worse consequences until he or she removes the dog. If a Pitbull is on the ban list with the HOA, the homeowner will need to make arrangements or face the consequences that are in the contract with the HOA. This can even include losing access to the house or getting kicked out of the HOA and needing to move at some point.

Legal Support for Pitbull Ownership

If the city or state does not specify that there are restrictions to ownership or having the Pitbull dog on the property, the individual may need to hire a lawyer to defend against charges or other legal concerns that may arise. The lawyer will need to investigate the matter and determine if any rules or laws apply.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. To discuss the details and understand your situation better, call our office at (561) 838-9595.