In an age where pets are more important to people than ever—just look at how many have their own social media accounts!—it’s only natural that your HOA would want to be known as overtly dog friendly. What  better way to do that than investing some money into opening an HOA dog park? Not only is it a great PR move, residents will love the chance to sit back and relax while their beloved pet works out some energy.

While this amenity sounds like a no-brainer, HOA management does need to do some forethought before investing in a dog park; as with anything in an HOA, there are liabilities involved—but especially so with pets. Gassen, your Eden Prairie providers of property management services, has some tips below.

How to Limit Your Liability

Animals are inherently unpredictable; even the most well-trained dog can snap if it finds itself in a stressful enough circumstance. It’s for this reason and a variety of others that your HOA must take steps before going ahead with installation to keep your own liability out of any sticky situations.

Build High Fences and Secure Gates

Large dogs can leap higher fences than you’d think, especially if they’ve seen a chase-worthy squirrel in a nearby tree. Thus, the higher you can build the fence around your facilities, the better, While affordable chain-link will do just fine for a material, your dog park should have, at minimum, a four-foot barrier surrounding it.

As far as gates go, consider a double-entrance design, where residents must pass through a small “holding area” of sorts before entering the grounds. This helps prevent escapees.

Limit What Pets Can Use the Park

Of course, you don’t need to maintain a running list, but you must set boundaries on what sort of behavior is and isn't allowed in the dog park. Animals that are well-known to be aggressive, for example, should be prohibited. Set these rules in clear terms by posting signage near the park. The more explicitly you can outline boundary-breaking behavior, the better.

Consider Health Concerns

If you’re not careful, a dog park can do more harm to your HOA than good. An illy tended facility is an eyesore, sure, but it’s also a public health hazard. Moreover, an unvaccinated pet is a hazard to itself and others. While you’re constructing rules for the amenity, make sure to include those that eliminate health concerns, such as waste disposal and cleanliness regulations.

Gassen: Here to Shoulder some of the Stress of Running an HOA

From online property management to accounting property management, we’ve got all the services your board needs to run a put-together community that’s the envy of its neighbors. Give our Eden Prairie office a call today at 952-922-5575.