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Editor's Note: The following policy is one way of addressing pets. Like all policies, it should vary with the specifics of the environment in which it is applied. Start with this, and make changes according to your own development.

Pets Policy (sample from Burlington, VT)

1. General Responsibilities:

Members may keep dogs, cats, and contained pets in the Co-op if they follow this policy. Contained pets are a reasonable quantity of animals that are normally kept in a cage, tank, or other container. Examples include fish, birds, rodents, etc.

Pets must be of a species and genus that are commonly and traditionally recognized as a domesticated human companion. Pets must be appropriate for the indoor and outdoor space available at the Co-op. The animal must not be one of an endangered species or otherwise under special government surveillance or control. Animals that are exotic, unusual or unknown as pets are not allowed. No venomous animals are allowed in the co-op.

If a member isn't certain as to whether a pet is permitted or needs to be registered with the Co-op, the member is responsible for consulting the Co-op before acquiring the pet.

Pet owners must comply with all State and City of Burlington laws and ordinances governing pet licensing, vaccinations, and control. Owners must have papers proving that the animal satisfies all governmental controls.

Pet owners must show responsible and reasonable care for their pets.

Pets must be "registered" with the Co-op in accordance with procedures established by the Co-op Board.

The City of Burlington's Pet Ordinance must be followed at all times (see below)

No pets are permitted in Co-op common areas (laundry room, meeting room, office, hallways), except to pass through


Limits to Number of Pets

A Member household may have one dog or one cat. The Board of Directors will consider petitions for a second cat on a case by case basis. However, under no circumstances may any household have more than one dog or two cats. The Board retains the right to impose further limits on pets as the need arises. (For example, the Board may put a moratorium on new pets at any time, regardless if every household has met the maximum of one dog or one cat.)

Approval of Pets

All pets must be approved by the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors will require all applicants with pets or Members hoping to get a pet to submit a reference for their pet or meet with a representative from the co-op for a Apet interview@ prior to final approval. The Board retains the right to reject any pet that does not meet the requirements of this policy or, in the Board=s judgment, may cause property damage or a nuisance to co-op members.

Specific Restrictions

Dog Breeds: Staffordshire Terriers (a.k.a. Pit Bulls), Rottweilers, Doberman Pincers, wolf-dogs, and other traditionally aggressive breeds are not permitted in the co-op. An exception may be granted by the Co-op Board if there is a 100% consensus of all co-op members.

Puppies: Puppies are required to have obedience or crate training. This is to minimize or prevent problems like noise and property damage.

Rodents: Rodents (mice, hamsters, rats, gerbils, guinea pigs, etc.) require Board approval. These animals could present fire danger if they get loose and chew on electrical conduits.

Fish: Households may not have more than 40 gallons of fish aquariums. This is to avoid excessive condensation problems and water damages from accidents.

Breeding: Insect breeding, research, or pet breeding on the Co-op grounds is prohibited. Exceptions, within reason, may be made for unintentional breeding (like pet birds or gerbils).

Condition of Animals

All dogs and cats must be spayed or neutered according to the following chart:


spay females by 6 months old spay females by 6 months old

neuter males by 6 months old neuter males by 9 months old


A certificate from the Humane Society or a veterinarian that proves that the pet has been spayed or neutered must be filed with the Co-op when the pet is registered with the Co-op, or within one month of the pet turning the required age. Exceptions may be granted by the Co-op Board which waive or delay these requirements. An exception requires a written statement from a vet indicating that the animal should not be spayed or neutered.


Members must clean up after their pets (stoop and scoop). Members must repair any damage a member's personal property and to Co-op property caused by their pets. Members must control their pets to prevent any chronic barking/howling or other noise that disturbs other members. Animals must be contained to the owner's unit. Dogs must be leashed at all times when passing through co-op common areas (lobby, hallways, etc.).


City of Burlington Pet Ordinance


According to the Burlington City Pet Ordinance, , it is illegal for any dog:

to be unlicensed, to be repeatedly at large, to attack other animals, to attack people, to chase vehicles, to damage private or public property, to defecate off the premises of the animals= owner and the owner in control of the dog fails to remove such deposits, to bark, whine, howl, or cry in an excessive, continuous or untimely fashion so as to disturb the peace, to run at large, uncontrolled or unleashed. Dog owners violating these ordinances may be fined by the city of Burlington $50. To retrieve a dog from the pound costs $25 for 1st offense, $50 for 2nd offense, and $75 for 3rd offense. Pooper scoopers or dog deposit bags are required in all outdoor public spaces in Burlington. Please respect streets, occupants, especially children.



Unless otherwise indicated, copyright 1999 ARCH. All rights reserved.
Revised: October 02, 2003.

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