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Need some advice...

heeler's rock!
June 25th, 2006, 08:27 PM
Hello everyone. I haven't been around a lot, but I need some help.....

I have a friend who owns a pittie who's still quite young. (I'm not too sure of the exact age). Anyways, her and her boyfriend live in a townhouse which is run by a condo association. They sent her a letter a in Nov. or Dec. stating that there were complaints about her dog being offleash on common areas. She never took him offleash so assumed it was probably her boyfriend and he said that he did let the dog offleash, but in the construction areas, so the dirt, gravel, etc. and never on the common areas. They dismissed it. Then, like 4 months later, they get another letter stating that they now have a $100 fine tacked onto their mortgage, on top of a $50 fine from a letter they "supposedly" sent 2 months earlier, but my friend never received another letter. They then sent another letter saying they received more complaints about the same thing, and she had to remove her dog from the premises within I think 14 days or something. If she didn't, they would have the City of Calgary Animal Bylaw Services come and remove the dog.

She went to talk to the condo association, and the lady she was referred to was VERY rude and said that they have to take every complaint seriously. My friend asked for the records of these complaints that they kept, and never got them. She asked the lady if anyone can just call in and complain, and she said yes. So, it could be a neighbour that doesn't like them or whatever! They don't even have to live there as the callers can stay annonymous!!

Anyways, she called Animal Services, and they said that they would never come out and remove an animal based on heresay. They would have to catch the dog in the act of something, ticket the owner a few times, then they'd be able to remove the animal.

So, my friend didn't remove her dog, and never heard anything more about it, until now. She got a letter from the condo association's law firm!! They're suing her for non-compliance, and they're gonna stick her with their bill!!!!

What can she do?? Is the association relaly allowed to do this based on annonymous phone calls about thier dog being offleash in a public area? It wasn't even on common areas of the complex!!!! I'm so steamed right now, so I hope someone can shed some light.

Sorry it's so long......thanks for reading! :o

badger
June 25th, 2006, 08:53 PM
If they take her to court, she should immediately counter-sue for libel and slander, since they have no evidence that any rules were broken. Otherwise, they'll just go on intimidating her until life is unbearable and she moves out.
Definitely worth a little money up front to consult with a lawyer about where they stand.

Prin
June 25th, 2006, 10:15 PM
Did they stop letting the dog off leash completely after receiving the first letter? If they let the dog off leash in view of the building, they're looking for trouble, IMO...

If they don't want to lose their dog or get fined like madness, I suggest they contact a lawyer of their own.

Cinnabear
June 26th, 2006, 02:32 AM
She should have taken this serious, especially with condo laws. Everything should be anonymous when someone complains, but the onus should be whether its true or not. Not who complains. Would she have any proof that they didn't have the dog off leash? She's going to have to see a lawyer to get it cleared up.

phoenix
June 26th, 2006, 09:22 AM
unfortunately, condo regulations have a lot of pull over your life if you live in a complex. Your fellow owners can make life very uncomfortable for you if you are "non compliant" with what they want.

heeler's rock!
June 26th, 2006, 04:37 PM
I understand what you're all saying, but my concern is not whether the dog was on or offleash. My concern is that they have no proof whatsoever that the dog was offleash. She could easily say it's never happened and they're making it up. It's her word against theirs. She hasn't been caught on tape or anything with an offleash dog. They're also failing to comply with her numerous requests to give them the supposed complaint logs that they say they keep. She also wants the meeting minutes from the board's meetings that they've had regarding her and her dog.

They other thing is that this complex constantly has dogs running around offleash, and cats that wander around too. They're threatening to have the city come and take the dog, but the city has told my friend they will do no such thing. So, can they legally come into her house and remove the dog based on heresay? The city can't and won't, so can the condo association?

She is going to contact a lawyer by the way as she's going to court because of this.....

doggirl
June 26th, 2006, 06:19 PM
JMO...I would be more concerned about whether the dog was offlead, not whether they can prove it. Because a) it WAS a mistake by whoever let the dog offlead, and b) if they know about it, SOMEONE saw it, and you cannot bank on whether or not they're willing to say so in court (heck it could change at any time too).

I think it's a mistake to divert the issue, from whether or not someone can PROVE a wrong was done, if it was, and not the wrong itself. This approach just tends to make the other party ticked, and stubborn, and wanting to "stick it" to someone.

Having said that, I wonder if the condo board is doing a lot of puffing and posturing. I would take a tactical move and contact a lawyer, and advise them of the problems I had with their actions, and that I was planning on countersuing.

Another problem with taking the "prove it" approach when you know that the allegation is true, is that is does not make you look good to the judge. They hear people lie and deny every day. They hear far fewer people saying "yes, I made a mistake - but I dispute that the mistake I made was this egregious in nature nor that it warrants the response from the plaintiff". Whether the dog was offlead more than the one time could very well be an issue too; it's much easier to get empathy for a one-time mistake that one took responsibility for and was never repeated, than for the same thing being done over and over even after being advised it was not permitted, and saying "you can't PROVE it".

I don't know the laws in AB at all, so will not comment on that. This is a good lesson though in HOW IMPORTANT it is to not make judgement errors like this with our pets...this would not be happening if the dog was onlead as it should've been... :(

heeler's rock!
June 26th, 2006, 07:04 PM
I understand what you're saying, and yes the dog should not have been offleash. The problem I am having though is that the times the dog was offleash WAS NOT on the condo association's property, it was ON CITY property, therefore I do not think the association can LEGALLY remove the dog. Also, she has a feeling that the people omplaining are her neighbours accross the way because they don't like them. The most she could get is fined, IF a bylaw officer caught them with the dog offleash. The dog no longer goes offleash anywhere, so it's no longer an issue and the association sounds mad because they have a pitbull and my friend didn't comply with their first letter to remove the dog. There are little dogs running around that place offleash all the time, and no one ever says anything.

Anyways, thanks for the responses and she's conatcting a lawyer.

Prin
June 27th, 2006, 12:04 AM
I think the operative phrase here is: her word against theirs... Sounds like she's outnumbered.;)

Luvmypit
June 28th, 2006, 01:50 PM
If there are dogs off leash I would video tape this. I fyou can prove that atleast 1 - 2 of those dogs are from condo resisdents you have a good case for them singling the tenants out.

doggirl
July 2nd, 2006, 06:53 PM
And discrimination. Great idea.

OntarioGreys
July 3rd, 2006, 04:00 AM
Another problem with taking the "prove it" approach when you know that the allegation is true,

All the condo association needs is to have is one "witness" to complete a sworn affidavit that the dog was offleash on condo property even if it was just to get to the city property and they have their evidence then it is no longer hearsay.

doggirl
July 3rd, 2006, 02:00 PM
Exactly. It's never wise to count on there not being witnesses, especially if you know the allegation is true. Better to mount a defense than denial. If you're counting on no witnesses and one shows up, and you are either denying or saying "prove it!!!" you will lose tons of credibility.