FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 1, 2020, Atlanta, Ga. – Julie McGhee Howard, attorney, co-founder and managing partner of NowackHoward, LLC, has been featured in the Community Associations Institute’s (CAI) Common Ground magazine feature, Ask The Experts, to offer comment, insights and suggestions for a neighborhood dealing with a pet pig who has, allegedly, become a nuisance to neighbors.
That it’s a pig makes the story interesting, but the species of animal really makes no difference. As Howard points out, there are ordinances to deal with farm animals in community environments, but since the pig was registered, licensed and inoculated in accordance with county ordinances, it can be assumed the homeowner has the right to house the pig. But any animal can create a nuisance, and that’s where community covenants and restrictions are critical.
Howard offers several suggestions to explore, assuming the association and neighbors have already exhausted the “neighborly” solutions.
- Contact animal control. Even if this were a dog, if the animal is creating havoc in the neighborhood, county services can be called in to help remedy the situation.
- Ask the complaining neighbors to submit their complaint in writing. Georgia appellate law defines “nuisance” very narrowly, making it less likely the association can assist assuming all covenants are being observed. This may be an issue best left to the complaining neighbor to resolve.
- If the board is involved and determines the pig constitutes a nuisance, then the board undergoes its normal and customary process for covenant violations.
- There should be heightened sensitivity and care should the animal also be a service or emotional support animal. HUD has particular guidelines if this is the case.
As with all neighborhood challenges, Howard encourages prevention, grace and compassion before situations can escalate. It is important that associations have clear guidelines for approaching these situations and pursue them fairly, equitably, and consistently. A periodic review of covenants is a good way to ensure the board understands and has relevant methods for approaching new and unusual challenges.
About Julie McGhee Howard
Julie McGhee Howard is co-founder and managing partner of NowackHoward, LLC, and has extensive experience advising community associations having counseled condominium and homeowner associations across Georgia since 1996. An active member of the Community Associations Institute (CAI), Howard has served CAI at every level, including Georgia Chapter President in 2003 and national President in 2014. Howard is a fellow in the prestigious College of Community Association Lawyers and served as the College’s 2018 President. Howard is an active and long-time lobbyist for community associations and has helped draft every change to the Georgia Condominium Act and Georgia Property Owners’ Association Act since 2007 and frequently testifies before Georgia Senate and House of Representatives Committees on proposed laws that could impact community associations. Howard has earned the AV Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the legal profession’s most prestigious rating service.
About the Community Association Institute
CAI is an international membership organization dedicated to building better communities. With over 40,000 members, CAI has 64 chapters worldwide, including Canada, the Middle East and South Africa, and relationships with housing leaders in a number of other countries, including Australia and the United Kingdom. CAI provides information, education and resources to the homeowner volunteers who govern communities and the professionals who support them. CAI members include association board members and other homeowner leaders, community managers, association management firms and other professionals who provide products and services to associations.
About NowackHoward LLC
NowackHoward LLC is Atlanta’s most experienced and effective law firm concentrating in advising and representing homeowner and condominium associations. Lawyers at NowackHoward are among the most experienced attorneys in the United States focusing on this specific area of the law. NowackHoward lawyers have helped write almost every law in Georgia that pertains to condominium and homeowner associations and worked to get them passed, helping create more harmonious communities. With both founding partners receiving the AV Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the legal profession’s most prestigious rating service, NowackHoward has become home to Georgia’s top-rated community association lawyers.