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Pet Policy

10/13/2005 by vote of the board of directors, the following pet policy applies to all family tenants of the Danvers Housing Authority.

Danvers housing authority Pet Policy for RESPONSIBLE COMPANION and Assistive Animal Ownership for family tenants.

This policy is designed to assist meeting the needs of pet-owning tenants, pets and non-pet owning tenants. These guidelines also list the management responsibilities in the pursuit of health, happiness and peaceful co-existence in a community atmosphere.

A clear understanding of the expectations and responsibilities of pet owners and management will ensure the successful continuation of companion or assistive animals into family housing units of the Danvers Housing Authority (DHA).


  1. Any tenant who wishes to keep a companion animal will inform the DHA in writing. The DHA reserves the right to check references for previous pet ownership. If the DHA feels a pet is inappropriate, the tenant will be informed.  Permission will not be unreasonably withheld.  A Pet Rider to your lease must be signed prior to the pet entering the premises. All pet owners must be able to control their pets via a leash, pet carrier or indoor cage.


  1. Allowed companion animals will be defined as a common household pet such as a cat, bird, guinea pig, gerbil, hamster, rabbit, fish or turtle. Reptiles, other than turtles, birds of prey and ferrets are not household pets. Pets, other than cats, shall have suitable housing. No outside cages, mobile or otherwise are allowed. Dogs are not allowed with the exception of assistive animals meeting the criteria listed below. An assistive animal is one which is necessary to provide the individual with the opportunity to use and enjoy the dwelling to the same extent as non disabled/non handicapped. If a tenant request an assistive animal, they and the pet must meet the following criteria:
    1. Physician’s verification stating there is a person with a handicap/disability in the household.
    2. The animal is trained to assist with the specified disability/handicap.
    3. Obtain advance written approval by the DHA.
    4. Sign Pet Rider and Pet Participation Agreement between the Tenant and the DHA.
    5. Supply certification through the training agency and verification that the animal does provide assistance.
    6. Register the pet showing license, shots, spay/neuter certification.


  1. No unit shall have more than one caged animal or a maximum of two birds or one 25 gal aquarium plus one indoor cat or assistive dog.
  1. All male and female cats and assistive dogs must be spayed/neutered before they are 6 months old. If health problems prevent such spaying or neutering, a veterinarian’s certificate will be necessary to allow the pet to become a resident of the development and the exception will be at the Executive Director’s discretion.


  1. In an emergency situation, (i.e. absence of the caregiver), the Executive Director of the Danvers Housing Authority reserves the right to take immediate action.(See Removal of Pet)


1.  The pet owner will be responsible for proper pet care ------ good nutrition, grooming, exercise, flea control, routine veterinary care and yearly inoculations.  Cats and assistive dogs must wear identification tags and rabies tag and collar, and when outside the unit be on a leash or lead.

2.  The pet owner is responsible for cleaning up after the pet inside the apartment and anywhere on development property.  Assistive animals must be house broken. A "pooper scooper" and disposable plastic bag should be carried by owner.  All wastes will be bagged in a sealed bag and disposed of in a receptacle determined by management.  Toilets are not designed to handle pet litter.  Under no circumstances should any pet debris be deposited in a toilet as blockages will occur.

3.  The pet owner will keep the unit and its patio, if any, clean and free of pet odors, insect infestation, waste and litter, and maintain the unit in a sanitary condition at all times.

4.  The pet owner will restrain the pet and prevent it from gnawing, chewing, scratching or otherwise defacing doors, walls, windows and floor coverings of the unit, other units, and common areas, as well as shrubs and landscaping of the facility. Pet owner will be billed for damages.

5.  Tenants will not alter their units, patio, or other outside area to create an enclosure for an animal. Dog houses for assistive animals are not allowed.

6.  Pets will be restrained at all times, when outside apartment on development property, including playgrounds.  No pet shall be loose in hallways, elevators, community rooms, dining rooms, or other common areas.*  * Common areas are accessible to persons with disabilities who need pets as aides. 

7.  Pets are not be allowed to disturb the health, safety, rights, comfort or quiet enjoyment of other tenants. A pet should not create a nuisance to neighbors with excessive barking, whining, chirping, or other unruly behavior.

8.  Pet owners will agree to quarterly apartment inspections to be sure pets and units are being cared for properly.  These inspections may be reduced or increased in time periods at the Executive Director’s discretion and at least 24 hours advance notice will be given before any inspection is made.

9.  The tenant is responsible for providing management with the following information and documents which are to be kept on file in the tenant's folder:
            a.  A color photo and identifying description of the pet.
            b. Attending veterinarian's name, address and telephone number.
            c. Veterinary certificate of spaying or neutering, rabies, distemper, parvovirus, feline
                        leukemia and other inoculations when applicable.
            d. Two (2) alternate caretakers, their names, addresses, and telephone numbers, who
                        will assume immediate responsibility for the care of the pet should the owner
                        become incapacitated; these caretakers must be verified in writing by signing
                        the Lease Pet Rider, acknowledging their responsibilities as specified.
e. Emergency boarding accommodations.
            f. Temporary ownership (overnight or short term) shall be registered with
                        management under the pet rules and regulations.

10. The tenant is responsible for keeping management informed of any change of information.


1.  Appointment of a Pet Committee, approved by the Board, consisting of animal owners, non-animal owners, local interested humane groups, animal control officer and veterinarians, etc., for in-house pet ownership management.

2.  Rules and regulations of animal ownership and enforcement will be posted at the Housing Authority Office.

4. Proper record keeping of: owner's and pet's pertinent information, pet participation fee, deposits, apartment inspections, investigation of complaints, and issuing of warnings, billing for damages, scheduling for repairs, etc.

5.  Declawing of cats is not required by management.  As the pet owner is fully liable for all destruction to property, management does not request this very painful procedure.

6.  All written complaints shall be referred to the Pet Committee for resolution.  No credence shall be given by the Pet Committee to verbal or unsigned complaints.  Management will also inform the resident of any other rule infractions and will duly notify the Pet Committee for attempted resolution.

7.  Upon second notice of a written legitimate complaint from the Pet Committee to the tenant, the resident shall be advised that a further notice shall be cause for termination of the pet rider provisions; except that in the case of a serious problem, e.g. a vicious dog, this procedure may be shortened in the interest of public safety.


  1. A pet deposit of $160.00 or one month's rent, whichever is less, is required of each pet owner.  This amount may be payable over a time period determined by the Executive Director.  The tenant is not required to pay all of the deposit before bringing in a pet.  This payment will be implemented as a security deposit.   A pet owner whose pet serves as an aid is not required to pay a pet participation fee.  These owners are, however, responsible for their pets if damage is incurred to DHA property.


  1. The deposit will be refunded at the time the tenant vacates or no longer has ownership of the pet, provided that no pet-related damage has been done to the property.  Sums necessary to repair such damage will be deducted from the deposit.


  1. Pet owner is responsible for repairing or replacing damaged areas of the exterior, interior, doors, walls, floor coverings and fixtures in the unit, common areas or other areas damaged by a tenant’s pet.


  1. Cleaning, deodorizing, and sanitizing carpeting and other floor covering in the unit as necessitated by the presence of the pet is the responsibility of the owner.
  1. Charges for damage will include labor and materials.  Payment plans will be negotiated between management and the pet owner.  Disputes concerning amount of damages are subject to the grievance procedures provided for in DHCD regulations.


  1. It is strongly recommended that the pet owners secure personal liability or other insurance and indemnify the DHA against pet-related litigation or attorney’s fees.  DHA’s may require pet owners to secure liability insurance, if the authority so elects, as a condition of pet ownership.


  1. One Pet Committee, consisting of pet-owning tenants, non pet-owning tenants, animal control officer, local interested humane groups, veterinarians, and volunteers, is responsible for resolving complaints which may arise at each development.  The number of individuals should be uneven, three or five, to allow for a majority rule in the event of a vote decision.


  1. The purpose of the committee is to alleviate the DHA’s involvement with the tenant’s questions and complaints concerning companion animals.  The committee should also monitor how the ownership of pets affects the quality of life for both pet-owning tenants and non pet-owning tenants and report any recommendations to management.
  1. The committee could assist tenants with the following:


            a.            Veterinary care - discounts for seniors and pets, low-cost spaying and

            b.            Pet behavior consultants for obedience problems.

            c.            Local humane societies that would assist with any problems arising in the

            d.            Educational material on proper pet care and responsible pet ownership.

            e.            Will notify management of any unresolved complaints.


The Pet Committee will be responsible for resolving complaints which may arise at each development.  The committee will be the first line of complaint receipt as well as complaint resolution.  Written complaints may be made to the Pet Committee which will approach the pet owner about such complaints and attempt to reach a resolution with the pet owner.

The Pet Committee shall work in locating and using resources to help tenants and management in the solution of pet problems.


Should the Pet Committee be unable to resolve a complaint, the complaint will be referred to the Pet Grievance Panel.

  1. The Pet Grievance Panel, which will consist of a representative of DHA, a representative of the Pet Committee, drawn by lot, and a DHCH Pet Ombudsman, may require that a pet be permanently removed if the violation of the Pet Policy is a serious violation, one which causes harm to tenants, significant damage to property, or creates a health or safety hazard.
  1. The DHCH Pet Ombudsman will arrange meetings of the Pet Grievance Panel for hearings to appeal the decision of the Pet Committee.  The Pet Grievance Panel can hear appeals of decisions regarding the pets only if the person requesting the hearing agrees to the following conditions:
  1. The jurisdiction of the Grievance Panel as stated in lease rider.

b. The Pet Grievance Panel can require permanent removal of a pet, after notice and hearing, and can further determine if the tenant may replace the pet with another.

c. Non-compliance with the decision of the Pet grievance Panel is sufficient cause for termination of the tenant’s dwelling lease with the housing authority.


1. No pet is to remain unattended, without proper care, for more than 24 hours, except in the case of an assistive dog, which shall be no more than 12 hours.

2. If the health or safety of a companion animal is threatened by incapacity or death of the owner, the Pet Committee and/or management will contact the caretakers designated by tenant.


1. If caregivers are unable or unwilling to assume responsibility for the pet and tenant is unable to locate alternates, the Pet Committee and/or management may contact the MSPCA or other suitable humane society for assistance with the pet.

  • If no source of aid is available, management may enter the premises, remove the pet, and arrange for pet care for no less than ten days to protect the pet.  Funds for such care will come from the tenant’s pet deposit. In case of no pet deposit, the animal will be turned over to a human society.
copyright 2008 • danvers housing authority • massachusetts • 978-777-0909