My recent post on one man's frustration with his condo association has unleashed some pent-up frustration among Whistleblower readers who belong to these kinds of associations. One townhouse owner in Minnetonka wants to know: Can a homeowner association impose a stricter leash law than the city?

The city of Minnetonka allows dogs off a leash if they’re at their owners’ side and obedient to their commands. But this resident’s townhouse association requires dogs to be on leashes, even in driveways, and will assess fines for violations, she says.

Homeowner associations often impose rules for residents that go beyond city ordinances, Minnetonka community development director Julie Wischnack said. In Wischnack’s view, a private leash rule can apply in common areas they maintain, which may include driveways and yards.

But on a sidewalk or other right of way in Minnetonka, you can take well-behaved dogs for a leash-free walk.

Here's the language of the Minnetonka city ordinance:


925.085. Prohibitions.
1. An owner must not cause or permit his/her dog to run at large within the city limits, including within a public park, except as otherwise allowed by this code. Being "at large" means being off the property of the person owning, harboring or keeping the dog and not: (a) at heel beside a person having custody of it and obedient to that person's command; (b) within a private motor vehicle of a person owning, harboring or keeping the animal; or (c) controlled by a leash not exceeding six feet in length.
2. An owner must not cause or permit his/her dog to be on a public beach or school grounds, even if under restraint, except for dogs that have been specially trained and certified to perform tasks to assist people, such as handicapped assistance, police canine duties, or search and rescue.
3. A person must not abandon an animal within the city.
4. A person must not keep, own, harbor or otherwise possess a public nuisance animal, which is one that:
a. is maintained in a manner that violates section 925.080(2);
b. by virtue of number or types of animals maintained, is offensive or dangerous to the public health, safety or welfare; or
c. has been the subject of a violation of this chapter more than two times in a 24-month period.
5. A person must not own, keep, or have in his/her possession an animal that unreasonably causes annoyance or disturbance to another person by frequent howling, yelping, barking, or other kinds of noise. This paragraph may not be enforced unless the noise has continued for a 10-minute period and unless the person has been given notice of the level of noise deemed to be a violation and an opportunity to comply.
6. A person must not permit an animal under his/her care, custody or control to damage another person's lawn, garden or other property.
7. A person must not injure, harass, or interfere with a police canine in the lawful performance of its duties, or attempt, permit or cause the same.
8. An owner of an animal must not fail to restrain the animal from inflicting or attempting to inflict bodily injury on a person at any place or on a domestic animal off the owner's property, except in the circumstances specified in section 925.005(10), paragraphs d, e, and f.
9. A person, except police officers in the lawful performance of their duties using a police canine, must not cause or encourage an animal to engage in unprovoked attacks upon human beings or domestic animals.
10. A person must not own, possess, harbor, or train an animal for the purpose of fighting with other animals.
 

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