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Pet Policy

Pet Policy

This policy does not apply to animals that are used to assist persons with disabilities. Assistive animals are allowed in all public housing facilities with no restrictions other than those imposed on all tenants to maintain their units and associated facilities in a decent, safe, and sanitary manner and to refrain from disturbing their neighbors. Assistive Animals are animals that assist, support, or provide services to persons with disabilities.

Pets In Public Housing
The Smithfield Housing Authority allows for pet ownership in its developments with the written pre-approval of the Housing Authority. Residents are responsible for any damage caused by their pets, including the cost of fumigating or cleaning their units. In exchange for this right, the resident assumes full responsibility and liability for the pet(s) and agrees to hold the Smithfield Housing Authority harmless from any claims caused by an action or inaction of the pet(s).

Residents must have prior written approval of the Housing Authority before moving a pet into their unit. Residents must request approval on the Authorization for Pet Ownership Form that must be fully completed before the Housing Authority will approve the request. Residents must furnish the Housing Authority with a color photograph and complete description of the pet(s) so they can be identified if found running loose.

Types and Number of Pets
The Smithfield Housing Authority will allow only common household pets. This means only domesticated animals such as a dog, cat, bird, rodent (including a rabbit), fish, or a turtle, will be allowed in units. Common household pets do not include reptiles (except turtles). If this definition conflicts with a state or local law or regulation, the state or local law or regulation shall govern. A pet will not be allowed if the desired animal, or breed, is commonly known to have a vicious or aggressive disposition (such as a Doberman, Pit Bull, Chow, Rottweiler, etc.).

All dogs and cats must be spayed or neutered before they become six months old. A licensed veterinarian must verify this fact.

Only two (2) pets per unit, depending on the size of the unit, will be allowed and the allowable number per unit is according to the below schedule. (Note: The Town of Smithfield's ordinances allow no more than two (2) pets per household.)

Unit Size - Number of Pets
Zero Bedroom - One
One Bedroom - One
Two Bedrooms - One
Three Bedrooms - Two
Four or More Bedrooms - Two

With written permission this maximum number of pets by unit size may be altered for special circumstances and also to allow for two (2) small birds or a fish aquarium, provided that the tank capacity is no more than twenty (20) gallons, and the number of fish will be limited to the maximum number of fish normally recommended in that particular size of aquarium.

Any animals deemed to be potentially harmful to the health or safety of others, including attacking or fight trained dogs, will not be allowed.

No animal may exceed twenty-five pounds in weight anticipated at full adult size. If the weight of the pet cannot be reasonably predicted at adult size, a licensed veterinarian must furnish the Smithfield Housing Authority with an estimate of the anticipated weight at full adult size.

To be approved, pets must be appropriately inoculated against rabies, distemper and other conditions prescribed by state and/or local ordinances. They must comply with all other state and local public health, animal control, and anticruelty laws including any licensing requirements. A certification signed by a licensed veterinarian or state, or local official shall be annually filed with the Smithfield Housing Authority to attest to the inoculations. This certification is due during the annual re-examination interview.

A tenant is required to provide reasonable nutrition; grooming, exercise, pest control and routine veterinarian care for the pet(s).

Pet Deposit
A pet deposit of $200.00 is required at the time of registering a pet, except that no deposit will be required for small birds, fish, or turtles. This deposit may be paid in increments as follows: $50 at the time of signing the pet agreement and $10 per month until the balance is paid. The deposit is refundable when the pet(s) or the family vacates the unit, less any amounts owed due to damage beyond normal wear and tear. This deposit does not limit the tenant's liability for damages that occur due to pet ownership or any action available to the Smithfield Housing Authority to recover the cost of repairs, including the use of other security deposits paid by the tenant.

Financial Obligation of Residents
Any resident who owns or keeps a pet(s) in their dwelling unit will be required to pay for any damages caused by the pet(s). Also, any pet-related insect infestation in the pet owner's unit will be the financial responsibility of the pet owner and the Smithfield Housing Authority reserves the right to exterminate, or have the unit exterminated, and charge the resident for this service.

Nuisance or Threat to Health and Safety
The pet(s) and its living quarters must be maintained in a manner to prevent odors and any other unsanitary conditions in the owner's unit and surrounding areas.

Repeated substantiated complaints by neighbors or Smithfield Housing Authority personnel regarding pets disturbing the peace of neighbors through noise, odor, animal waste, or other nuisances may result in the owner having to remove the pet(s) or lease termination.

Pets who make noise continuously and/or incessantly for a period of 10 minutes or intermittently for one half hour or more to the disturbance of any person at any time of day or night shall be considered a nuisance.

Designation of Pet Areas
Pets must be kept in the pet owner's unit. While outside the unit, the pet must be on a lease and accompanied by an adult or other responsible member of the tenant household, always. No outdoor cages may be constructed. Pets will be allowed only in designated areas on the grounds of the property if the Smithfield Housing Authority designates a pet area for the site. Pet owners must clean up after their pets immediately afterwards and are responsible for disposing of pet waste.

Except for assistive animals, no pets shall be allowed in the community rooms, community room kitchens, laundry rooms, public bathrooms, lobbies, hallways, or offices in any of our properties.

To accommodate residents who have medically certified allergic or phobic reactions to dogs, cats, or other pets, those pets may be barred from our development(s)/(building(s)). This shall be implemented based on demand for this service.

Miscellaneous Rules
Pets may not be left unattended in a dwelling unit for over eight hours. If the pet(s) is left unattended and no arrangements have been made for its care, the Smithfield Housing Authority will have the right to enter the premises and take the uncared-for pet(s) to be boarded at a local animal care facility at the total expense of the resident.

Residents must take appropriate actions to protect their pets from fleas and ticks.

All dogs and cats must wear a tag bearing the resident's name and phone number and the date of the latest rabies inoculation.

Pets cannot be kept, bred, or used for any commercial purpose.

Residents owning cats shall maintain waterproof litter boxes for cat waste. Refuse from litter boxes shall not accumulate or become unsightly or unsanitary. Litter shall be disposed of in an appropriate manner.

A pet owner shall physically control or confine his/her pet during the times when Housing Authority employees, agents of the Housing Authority or others must enter the pet owner's apartment to conduct business, provide services, enforce lease terms, etc.

If a pet causes harm to any person, the pet's owner shall be required to permanently remove the pet from the Housing Authority's property within 24 hours of written notice from the Housing Authority. The pet owner may also be subject to termination of his/her dwelling lease.

A pet owner who violates any other conditions of this policy may be required to remove his/her pet from the development within 10 days of written notice from the Housing Authority. The pet owner may also be subject to termination of his/her dwelling lease.

The Housing Authority's grievance procedures shall be applicable to all individual grievances or disputes arising out of violations or alleged violations of this policy.

Visiting Pets
Pets that meet the size and type criteria outlined above may visit the projects/buildings where pets are allowed for up to two weeks without Smithfield Housing Authority approval. Tenants who have visiting pets must abide by the conditions of this policy regarding health, sanitation, nuisances, and peaceful enjoyment of others. If visiting pets violate this policy or cause the tenant to violate the lease, the tenant will be required to remove the visiting pet.

Removal of Pets
The Smithfield Housing Authority, or an appropriate community authority, shall require the removal of any pet from a project if the pet's conduct or condition is determined to be a nuisance or threat to the health or safety of other occupants of the project or of other persons in the community where the project is located.

In the event of illness or death of pet owner, or in the case of an emergency, which would prevent the pet owner from properly caring for the pet(s), the Smithfield Housing Authority has permission to call the emergency caregiver(s) designated by the resident. If the Smithfield Housing Authority cannot locate the emergency caregiver(s) within 12 hours the local Pet Law Enforcement Agency will be requested to take the pet and care for it until family or friends claim the pet and assume responsibility for it. Any expenses incurred will be the responsibility of the pet owner.

Note: Local Animal Control Officers advise that an animal should be boarded for a period of up to three days. If not claimed during this time the animal will be destroyed.