Vicious Dogs - Posted by bill

Posted by eBankRobber on June 01, 1999 at 23:16:08:

I use the 20 lbs. rule also

Vicious Dogs - Posted by bill

Posted by bill on June 01, 1999 at 10:31:55:

I have some houses/apartments where I accept pets, however, it seems that a high percentage of callers with pets have Rotweilers, pit bulls, etc. Does anyone have a list of so called vicious dogs? It is my opinion that renting to someone with foreknowledge that they have one of these would create a tremendous liability problem should something happen. To be fair in renting, I need to come up with a consistent approach to pets and I am trying to write these dogs as unacceptable due to liability. Can someone help me with this list and any laws (Federal or otherwise) about these pets?

Not the Doberman… P L E A S E! - Posted by Bill Gatten

Posted by Bill Gatten on June 02, 1999 at 21:08:14:

Whatever you do, P L E A S E don’t include Dobies in your list, like insurance companies do. The Doberman is the most falsely maligned breed ever. The reason for their reputation is because when Hollywood wants a naturally intelligent and easy to train, but fierce looking animal, they use Dobies because they are so bright. They are second in intelligence only to German Shepherds, Russian Wolfhounds and Standard Poodles (but who’s gonna fear Rin Tin Tin, or something that looks like a French Foo Puff, or an uppity snoot hound…although any one of them is a hundred times more likely to rip your throat out and bark down the hole, than would be a Doberman).

Dobies can be taught to attack, look mean, bear teeth, practice law, or snarl on command… anything they want with the fewest repetitions and the least training. So everyone who sees Dobies “acting” vicious in the movies presumes they are. They’re not (unless they are taught to be, or are throw-backs to their more Lupine [wolfly] ancestral heritage)!

The Doberman was originally used by the German Army as attack dogs because they were so easy to teach to attack and guard… not because they are naturally aggresive or vicious. Rotweilers? Um… well, that’s another deal I think. They were originally bred to be mean muthabeans, and to chase Prussians down and eat them, I’m told. And frankly, I’ve never met a Rotweiler who wouldn’t eat a Prussian; or a Prussian who owned a Rotweiler. In my book, any dog that can bark and drool while inhaling is not to be screwed around with.

We have a Black Lab (Rambo) and a Dobie (Maximillian). The Lab–deservedly reputed to be the cuddliest and sweetest breed in the world–is the Watch Dog of the pair. He is much more territorial, and would (we’re pretty sure) attack someone if challenged. The Dobie (Ol’ “Maxie”), on the other hand, runs and hides if anyone approaches the gate (he guards dilligently and looks real fierce until they invite themselves in, however). If you’re a bird, a bunny or a squirrel, you’re in big trouble with Max; but if you’re an intruder… hey, take whatever you want. No problemo.

“If it has a basal metabolism, make love to it: if it doesn’t, and is smaller than a breadbox… eat it.” That’s the Dobie creed (though, come to think of it…that’s kind’a my motto too, I guess).


Re: Vicious Dogs - Posted by Bert G

Posted by Bert G on June 02, 1999 at 12:07:48:

While it appears that certain breeds, such as pit bulls, tend to have more aggressive tendancies, a lot of a particular dog’s behavior is how its raised. The only Rotweilers and Doberman’s I’ve known have been real sweethears. (I knew a dobie who thought she was a lap dog.) And just about any breed will become aggressive if it feels threatened. One of my tenants has a small terrier mix. I had to go over for maintenance once when the tenant wasn’t home, and the normally nice dog became very threatening and nasty. Must have thought I’d come for the rent. The dog was doing her job, protecting her owner’s home.

Someone else mentioned that you have to allow guide dogs. It can go beyond that. There have been many cases in the past few years where emotionaly disturbed people have been given medical leave to have a companion animal. To refuse them would be a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. I’m pretty sure, however, that you can set reasonable limits on the type of pet. Check with your local apartment association.


Re: Vicious Dogs - Posted by Brandi_TX

Posted by Brandi_TX on June 02, 1999 at 24:10:56:

If you want to build a list of vicious dogs, call or visit your local Humane Society / Animal Shelter. They know which animals are “worse” than others. They can also tell you what your county states is the maximum number of pets a person may own.

It wouldn’t hurt to be on the good side of someone from the shelter. They accept donations of dog and cat food and the like. Stop by with your donation and say “oh by the way, I have a few questions…”

Good Luck to you.


Re: Vicious Dogs - Posted by Bill K. (AZ)

Posted by Bill K. (AZ) on June 01, 1999 at 14:38:03:


Based on your name, you’ve got to be a GREAT guy! So, let me add the following:

I’m glad that you are not totally excluding pets in your rentals. Pets are a terrific source of extra cash flow. You can charge an additional security deposit for damages AND additional monthly rent. I owned a rental property in California many, many years ago. I limited pets to breeds whose full-grown weight is 20 pounds or less. I picked up an additional $350 security deposit and $30/month rent.

Regarding liability, you might consider contacting a lawyer to see if you can create a CYA form. In addition, if there are renter’s insurance policies that cover the actions of the tenant’s pets, I’d make sure that the tenant purchased one. I never had a problem when I was a landlord, but I didn’t even know enough to be concerned about liability back then.

I hope this helps.

Bill K. (AZ)

Re: Vicious Dogs - Posted by Redline

Posted by Redline on June 01, 1999 at 13:40:58:

Here in NJ pets CAN be discriminated against. IOW, you can say NO pets and enforce that. The only exceptions to this I can see are seeing eye dogs.

I was also told that some insurance companies will not cover (or will charge LOTS more) for households with certain types of dogs. I expect the same to be true for rental units. Call your carrier and find out.


Re: Vicious Dogs - Posted by Rob FL

Posted by Rob FL on June 01, 1999 at 12:24:25:

More than likely any laws regarding these dogs are state or local laws. Try or

I had a tenant of mine purchase a pit bull/lab mix (a puppy) for her son’s birthday. I didn’t find out about the dog until about 3 weeks later. Her lease specifically prohibited any pets.

To accomodate her as well as protect myself we did a lease amendment. The amendment went as follows (paraphrased).

She gave me an extra $200 in deposit money and she agreed to keep the dog restrained either with a leash or behing the fence at all times. Also, if for any reason I felt she needed to get insurance to protect the property and myself for liability, I could force her to get insurance to cover this.

It has been several months and the dog is very docile, so I am not too worried about a liability issue, but I still keep the new lease clause intact.

Hope that helps.