Lorton, VA asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Virginia

Q: Can my neighbor rehabilitate squirrels in our HOA community?

I am a home owner in an HOA community in Virginia. My next door neighbor is rehabilitating squirrels in his home and in his backyard. He has a permit and a license through the Department of Wildlife, yet our HOA regulations state: "No non-domesticated animals, unlicensed or undocumented exotics, wildlife, livestock or poultry, or any animal of any sort failing to meet Commonwealth or Fairfax County ordinances of any kind may be raised, bred, or kept on any property within the Association."

I'm concerned about the additional wildlife that is being attracted to our area and the health of my family as squirrels can carry diseases.

Do you interpret the HOA regulation (stated above) saying that no wildlife can be kept in the community?

Is there precedent case of wildlife rehabilitation being challenged in an HOA community?

Or, is there any information about the danger of unregulated wildlife in a community?

1 Lawyer Answer
Peter J. Weinman
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A: I'm not licensed in your state but from my NY perspective, it's possible that a licensed wildlife rehabilitator might not be considered as having "raised, bred, or kept" the animals in the same sense as a pet owner would since the goal of rehabilitation is to return animals to the wild as soon as they can survive on their own.

The HOA rule you mentioned also explicitly excludes animals that "fail to meet Commonwealth or Fairfax County ordinances." If your neighbor's activities are legal under these ordinances, it could be argued that the animals in question do not fall under this rule.

Tim Akpinar agrees with this answer

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