Is an animal regularly fed and cared for by a strata owner a pet? Or is it maybe, in fact, a pest?
“My strata has a by-law (‘rule’ in Victoria) that owners aren’t allowed to keep a pet of any kind,” says Petula on the Flat Chat Forum. “But what is a pet? Does it have to be a domestic animal that lives and sleeps in the owners lot?
“Or can it include all animals that someone provides regular, specifically purchased food and support for injured animals, regardless of where the animal sleeps at night?
“I have two owners who regularly feed native birds. The local magpies get raw mince and the cockatoos, pigeons and lorikeets get seed bars and loose seed. Food is paid for by the owners who have even nursed injured and sick birds back to health.
“Any uneaten food is left to attract rats to the property. Water dishes are placed around the common garden areas for the birds to drink and swim in.
“Would these birds be considered ‘pets’ and hence the two owners in breach of the by-law?”
They are not pets because they don’t live there and they are not brought on to the property – they are free to come and go as they please. Whether or not the food is good for them is another issue; apparently feeding wild birds the wrong food can kill them (see below).
However another question arises: are they in fact pests? If they are damaging or making a mess on common property, or creating a disturbance with their noise, or the left-overs are attracting rats, you could introduce another by-law to get the feeding to stop.
Plenty of owners corporations have that rule because of the nuisance of large numbers of wild birds flocking on to one balcony (and dropping “gifts” below).
And this is a perfect example of how strata communities set their own standards of behaviour. If enough owners find this unacceptable, for whatever reason, they can pass a rule forbidding it. It really is as simple as that.