Pet restrictions are generally associated with rentals; however, homeowners also have animal restrictions, depending on the type of animal and where the property is located. If you’re looking to buy a condominium or in a planned subdivision (frequently called planned unit development or PUD), be prepared for rules. Lots of rules, covering everything from how many pets you can have, what type, to what color you can paint the doghouse.
These rules can be found in a document called the development’s “Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions” (CC&Rs); the bylaws or declarations of a condominium or homeowners’ association. They often forbid or strictly limit the number of animals that homeowners can have, and there is little you can do to get around them. If a homeowner violates a “no pets rule,” the governing body can get a court order that prohibits the homeowner from keeping the pet.
But even homeowners who purchase property outside of a development with CC&Rs are also subject to animal regulations, though not typically to the same extent.
Within the City of Jacksonville, pets are generally regulated through the city’s noise ordinance. The noise ordinance prohibits animals from becoming a nuisance to neighbors. Jacksonville does allow the keeping of farm animals in some residential zone districts. The regulations vary depending on the zone district so be sure to check with the City of Jacksonville prior to purchasing property if you want to own farm animals. Generally, two domesticated farm animals are allowed, provided that the lot is at least three acres; however, one additional animal may be kept for each acre over three acres. The area where the animals are confined is not allowed to be located closer than 125 feet to a home on any adjacent property; and barns, stables and other buildings and structures to house the animals cannot be located closer than 50 feet to any property line.
In addition, the possession of domesticated animals less than 100 pounds is allowed provided that any area of confinement is not located closer than 10 feet to any property line and 30 feet to a home on any adjoining property. The weight limitation does not apply to dogs.
In Jackson County, (outside of the Jacksonville City limits) the regulations primarily apply to farm animals which are considered an agricultural use and are allowed in all zone districts. There are limitations, however.
Large animals, (such as cows, horses, mules, donkeys, llamas, etc.) are allowed at one animal per acre. A single large animal may not be kept on a parcel smaller than 30,000 square feet in size; except in the White City Urban Residential Districts where large animals are not permitted. Smaller animals, (alpacas, sheep, goats, and miniature horses) are allowed at three per acre. Poultry are allowed at 20 per acre (except roosters and peafowl in the White City Urban Residential Districts).
Intensive animal keeping, (having more than the number of animals over nine months in age specified above) is allowed in farm and forest and certain other zone districts.
This article provides a summary of animal keeping regulations; be sure to check with the appropriate Planning Department prior to purchasing property if you want to keep animals to find out the specific limitations.