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DBrown2

HOA dispute - Pigeons

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The HOA for a subdivision located in Tennessee, Blount County, has a restriction that prohibits a member from raising, breeding or boarding "fowl" on their tract.  The Board of Directors of said HOA have concluded that their interpretation of the definition of the term "fowl" includes homing pigeons that are raced for sport.  They base this position on the definition of "fowl" found on a website using Webster's Dictionary as the source. 

 

Therefore my question is, are homing pigeons raced for sport considered "fowl" in the eyes of the law in Tennessee and or Blount County?

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Unless there is some overriding state law or constitutional interest at stake, an HOA has authority to prohibit things that would otherwise not be prohibited under state/local law.

Bird ownership likely doesn't implicate any constitutional interests.

So, unless some Tennessee state law or Blount County ordinance expressly overrides HOA authority to regulate bird ownership, the HOA has the authority to regulate the keeping of 'fowl' when there is a requirement in the governing documents on that topic, or when the HOA has properly adopted a policy addressing that topic.

Assuming that the governing documents of the HOA don't expressly provide for a definition of the term 'fowl', the HOA Board has to then decide how to interpret and apply its policy.  Courts tasked with interpreting and applying statutes will sometimes refer to dictionaries to determine the definition of a term when the particular term used in the statutes isn't given a specific definition in the statutes.  An HOA's use of a similar approach is probably defensible.

 

You can consult with a lawyer in Tennessee (and, probably Blount County) to get a definitive answer, but a quick google search didn't turn up any Tennessee statutes that covered the particular subject.  Meaning the HOA's interpretation is likely to hold up if challenged.

 

 

Edited by MiddlePart
typo fix

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7 hours ago, DBrown2 said:

Therefore my question is, are homing pigeons raced for sport considered "fowl" in the eyes of the law in Tennessee and or Blount County?

 

What were your reasons for buying into an HOA?

 

I'm wondering what was so attractive to you that you willingly gave up your freedom to use your property as you wished.

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