Gilroy’s New ‘Bad Dog’ Ordinance

Here’s a “High 5” for Gilroy City Council and Police Chief Denise Turner!  Gilroy has a ‘dangerous dog’ ordinance with some new “teeth” in its consequences.

Those who parade their dangerous dog like a warning sign will be responsible for their pet’s conduct: they now have strict liabilities for the costs of insurance, spay/neutering, microchipping and fines.  I just wish such an ordinance was on the books earlier…

The appraiser for one of our sales was attacked by the occupant’s dog even when the dog’s owner was right there with the appraiser.  I was in another part of the home and heard the commotion.  Unless you have experienced it yourself you cannot know the horror such an attack can have.  Not only is the event itself bone-chilling but the vivid memory of the attack lives long in the mind of the innocent person who was assaulted.  To the appraiser’s credit the value of the home was not negatively affected.

A friend of ours little girl was playing with her neighbor friends when their dog attacked her.  The top half of her ear was torn off and she had teeth punctures in her forehead.  The medical treatment included a  rabies regimine.  While she recovered physically that girl had emotional problems for many years after.

What do you think?  Do you think Gilroy’s toughened animal control ordinance went too far, not far enough?   If you think Gilroy, like San Francisco and Santa Monica over reacted to dangerous dogs I have one question for you: have you personally been involved in or know intimately of, a dog attack?   

Click here for the details of Gilroy’s new ordinance.

Doggie Doors vs. Insurance

In these Dog Days of Summer it seems like every other home I show in Gilroy lately has a pet door in the garage door entry to the home.  There is nothing more exciting than to have “Spike” come blasting through the door to check out who is in his home.

Gilroy, as well as virtually every other city, has a building code requiring that homes be built with a firewall between the attached garage and the home.  Many house fires begin in the garage so the firewall is engineered to impede a fire which starts in the garage from spreading to the home.  Most jurisdictions require the firewall to provide such a delay for up to two hours.

While making “Spike’s” life a little more convenient the homeowner who puts a pet door in the the door leading into the home from the garage may have problems collecting from their homeowners insurance where a fire began in the garage.

I find it interesting that many insurance agents say homeowners with such pet doors will still be covered yet home inspectors seem compelled to address this issue in their written reports.

Occasionally, a homeowner will cut the firewall for attic access or to install a drop down ladder.  They may face the same dilemma with their insurance company.

Building Code also requires that your garage-to-home door have a functioning, self-closing, hinge.  For obvious reasons that door needs to close so that the firewall retards the spread of a garage fire.  For reasons beyond me some homeowners disengage such a hinge.  Again, such a move may prove costly later.

So, why not check with your homeowner insurance agent and see what their position is on the doggie door dilemma.  We can check with the City’s code enforcement folks.  Sorry “Spike”.  Of course the standing rule remains: “caveat emptor”.

Smoke Alarms – Time to Update

I listened to home inspector today as he  inspected a house   I sold in San Jose.  He was talking about the importance of smoke alarms and how most homes only have an “ionization” or a “photoelectric” type detector   but not both.  Up to that comment I had smugly checked off that my home had a smoke alarm and we were set. I realized, however, that I didn’t even know which type I had.  Then the inspector referred to some studies that suggest people can sleep right through the constant    pitch of a smoke alarms going off – almost like getting  used to “white noise” or constant background sounds.

Enter “alarm and voice” devises and variable pitch alarms.  The newest alarms  even talk to you: “Warning, Warning, Fire, Fire“.  Then they put out a variable pitch alarm.  When the inspector mentioned “the other type of alarm: “the CO2 detector” I knew I needed to get updated.  “You know that Carbon Monoxide is called the ‘Silent Killer’, right?.  Well there is an alarm for that too”, he offered.  While I vaguely remember thinking about that in the past I did not install a CO detector in my home.

I found  “National Fire Protection Association”  website to be very helpful.  I quickly realized that my home was not adequately equipped with the most up-to-date smoke detectors nor do I have enough detectors in my two story home.   I’m headed to Lowe’s for all three types of alarms.

How about your home?  I recommend that you go to NFPA’s website