Are Dogs Allowed in a Community Pool?

If you live in condo or townhome community that’s run by a COA (Condominium Owner Association) or HOA (Home Owner Association), it’s likely that ownership of dogs is allowed.

But that doesn’t mean that dogs are allowed access to the pool area, much less in the pool itself.

There are many laws and health regulations that may apply about access for dogs to the pool area.

First, look at the rules that govern the use of common areas in your condominium building or complex. They are usually called Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs). They may spell out exactly what is and isn’t allowed.

Your city, county or state’s health department may also have a health regulation against dogs in the pool, or in the pool area. In Florida, for example, all pools are considered “public pools” and subject to Florida Administrative Codes. The code states that “…animals and glass containers are prohibited within the fenced pool area, or 50 feet from pool edge when no fence exists.” If the authorities discover residents violating the code, the pool could be shut down or drained.

In Florida, this law even applies to service animals. But the U.S. Department of Justice and the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) run counter to the state law. The ADA states that service animals are allowed in swimming pool area and enclosures at public recreational bathing facilities. The Department of Justice and the ADA define a ‘service animal’ as ‘a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability.

The ADA does not override public health rules that prohibit dogs in swimming pools. But according to the ADA, service animals must be allowed on the pool deck and in other areas where the public can go. A service dog in the pool area is considered a reasonable ADA accommodation.