Eldorado Improvement Association, Inc. v. Billings

374 P.3d 737 (2016)

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Eldorado Improvement Association, Inc. v. Billings

New Mexico Court of Appeals
374 P.3d 737 (2016)

Facts

In 1972, a developer established Eldorado at Santa Fe Subdivision. The developer also established a restrictive covenant that stated that the subdivision’s purpose was to provide residents with an attractive rural setting. The covenant also contained a provision that prohibited residents from having animals, birds, or poultry unless kept as recognized household pets. Eldorado Improvement Association, Inc. (association) (plaintiff), tasked with enforcing the covenant, sued Susan Billings and other residents (defendants) for having pet chickens and hens and submitted a motion for summary judgment. The association maintained that chickens and hens did not constitute recognized household pets because the association had never allowed residents to keep such animals as pets and the developer had not intended to allow chickens and hens on the premises. The association also introduced an affidavit from an expert in poultry populations, who claimed that most poultry owners kept poultry for food instead of as pets. The district court concluded that the developer, association, and society at large did not recognize chickens and hens as household pets and that recognizing the animals as such would render the covenant meaningless. The court granted the association’s motion and ordered the residents to remove their chickens and hens. The residents appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Sutin, J.)

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