Can Condo Association Force Vet to Give Up Support Dog?
By Debbie Gregory.
The federal government will look into whether 70-year-old Vietnam veteran Robert L. Brady will have to give up Bane, the mixed-breed sidekick that his psychologist deemed as an emotional support dog.
Brady filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) after a judicial arbitrator determined the dog exceeded the homeowners association weight limit by six pounds.
Evicting animals based on their weight is “senseless” because size doesn’t predict whether a dog will attack someone. It is also difficult to predict what a puppy will weigh by the time they reach adulthood, which is already too late.
HUD will consider whether the case violates fair-housing laws by forcing the widower to surrender the animal despite Orlando Veteran Administration psychologist Matthew Waesche’s recommendation that Brady keep the dog.
“The reason I don’t want to lose him is that he keeps my mind off the war and everything. He’s just a wonderful companion,” said the widower, who retired last year from working as a theme-park bus driver. “My life would be lost without a good companion and that’s why I’m doing all I can to keep from having to get rid of him.”
Waesche wrote in an October 2015 letter that Brady was under his care and that the dog appears to help keep his owner’s mental health issues in remission.
Unlike service dogs trained to assist disabled people with daily tasks, emotional support animals don’t require training. They can be any species and require no certification to assist owners who have psychological disabilities.
“The real crux of our concerns are the HUD fair-housing issues and we’re hopeful it takes its course the way we want it to,” said Orlando attorney Jonathan Paul, who represents Brady.
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