Co-op Eviction Battle over Service Dog
As reported in the New York Post, a Manhattan woman who suffers from post 9/11 stress disorder was sued for eviction by the co-op board of her building because she has a service dog which they claim she does not need and is a ruse to get around the co-op’s stringent no pets allowed policy. The dog in question is a small 14 lbs. mixed breed who was certified as a service dog by the Health Department. Despite that document and her doctor’s letter stating the owner of the dog is disabled, the co-op has taken the position in court that she is not disabled and the dog is not a service dog.
The co-op’s lawyer has stated that the owner is not sick and the dog only became a service dog after the eviction notice was served. Meanwhile, the dog owner has filed a discrimination complaint under the Americans with Disabilities Act claiming that the co-op is discriminating against her.
The trial is scheduled to start on August 14, 2013, in Housing Court.
These type of cases are not as unusual as you may think. I represented an elderly woman in Fort Lee who had a dog in her apartment in violation of the co-op’s rules against owning pets and they also sued her. Fortunately, I was able to work out a settlement to the lawsuit which allowed my client to keep her dog.
If you are having a problem with your landlord or a condo or co-op board, you should contact an animal law attorney immediately to protect your rights and not wait until you are sued.