There are many stories about Homeowners’ Associations and just what rights they have to control your property. But this story is about a Vietnam veteran and his service dog, Bane.
70-year old Robert Brady has lived in his neighborhood complex for 40 years. He lives there with his service dog, Bane, who helps him with his mental health issues. Or at least he did until his homeowners’ association got involved.
The Veterans Administration approved the service dog to help Brady ease some of his issues with anxiety and depression. The HOA has a covenant stating that dogs must weigh 35 pounds or less. Bane weighs 40 pounds. He lost a non-binding arbitration to keep Bane. Now Brady is suing the condo board.
His lawsuit also includes a fair-housing claim. Brady is hoping to get service-dog training in his bid to keep Bane.
Service dogs have become an increasing point of contention as they are now common in dog parks, on airplanes and in retail stores. But Brady never dreamed he would have this fight over his dog living in his home.
Brady’s attorney has filed the fair-housing complaint, which is now being considered by the city of Orlando, Florida. He maintains that the complex failed to take into consideration the disabled military veteran’s rights or his documented need for an emotional support animal.
The complaint states that the HOA and property management group discriminated against Brady by refusing to waive the weight requirements, even though they knew of Brady’s medical conditions related to his three tours of duty in Vietnam.
Brady says Bane has helped him cope with difficult memories. A Veteran’s Administration psychologist who has treated Brady says that Bane helps keep his owner’s mental health issues in remission.
What do you think? Should Homeowner’s Associations have to abide by discrimination laws? Should Brady be allowed to keep Bane?
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