Condo Pet Restrictions and Service Animals

As a Florida Attorney that represents Condo Owners and Homeowners that have disputes with their Associations I hear many stories of  about how owners have been damaged by the actions or inactions of their Associations.  I usually only hear the bad.  As an experienced Trial Attorney I know that it is my job to listen to other people’s problems and then find a solution by applying the law to the facts at hand to help people solve their problem. Although  it gives me great satisfaction to help these people resolve their problems,  I am always writing about the disputes and rarely do I get the opportunity to share something truly heartwarming with my readers.  That is why, when I read the story about 11 year old Billy Ma and his Service Dog Polar I had to share it with you.

The story is truly heartwarming and  you should all read the entire story by clicking the link above or by going to http://www.pawnation.com/.   The story focuses on a young boy suffering from a severe type of Muscular Dystrophy. His name is Billy Ma and he is 11 years old.  Billy had been waiting to pick out his Service Dog for almost 2 years.  He finally got the call and traveled from Ohio to Atlanta where these wonderful service dogs are trained. It is an amazing process how these animals begin their training when they are just days old.

The most touching part is that it really isn’t the human picking the dog but the other way around.  Even though the Facility reviews medical records and patient profiles to help with the matching process, once the dogs meet their candidates  it is usually the dog that selects the candidate that it will spend the rest of its life with.  Billy’s form of Muscular Dystrophy required him to take steroids which stunted his growth.  Because the disease wasted away his muscles  it has become very difficult for him to hold himself up when walking.  As a result he falls alot so it was especially touching that the largest of the dogs took a liking to the smallest of boys.  The 18 month old lab/retriever mix named Polar immediately focused on Billy during the matching process. The other dogs simply paced around his wheelchair. Normally the trainers would not suggest such a large dog for such a small boy. However, it is Polars size that truly helps him to be of service to Billy. Polar  will wear a harness with handles and because of the dog’s large size Billy will be able to grab onto the harness in order to keep his balance.  With Polar’s help Billy will be able to continue to walk on his own.

Billy Ma was placed on a priority list to be matched with his dog. Unfortunately others wait almost 5 years for their service dogs.  It would truly be a crime if an Association refused to make reasonable accomodations for a dog like Polar claiming some type of absurd pet restriction. Unfortunately most Associations and Property Managers fail to understand that Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals are not subject to Association Pet Restrictions.  Any attempt by an Association to force an owner to get rid of such an animal would be a clear violation of  both State and Federal Fair Housing Laws.

If you or somebody you love has a service animal or emoptional support animal and your Association has not made reasonable accomodations for you or worse is trying to enforce Pet Restrictions that don’t apply to your animal,  you need to contact us to discuss your rights. In most cases you could be entitled to Compensatory Damages as wells as reimbursement of your Attorney’s Fees and expenses.

The Law Offices of Herb M. Milgrim, P.A. is a Florida Law Firm that takes pride in representing Condo Owners, Homeowners and Cooperative Owners that have disputes or are contemplating Litigation or a Lawsuit against their Association.  Don’t try to deal with the matter on your own. Seek out legal advice from an experienced Trial Attorney that focuses on representing condo owners. Your Association keeps expensive Florida Law Firms on Retainer so they can fight and delay your claim, and they pay these expensive Law Firms with your money. Contact us now to get a free case evaluation.

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