Service dog canine controversy

Seven On Your Side
May 25, 2009 3:13:00 PM PDT
The dog owner had lived in a rent stabilized apartment for nearly 20 years. But now was staring down an eviction notice. At issue? A 20 pound dog named Oscar. The landlord says he violates the apartment's pet policy. The tenant says he's his emotional crutch and has papers to prove he's allowed. Mike Shanahan's furry companion, Oscar, isn't just a dog. He says he's his lifeline. "He's just got a really sweet temperament as you can see, he gets me up in the morning. Technically (he's) an emotional support dog."

In fact, Oscar's a registered service dog in New York City. He's even got an official tag. Michael Shanahan battles multiple medical issues. His doctor prescribed a dog for emotional support.

But Michael's management company wants them both out. It even started eviction proceedings, saying Michael's violating it's no-pet rule.

"He's a service dog," says Michael. "So I should be protected."

"A landlord has to make an exception to the no-pet policy for the disability of the tenant." Jo-Ann Frey of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has new rules regarding service dogs and so-called emotional support dogs, giving new rights to owners who own those dogs.

Just last month Eyewitness News sought her help when another tenant who's service dog was being pushed out by his landlord's no-pet policy.

"I flipped out." That was Ross Darin's reaction when he was notified he and his dog would have to move out. Fortunately, after our intervention the tenant and the dog got to stay.

So we went to work once again, and called Michael's apartment management company. They had no comment to our questions. But, just days after our calls agreed to settle the eviction proceeding and allow Michael and Oscar to stay in their apartment. And that made man and man's best friend, very happy. "Thank you so very much."

----

Story by: Tappy Phillips


Produced by: Steve Livingstone

---
STORY BY: Eyewitness News reporter Tappy Phillips


MORE SEVEN ON YOUR SIDE

USEFUL LINKS:
  • E-MAIL 7 ON YOUR SIDE

  • REPORT TYPO

  • GET 7 ON YOUR SIDE DELIVERED


  • Load Comments