Condo Owner in Dog Fight to Keep 'Prescription Pet'


Condo owners are legally entitled to the same pet allowances as other residents in need: There are guide dogs for the blind and alert dogs for the hard-of-hearing. Their owners are protected under the Americans With Disabilities Act when it comes to keeping the animals at home in a building that might otherwise have a no pets allowed policy. However, prescription pets that fall under the "emotional service animal" category are, well, a different breed, as the owner isn't protected under the ADA, but maybe they could be under the Fair Housing Act, as one Florida condo owner is learning the hard way.

Phyllis Schleifer, 68, pictured left, was prescribed a dog by her doctors. The three-pound chihuahua, named Sweetie, is not there to be her eyes or ears, but is to help keep the "fragile and lonely" woman company, as she suffers from "severe depression and post-traumatic stress disorder" after a car accident and the death of her husband of 42 years.

However, her Deerfield Beach, Fla., condo association said, it doesn't care what the reason is, the rules are the rules and the dog isn't allowed under its "no walking pets" rule. Especially since it hasn't received proof that Sweetie is really a service dog.

Now civil rights commissioners for the Broward County government decided Tuesday it will sue Schleifer's Ventnor "H" Condo Association on her behalf to help her keep her emotional support dog, her attorney told AOL Real Estate.