September 12, 2014
As even disability-rights advocates like Service Dog Central point out, case law relating to the federal Fair Housing Act allows even a bona fide service animal to be removed from an apartment building "if the presence of the animal causes a fundamental alteration of the goods and services offered to other tenants. For example, a dog that nuisance barks keeping neighbors awake at night...." Yet as the New York Daily News reports, a family at an East 86th Street co-op is suing the board in order to keep a support dog that the board's attorney says is a barking nuisance — with the family rebuffing requests to train the dog to diminish barking or to soundproof the apartment. Harriet Woodard says her 32-year-old daughter Elizabeth suffers from mast cell activation syndrome, and her dog Olivia instinctively alerts her to trigger foods or to lie down when her blood pressure is about to spike. All well and good. Still doesn't explain the family's selfish refusal to soundproof.
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