Vietnam vet forced to give up his emotional support dog

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A 70-year-old vet has been told that his emotional support dog has to be out of his condominium by Jan. 11.

Robert L. Brady’s mixed-breed companion, Bane, exceeds the weight limit of 35-pounds set by the Orange Tree Village Condominiums. Bane, who weighs 41-pounds, has an uncertain future, as the condominium association won an arbitration order Dec. 12, which now compels the Vietnam veteran to surrender his 4-year-old pet.

“The reason I don’t want to lose him is that he keeps my mind off the war and everything. He’s just a wonderful companion,” said Brady, a widower. “My life would be lost without a good companion and that’s why I’m doing all I can to keep from having to get rid of him.”

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Brady retired from working as a theme-park bus driver last year, and he lives alone with Bane. While the condo association is sympathetic to his plight, they say they must enforce the rules across the board, or they will be meaningless.

Exacerbating the case is Bane’s uncertain breed, which the condo association suspects is one that is prohibited. Although Bane has never cause real problems, he has lunged at former association officer’s dachshund.

From the Sentinel:

Brady’s attorney, Jonathan Paul, said the association discriminated by looking only at the dog’s weight without considering the disabled military veteran’s documented need for an emotional support animal.

He said they are also seeking guidance under federal fair housing laws aimed at protecting housing rights of disabled residents.

Orlando Veteran Administration psychologist Matthew Waesche wrote in an October 2015 letter that Brady was under his care and that the dog appears to help keep his owner’s mental health issues in remission.

Homeowner and condo associations are among those grappling with the boundary lines for emotional support dogs. Unlike service dogs trained to assist disabled people with daily tasks, emotional support animals don’t require training. They can be any species and require no certification to assist owners who have psychological disabilities, according to a June article published by the National Institutes of Health. In Florida, one association lawyer is seeking legislation to further clarify issues related to emotional support animals.

According to Orange Tree Village Condominiums’ attorney Peter McGrath, Brady can continue to pursue legal action, but Bane must be out of the condo in three weeks, unless Brady gets an injunction.

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