Sombody PLEASE HELP!! - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-15-2012, 12:50 AM Thread Starter
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Sombody PLEASE HELP!!

So recently I moved in with my girlfriend. She lives in a condo community. Well, upon moving in there were no rules brought to my attention about animals, then in the minutes that the condo association releases every couple months there was a section about people picking up after their dogs and noticing of a dog in the community that is over the 25lb limit(my Sascha). About a week later we got a personal letter from the association stating that "under no circumstances are dogs over 25lbs permitted" and that we had 30days to evict the dog. Obviously we are not going to just that that be it, so we contacted the association and asked what the stipulations were for having a bigger dog, because we also see a full grown pit bull in the complex. They said that the only reason a big dog would be allowed would be as a service animal for a blind person, nothing else. When we asked about the pit bull, they said that he had a medical reason for having the dog(contradicting their own by-laws). Then the gentleman speaking with us said that if we were to get a doctors not stating that the dog was of medical benefit that, that should be fine. So...lucky for me, i guess, i have been seeing the doctor for a heart condition lately and since getting my girl the problem that i have been having doesn't happen nearly as much, i have been losing weight and my BP has gone down. All that gave my doctor good enough reason to write me a note stating that she recommend i get a dog medical benefit. When i sent in the letter they came back with a 3 page packet of questions for my doctor regarding the federal disability housing act. i sent that to my doctor and they said my condition does not qualify me and they can not fill it out. Now i am worried i am going to actually have to get rid of sascha. i am tempted to find the guy with the pit bull and ask him what he had to do, i know its not necessarily my business but i am pretty much out of options. Do any of you out there know of anyways around this or if i have any ground to stand on since i already supplied them with a doctors recommendation and have evidence of the association contradicting its own rules? My girl is only 7 mos old. We all love her so much and couldnt stand the thought of not having her. I hope someone can help. Thank you.
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-15-2012, 02:33 AM
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Can you move?
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-15-2012, 02:38 AM
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I'm going to go through this sort of bottom-to-top, if you don't mind.

First - if the condo association told you that the only large dogs allowed are "service dogs for a blind person", they're breaking the law. They have to make reasonable accommodation for any legitimate Service Dog, not just those guiding the blind.

Your dog does NOT meet the requirements for a legitimate Service Dog and it's against the law to represent her as such. A legitimate Service Dog is a dog that has been trained to do specific tasks that mitigate the disability of the handler. The handler must also qualify as legally disabled - meaning their disability impacts one or more major life activities.

The Pit Bull you've seen around your complex may or may not be a legitimate Service Dog. He may also be an Emotional Support Animal. Those are not Service Dogs but dogs that are recommended by a medical professional to help a person, often/usually a person with depression. They're not Service Dogs and not allowed in public places, but there must be reasonable accommodations made for them in housing.

As far as reasonable accommodation goes - you don't just show up with a dog and say, "This is my Service Dog" or "This is my Emotional Support Dog." You have to request reasonable accommodation from the landlord PRIOR to moving in. Usually this is done in writing, with accompanying documentation that the dog is needed.

I am disappointed to hear that anyone would move into a property without first asking whether there are any rules regarding animals - regardless of whether that property is an apartment, a house rental, or there's a condo or homeowner's association. It's your job to make sure your dog is allowed before you move into a property.

They should also have given you - or your girlfriend - some kind of paperwork listing the association's rules. That's a pretty normal part of move-in procedures for any place that has an association. Did your girlfriend ever receive such a thing? I'm thinking that even if you didn't when you chose to move in, maybe she did if she has lived there for a while prior to you.

Now, the biggest question is, obviously, do you guys rent or own? If you guys are renting the condo, honestly, your best choice may be to look for a different place that will allow your dog, instead of trying to pass your dog off as a Service Dog so you can keep her after "getting caught". If you own the condo, you may be out of luck.

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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-15-2012, 03:01 AM
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I would move. If there is a lease, explain the situation and tell them that rather than fight, lie, hide the dog or cause trouble, you'll move if they'll allow you to break it without penalty.
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-15-2012, 03:06 AM
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imho...the first mistake you made was not checking more carefully into the requirements of the condo association, when you moved in with your girlfriend. you are going to have difficulties if you continue to try and find a "way around this", and in the end you will most probably not be successful. you have a choice to make.

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Last edited by katieliz; 02-15-2012 at 03:10 AM.
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-15-2012, 03:11 AM
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I would move and hope your girl friend would move in with you in a dog friendly house or apartment when she completes her lease or sells/rents out her condo (whichever applies).

GOOD LUCK!

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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-15-2012, 03:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RocketDog View Post
I would move. If there is a lease, explain the situation and tell them that rather than fight, lie, hide the dog or cause trouble, you'll move if they'll allow you to break it without penalty.
This ^

I had a **** of a time finding a place that would allow a GSD period. My friend who was moving in with me was on a year lease agreement and simply explained the situation to them, in it's entirety (friend can't afford a place that allows GSDs unless we room together, blah blah blah.) They were able to break the lease and put it back on the market. The only penalty was that she had to pay the next months rent while it was on the listing. She got her full deposit back.

Now I know that's not the exact same situation and I won't lecture you on "looking into these things first." Because well.. now you are kicking yourself enough for all of us. But I would definitely talk to them about it. Ask if you can break the lease instead of fight with them on the subject. Explain you were unaware of the policy, take full responsibility for that. If they get nasty with you, bring up some of the red flags that were mentioned in previous posts and see what they have to say.

Most of all be respectful to them (not that you haven't been). Most anyone will work with you in a situation if you are honest and respectful.

v/r,

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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-17-2012, 11:20 AM
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-17-2012, 11:35 AM
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Any updates???

v/r,

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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-17-2012, 01:41 PM
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Stuff like this makes me grateful that I have managed to live in a rental that does allow GSD's. As a matter of fact, they approved my previous girl when I moved in and after having to let her go to the Rainbow Bridge, they approved both of my current dogs.

However, I do worry about what will happen when we have to move again, which is inevitable. I might not be so lucky in the future. That said, I never accept to live anywhere that does not allow my big dogs, and I always check before I do anything.

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Zisso is my heart~Nadia is my Love~My kitties bring me everything in between~Together they bring me Joy!
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