HRC settled a lawsuit on behalf of a family forced to remove their medically prescribed companion dog from their home or face eviction.
The family reported that shortly after they filed a complaint with the housing department regarding substandard housing conditions, which included lack of hot water and gas, the property owner’s agent served them with a notice to remove their dog or quit the premises.
The dog had resided with the family for over two years and helped the family’s 12 year old son cope with the effects of his mental disability. The family removed their son’s companion dog out of fear of being evicted, but reported that their son exhibited signs of distress, including refusing to eat. The family contacted HRC for assistance due to their son’s worsening health.
The family provided HRC with a letter from their son’s doctor verifying the dog served as a medically prescribed companion animal to help ameliorate the effects of his disability. HRC sent a reasonable accommodation request letter to the property owner, management company and on-site manager. Specifically, HRC requested that the property owner allow the family to keep their disabled son’s companion dog in their home without threat of eviction. Neither the property owner nor his agents responded to HRC’s accommodation request letter.
HRC filed a lawsuit in federal court against the landlord for failing to grant the family’s disability related accommodation. The property owner did not respond to the lawsuit and HRC filed a preliminary injunction to prevent the landlord from evicting the family. Shortly thereafter, HRC obtained a default judgment from court, thereby allowing the family to remain at the property and keep their son’s companion dog.
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