Owners Deny Resident Use of Service Animal
HUD is charging two apartment building owners in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., with discriminating against a Vietnam-era veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder by denying his request to have a therapeutic service dog in his unit. HUD also contends that the owners retaliated against the resident by threatening to evict him because he filed a housing discrimination complaint.
In his complaint, the resident claimed that the owners denied his request for a reasonable accommodation when they denied his use of a service animal, which doctors had prescribed to reduce his post-traumatic stress and seizures. Although one of the owners admitted he had heard of dogs being used to treat these disorders, the owners denied the resident's requests for the dog because the building had a “no-pets” policy.
The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to deny persons with disabilities reasonable accommodations, and prohibits coercing, intimidating, or threatening a person for having exercised his fair housing rights. If found guilty, the owners may have to pay the resident damages, as well as civil penalties, punitive damages, and attorney's fees.