Housing Complex Fined for Barring Emotional Support Dogs

May 17, 2012 Updated: May 17, 2012

NEW YORK—The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) fined a Bronx housing complex $85,000 this month for not allowing its residents to keep “emotional support animals.”

The complex, The RiverBay Corp, is located in Co-op City. There is a strict no-dog policy in Co-op City, where residents sign a no-pets agreement prior to moving in.

RiverBay states there was no evidence to show the clinically depressed require a support animal. The complex attempted to evict the tenants last year for keeping pets.

But HUD calls emotional support pets a “reasonable accommodation request for the disabled.”

Under the Fair Housing Act, it is illegal to refuse reasonable accommodations for disabled residents.

According to doctors’ notes, two clinically depressed residents were advised to get emotional support dogs.

It was ruled that RiverBay violated the Fair Housing Act when it refused to make an exception to its no-pets policy for clinically depressed residents.

RiverBay’s unwillingness to cooperate with the tenants pet requests was “intrusive,” said Joann Frey, HUD Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity director, according to NY Daily News. Frey says emotional support pets serve the same function as service dogs for the blind.

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