The Real Deal New York

Another co-op sued for barring “working” dogs

January 21, 2014 01:00PM

A second lawsuit has been filed against a co-op for barring tenants from keeping emotional support dogs in their apartments.

Three tenants of East River Housing Corporation at 475 Fdr Drive claim that banning their emotional support dogs from the apartment building was a violation of the Fair Housing Act and a form of disability discrimination, according to a suit recently filed in federal court.

Despite appealing to the board armed with letters from their doctors attesting to their need for an emotional support dog, East River would not make an exception for the tenants, the New York Observer reported. According to the the Fair Housing Act, the pets must be “working dogs,” or have a function directly related to the owner’s disability, in order to stay.

A decision in favor of the tenants could force landlords and housing boards to rewrite their rules concerning which pets are allowed in buildings.

The condo board for low-rise Cove Club in Battery City Park was also hit with a lawsuit this month for barring a hearing-assistance assistance dog from the apartment of a deaf 76-year-old. Some buildings in New York City have adopted a “dog-friendly” label to appeal to pooch lovers. [NYO]Angela Hunt