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Parents Sue Building For Keeping Son And His Dog Apart

Posted by Chrissie Cole
Tuesday, November 18, 2008 12:15 AM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: Protecting Your Family, Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, Service Dogs, Discrimination, Children's Health


IMAGE SOURCE: © iStockPhoto / puppies / author: LivingImages

The owners of a posh Upper East Side building are accused of discriminating against an 11-year old boy, Aaron Schein, by preventing him from having a dog, reports The New York Daily News.

Aaron has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a high-functioning autism spectrum disorder. His doctors deem a service dog medically necessary and believe it will help to relieve his anxiety associated with his disorder.

Asperger’s disorder varies from Autism disorder in the severity of symptoms and the absence of language delays. Children with Asperger’s disorder may be only mildly affected and frequently they have good cognitive and language skills.

To the untrained observer, a child with Asperger’s may seem like a normal child, behaving differently.

A lawsuit alleges the building owners are in violation of the Fair Housing Act by imposing unreasonable demands before allowing Aaron’s parents to finally get a dog for their son.

“It is not legal, nor is it right for landlords to dictate such unreasonable terms and conditions by which persons with disabilities should live their lives,” said Kim Kendrick, an assistant secretary for the federal Housing and Urban Development Department.

When the parent’s sought allowance from the co-op board to allow the dog, despite the building’s strict no-pets rule, rigid conditions were placed upon the family.

The imposed restrictions include:

-- The dog could weigh no more than ten pounds

-- The dog could not be alone longer than two hours

-- The dog would need to be brought in and out of the building by use of the service elevator inside a carrying case. If the animal became too loud or “yappy” they would need to put a muzzle on the dog.

-- The family would also need to take out $1 million in liability insurance to cover any property damage or bodily injury the dog might cause

The parents seek permission to take home the dog, along with monetary damages because they say their son was discriminated against under the Americans with Disabilities Act. #

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