Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Reaction to Skruffy Being a Service Dog

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Some people think that dogs, all dogs, are like a Cerberus….(Kerberos in Greek)….. the mythical three headed dog from Hades.   Hmmm….wonder what Skruffy would look like with three heads…
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She doesn’t even look scary with three heads….a bit freaky, but nothing to be scared about.

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Now a Condo Association, yep, that can be scary…. especially when it is run by uneducated people.  And when I say uneducated, I mean they are not very educated in the business sense as to how to run an association, and what harm they can do with their silly rules.  On one hand, some of their rules have kept this place looking good.  It can be such a two sided sword.  For example:  Last week the Secretary of the Association came by and wanted us to sign a form seeing if we were in favor of not allowing any of the condos to be “rented out” any more once the current renters are no longer living here.  The rules already limit it to only 8 units for rentals…out of just over 80, that is only 10%.  Monday the leader of the Association came by asking us for our support…but we signed it as a no.  Marcia says, “Why would we want to limit the number of people who might be interested in buying condos?”  He says, “This will enhance a sale, not limit it.”  Hmmm…. so cutting out a number of potential buyers who might want a condo as an investment enhances the chances for a sale?  See, it does not make sense.  His reasoning is, that if the people who live here have a stake in the place, they will keep it clean and neat.  Now remember, it is a 55+ place to begin with…at least one spouse must be 55 or older, no kids under 55.  Only 10% can be rented and they want to lower that to zero because they feel the place will look better.  Can’t see the logic in this...renters have to follow the rules too.

So, what did they think about us having a Service Dog?

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(This is her Service Badge ID Photo)

Oh no, we don’t allow pets.”  This is a common comeback by these places that have a no pet policy.  But what does the Fair Housing Amendments Act (1988) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) say about this?  Simple….a Service Dog is not a Pet and does not fall under “pet rules” put in place by any entity, except for limiting their admittance into like lets say, a “surgery room” of a hospital, but NOT from a patients room at a hospital.

So, why did you not tell us this when you had your interview before you moved in?”   Well, never expected this question, but yes, it was asked.  Told them that it did not matter if we told them then (back in April of last year) or now…the law does not allow them to discriminate.  Frankly, I was offended that we had to be interviewed...Marcia has owned the condo for six years, now going on seven.

You aren’t going to allow your dog to do their business on our lawn are you?“  Yes, this was actually asked.  Again, the two above mentioned “Acts”, as passed by Congress and signed by the President of the United States say that they cannot prevent the dog from using the premises, however, the owner/caretaker must clean up after them.  I assured them that we are use to cleaning up after our dogs at RV parks and other areas…it is no big deal.  However, by the look of shock on his face, it is a big deal to him.

This is where Dave took charge....  “Look, just give me the name and number of the Associations Attorney, and our Attorney will call your Attorney and this will all get worked out...there is nothing you can do about it, it is the law”.  "Oh, we will follow the law, but I just don't see how this can be...."  Guess what, the law is what it is, and that is that.

Our letter, which was approved by our lawyer before we gave it to them on Monday, states that we want / expect approval no later than Friday.  Below is a picture our letter with names/addresses marked out.

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(Click on it if you wish to read)

So now you can see the attitude and knowledge of the folks we are dealing with.  On Monday our attorney called their attorney, did not get a call back until Wednesday morning.  Thursday Marcia is seeing her MS doctor, already a scheduled visit, and we are going to get a letter stating that she is disabled and has a need for a service dog.  At that point we will provide a copy to our attorney who will send it to their attorney, case closed…we should have Skruffy here Thursday night.

One thing to understand here…. we “could” have already moved her in.  Once notice is given, the ADA and Fair Housing Amendments Act would be totally on our side.  Second, we don’t “have” to provide a letter from a doctor…we have a ADA Placard for the car so the State of Florida already recognizes her as being Disabled.  In fact, the ADA mentions that a person who even "perceives to have a disability" can fall under the rule even without medical verification.  Now I am not sure what that perception would need to be....I do know it cannot be "..but the dog just makes me so happy...."  Third, the letter we provided stated the need for a Service Dog and what the Service Dog will be doing.  Due to her obvious condition (walks with a cane and it is obvious that she is not a strong walker), this need should not even be questioned.

However, by following the advice of the attorney, we prevent the Association from doing something stupid such as harassing us, attempting to fine us, and asking for a hearing with HUD.  Of course, we would prevail through all of those, but the tension it would cause would do much harm to Marcia…a person with MS does not need stress.  On Friday we are delivering our attorney his payment, a freshly baked "Marcia Kugel".  If you don't know... a Kugel is a traditional Ashkenazi Jewish dish often served on Shabbat and Yom Tov.  Marcia makes it with cream cheese instead of cottage cheese, uses wide noodles, and adds corn flakes to make it crispy instead of like a pudding.  My sister-in-law, who is Jewish, raves about it.  A lady from church who is a Messianic Jew, raves about it.  I can go on and on...let's just say it is very good.  Personally, I don't recall hearing about a Kugel before I married Marcia, definitely had not tried it to my knowledge.  And in the three years we have been married (yesterday was third year anniversary by the way), I have only had a few pieces because she typically makes them to give away.

So, what do the pups think of all of this?

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Come on guys, stardom is over…take off the glasses, and Skruffy, people are going to want a picture of you with your service pack on…

11 comments:

  1. LOVE the three headed dog photo - very clever!! Thanks for letting us know what's going on. As I said in my last comment, I understand Condo Associations from Hell. And I wouldn't have made a single change to your letter. It's perfect! I hope you move Skruffy in on Friday whether or not you hear from the HOA. As you've shown, you've done your due diligence and that's all you have to do. Yeaaaa for Skruffy! :)

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  2. A bit of humor to a sticky situation never hurts! Boy, you should have seen what Marcia said when she first saw it..."WHAT DID YOU DO TO MY LITTLE GIRL!" Thanks again for you support Barbara...after all, us "Sacramento Area Folk" need to stick together. :)

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  3. I think I might consider selling a condo that had such ridiculous rules. There must be more pet friendly places that are still "nice and tidy". My father's area had rules too but they an area for people with pets. You could not have a pet unless you bought a home on those blocks/streets. Everyone was happy. It's Yea for Skruffy but unfair to Bubba who might get mighty lonesome alone. Are you sure you don't need a guide dog too Dave after all, this stress could tend to give a man a heart condition.

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    1. Sherry, we are upside down on the condo right now, so it is best to hold onto it. As for Bubba, Uncle Mike has two other dogs, two cats, and two grandchildren living there....I am sure he misses us, but he is such an easy going dog that loves to "hang around" but my oh my, don't try and get him into your lap because he is not a lap dog. For the few months that we are here in the condo, I think Bubba will do just fine.

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  4. Love your opening! Great photo shop. Sorry you are having to jump through hoops. Sounds like time to sell and move to a more friendly place.

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    1. Its more like "time to get in the motorhome and hit the road!" But with Marcia's MS, we need to have a base camp/house, and this is as good as any, especially now that Skruffy will be living with us as of later today.

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  5. Marcia asked if we can change Skruffy's name to Skrufferos, since the Greek three headed dog is called Kerberos. Funny lady....

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  6. Awesome Dave! So glad Scruffy will be with you.....

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    1. Yes, she is here...it is nice to have her get out of the car without having to "hide" her under blankets and such. We decided on Monday morning to let her stay away at "Uncle Mikes" until we got this settled, and it was good we did. Now it is over, she is our little Service Dog from here on out....currently a very tired service dog, don't think she gets much sleep when she is away.

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  7. Dave and Marcia, I truly feel badly about what is happening. Stress does not help anyone with any type of autoimmune disease, whether MS or otherwise. Please know I prayed and will continue to pray. May God bless you with a positive response.

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  8. Great post! I can just see the association getting into a tizzy and holding a special meeting on how they are going to handle your vicious three headed monster! Keep us posted.

    Jim

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