Brooklyn Co-op Accused of Denying Disabled Residents Emotional Support Animals
The Justice Department recently filed a fair housing complaint against a 1,144-unit cooperative apartment complex in Brooklyn, N.Y., for allegedly refusing to allow residents with disabilities to keep emotional support animals.
According to the government’s complaint, the defendants refused to allow four residents of the cooperative to live with emotional support dogs and commenced eviction proceedings against three of them when they refused to give up their animals. The complaint alleged that the defendants took some of these actions even after agreeing to a HUD settlement to allow individuals with disabilities to live with emotional support animals.
“The law is clear that reasonable accommodations must be granted to individuals with disabilities when those accommodations are necessary to afford them the equal opportunity to use and enjoy their homes. This includes the right to live with an emotional support animal. Those responsible for refusing to grant such accommodations or retaliating against individuals with disabilities who try to enforce their rights under the Fair Housing Act will be held accountable,” Robert L. Capers, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said in a statement.
“Emotional support animals provide critical care and therapeutic aid for people with disabilities,” added Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division. “The department will continue to enforce fair housing laws to ensure that housing providers make reasonable accommodations for individuals who rely on assistance animals in their homes.”