An Opinion By Jan Bergemann 
President, Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Published July 8, 2014


I always have to wonder why certain government employees think that they are above the laws – and can make their own rules – because they obviously just feel like it.


That recently happened again when Pamela Guerrier, Director of the Palm Beach County Office of Equal Opportunity, filed a NOTICE OF DETERMINATION OF REASONABLE GROUNDS in the case of Peklun v. Tierra Del Mar Condominium Association.


In reality this is a very simple case of an owner bringing a dog into a no-pet community. The owner didn't file an official application or supplied any kind of certification regarding the dog, but was obviously under the impression that he was entitled to keep the dog.


The dog is clearly an EMOTIONAL SUPPORT ANIMAL with no special training or qualifications. This dog clearly isn't a service animal, even if at a later point the owner provided letters from doctors making the dog look like a trained service dog.


The background of the whole issue can be best explained by the AFFIDAVIT OF MARIA VERDUCE, the president of the board of the Tierra Del Mar Condominium Association, Inc. in Boca Raton.


Whatever you do in a Florida condominium, there are certain rules you have to obey by. And in a condominium with a no-pet rule an owner, who wants to keep an emotional support animal in his home, should have the courtesy to file an official application to keep the “pet” in his home.


Bringing a dog into a NO-PET community is official business – and has to be treated as such. The application has to be accompanied by the necessary documents to show the necessity of an emotional support animal. The board has the obligation to deal with this application in the proper manner, meaning checking the “credential and then bringing the application to a vote of the full board in an officially noticed board meeting where a quorum is present with minutes of this board meeting available for all other members.


Ignoring rules is creating problems – in this case a full-fledged lawsuit with no end in sight.


But it gets even worse when incompetent government employees – in this case Pamela Guerrier, Director of the Palm Beach County Office of Equal Opportunity -- get involved and make DETERMINATIONS that totally ignore existing rules and laws.


How can a simple government worker ignore the fact that there was never an official vote of the Board of directors in regards to the accommodation of this pet – because no matter what has been said, the dog is nothing else than a “FEEL-GOOD” animal, even if a Dr. Paul Murry stated: "There is the danger of respiratory arrest and respiratory failure compounding his [Peklun] other medical conditions" and "for this reason he requires 24 hour monitoring. His pet dog has been trained to detect respiratory arrest in him and to stimulate arousal to present dangerous consequences. His pet is identified as a certified service animal."


I really have to wonder how the doctor got this “knowledge” of the qualifications of the dog, a dog neighbors described as a permanently barking nuisance.


Make no mistake: If the dog really has all the qualifications as described in Dr. Murry’s statement, there would be written certifications, describing the special training of the dog.


I would be really curious if this “doctor” would be willing to repeat these statements under oath on a witness stand in a court room.


But obviously Pamela Guerrier takes all these statements for granted and determined that even the fact that there was no official board meeting – with minutes – in regards to the accommodations of the dog -- some talk among certain board members behind closed doors was sufficient to grant the dog owner permission to bring his dog into the NO-PET community.


I doubt Guerrier ever read FS 718, because otherwise she would have thought twice about writing such a nonsense.


In a LETTER DATED JUNE 30, 2014 I did ask the Office of Equal Opportunity for a comment on their findings and their – in my opinion – pretty weird interpretation of rules and statutes.


But, as expected, I never heard back from them. This office, like many other government entities, feels that it shouldn’t be held liable for their actions and that they can ignore rules and laws because they are part of the government.


Do we really need government employees who feel that they are above the law?