Article Courtesy of The Orlando Sentinel
By Mary Shanklin
Published March 27, 2018
An Orlando veteran fighting his condo association board to keep his dog is
now serving on that same board.
Robert Brady, 70, was elected to an uncontested seat on the voluntary
association board at the beginning of the year when five candidates were
running to fill five open positions on the Orange Tree Village Condominium
“They think he’s a vicious dog. But they don’t know Bane,” the retiree said.
“They think he’ll attack, but he’s nothing but a play thing. Right, Bane?”
The month before he joined the board, he lost an non-binding arbitration bid
to keep the dog he’s had for four years. The association limits dogs to 35
pounds and Bane weighed more than 40, although his owner said the dog has
lost weight on a strict diet during recent months.
Now Brady is pursuing a lawsuit and a fair-housing claim, both against the
condo association, and is hoping to get service-dog training in a bid to to
Peter McGrath, the attorney for the condominium association, did not respond
to requests for comment but in the past has said that the association must
enforce its rules — no matter the circumstances.
With his brown-and-white mottled pet at his side, Brady said his dispute
with the board had nothing to do with his decision to serve on the group. He
said his late wife was on the board while she was alive and he said he knows
the complex on Curry Ford Road well after living there 45 years. If the
subject of the dog comes up at board meetings, he said he’ll have to leave
When the Orlando Sentinel first reported the condo-association tiff over the
dog in December, readers and pet groups from around the country called the
newspaper with offers to give Brady places to live or dog-training
assistance. Service dogs have become an increasing point of contention as
they become more common in communities, workplaces and offices. The animals’
success in aiding veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder has
been refuted by the Veteran’s Administration in part because training the
dogs can cost more than $30,000.
A preliminary study released last month by researchers at the Purdue
University College of Veterinary Medicine showed that overall symptoms are
lower among war veterans with service dogs. The pilot study was co-funded by
the Human Animal Bond Research Institute and Bayer Animal Health.
Brady said Bane has helped him cope with difficult memories. Orlando Veteran
Administration psychologist Matthew Waesche wrote in an October 2015 letter
that Brady was under his care and that the dog appears to help keep his
owner’s mental-health issues in remission.
A dog-training group and veterans offered to take Bane on for a
service-animal program that spans seven months. Before he can be accepted,
the group has to determine if the dog has the right temperament and is
trainable, Brady said.
On the legal front, Brady’s attorney Jonathan Paul has filed a fair-housing
complaint being considered by the City of Orlando. The association failed to
consider the disabled military veteran’s protected rights or his documented
need for an emotional support animal, Paul said.
Orlando officials had no update on the complaint, saying the city takes
fair-housing cases seriously and investigates them through its Human
Resources Office. Details remain confidential until the matter is settled.
Brady’s attorney also filed a Jan. 10 complaint in Orange County Circuit
Court stating the association and property management group Arthur David
Properties Inc. discriminated against Brady by refusing to waive the weight
requirements, even though they knew of Brady’s medical conditions related to
three tours of duty with the U.S. Army in Vietnam.
“As we sit here today,” Paul said, “we are currently traveling down two
roads and hoping one comes to a resolution sooner rather than later.”