CLEARWATER BEACH, Fla. (WFLA) — A Clearwater Beach resident is fighting to keep his emotional support squirrel that lives with him at Island Walk Condominiums.
Ryan Boylan and Brutis are inseparable.
He rescued her last year after Hurricane Matthew.
“Ever since then I mean, oh my God, I can’t imagine not being around her,” said Boylan.
But he could lose her.
Property management discovered Brutis back in April when she was chased up a tree by a dog.
According to a complaint filed by the condo association to Boylan and the condo owner, exotic animals are not allowed. He never told the board about the animal.
He was sent a notice last month to give up the squirrel or be evicted.
“I was very sad that he had to basically push every single limitation that he could to try and get me out because of Brutis,” said Boylan.
In the complaint, attorneys state Boylan never submitted paperwork that Brutis was an emotional support animal until this past summer.
Attorneys also state Boylan is residing in the unit as a tenant without having applied for and/or obtained approval from the association.
Boylan contacted the Office of Human Rights, claiming discrimination and they sent a letter to the association on his behalf, stating the Fair Housing Act, protecting emotional support animals.
News Channel 8 spoke to former board member, Sherry Arfa.
“I don’t know if he’s discriminated against. I’m sure it’s like any emotional support dog, people ask questions,” she said.
Condo officials say it’s a liability if something happens.
“It’s just like with any animal, you can have the nicest dog and they could bite somebody, it’s no guarantee,” said Arfa.
She feels the squirrel should be free.
“As I said if it was a gerbil or something that your grandkid had hiding under the bed, I’m sure that would be fine, but a squirrel is a wild animal,” she said.
A note from Boylan’s doctors states he is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after a car accident.
Boylan registered Brutis under the website RegisterMyServiceAnimal.com
His case is pending.
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