Florida Real Estate News –
A Clearwater Beach condo owner found Brutis after Hurricane Irma, secured a service-animal-confirmation doctor’s note and registered the squirrel online.
A Florida man who rescued a squirrel during Hurricane Matthew is now weathering a different storm altogether — fighting his condo association for the right to keep the rodent as an emotional support animal.
Ryan Boylan, of Clearwater Beach, rescued Brutis after the storm rocked Florida in October 2016. Boylan, who has been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after a car accident, said he quickly became attached to the animal.
“Ever since then I mean, oh my God, I can’t imagine not being around her,” Boylan told WFLA.
Managers at Island Walk Condominiums found out about the unregistered rodent in April when the animal was chased up a tree by a dog. Boylan said he received a notice last month to either get rid of Brutis — an exotic animal that’s not allowed, according to the condo association — or face eviction.
“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,” Boylan told the station.
But Boylan never notified property managers in writing that Brutis was an emotional support animal until last summer, according to a complaint filed by the condo association and the owner of the unit. Boylan’s doctor, meanwhile, wrote him a prescription for an emotional support animal in July after a car crash left him with several herniated disks in his lower back and PTSD.
“Due to this emotional disability, Ryan Boylan has certain limitations coping with what would otherwise be considered normal, but significant day to day situations,” according to the letter obtained by the station. “To help alleviate these challenges and to enhance his day to day functionality, I have prescribed Ryan to obtain emotional support animal(s). The presence of the animal(s) is necessary for the emotional/mental health of Ryan Boylan because its presence will mitigate the symptoms he is currently experiencing.”
Boylan has since contacted the Pinellas County Office of Human Rights, claiming he’s being discriminated against under the Fair Housing Act, which protects emotional support animals, WFLA reports.
Condo officials said the squirrel is a liability if something happens involving the animal. The matter is now pending, WFLA reports.
A former condo board member, meanwhile, told the station she wasn’t sure if Boylan was being unfairly targeted.
“I’m sure it’s like any emotional support dog, people ask questions,” Sherry Arfa told the station. “It’s just like with any animal, you can have the nicest dog and they could bite somebody. It’s no guarantee.”