Bea Garza is 88 years old. She suffers from dementia and depression and lives with her husband Ron and cat, Mitzy. According to her doctor, Mitzy helps Bea to cope with her depression. Pet therapy is just one of the many ways that depression patients can learn to manage their symptoms while under a physician’s or psychologist’s care.
Pet Therapy is even recognized and covered by the Fair Housing Act. Animals such as Mitzy are considered emotional support animals. Note the word “animal” rather than “pet” and therefore not covered under a “no pet” policy.
The Garza’s live in the Vista Pines and the Vista Pines condo association disagrees with this and have taken the Garza’s to court. For over a year, the condo association has tried to evict Mitzy. Not only do they want to evict Mitzy, they also want the Garza’s to pay $7400 in court costs.
This story makes you question the commonsense (or lack of) of what Vista Pines Association is doing. I’m sure that the association can find better use of their time and resources.
What are your thoughts? Should Mitzy stay or should Mitzy go?
Ron and Bea Garza faced a judge on Wednesday, January 5th as they were held in contempt of court for not getting rid of their cat by December 10th.
The Garzas lawyer, Richard Brown of Vero Beach, was directed to file the claim that Mitzy was an “emotional support animal” with the Fair Housing Agency. He failed to by the deadline, and the arbitrator sided with Vista Pines, court records show and required that the cat be removed by December 10th. But the Garzas maintain that their lawyer, who volunteered to handle the case for free, never informed them of the deadline.
They will now have to pay $12,000 to cover Vista Pines’ attorney’s fees and costs, according to a final judgment approved by Circuit Court Judge Sherwood Bauer who also acknowledged the ridiculousness of this situation. Bauer stated “I feel bad entering a judgment for $12,000 because a cat wasn’t removed.” “You may very well have a legal action against your attorney,” the judge told the Garzas.