Pet News

Mar 22, 2011 6:09 PM by Andy Koen

Couple fights eviction over service cat

Michelle McCabe is a stroke survivor and traumatic brain injury patient. Her service dog Keva helps her physically to get around and her cat Mossimo helps her emotionally as a companion animal.

"I'm not one who likes to take pills everyday for depression and stuff and he keeps me away from having to take pills."

But it seems Mossimo may cause her to lose her apartment. Last week, Michelle and her husband received an eviction notice claiming that the cat and the cleanliness of their home constituted a breach of contract.

"She saw that I had a couple of like two pieces of paper on the floor and that I still had my cat and she went over there, I guess she told (the apartment manager) and I got that notice that day."

Brad Coldiron, attorney for the Westmeadow Peaks Apartments said the McCabe's very clearly violated their lease.

"They have unauthorized pet," Coldiron said. "Additionally, they are providing a condition that is materially dangerous and hazardous to the tenant's life, health and safety, both for the McCabe's as well as the other residents of the community."

As for the cleanliness, Michelle admits that the apartment is "a little cluttered and I may need to shampoo the carpets." But she says she has no feeling in her left arm and struggles to keep her home clean in her condition.

A marketing brochure for the Westmeadow Peaks states that pet owners are charged a $300 dollar fee plus an extra $20 per month per animal. Michelle says they didn't tell the managers about Mossimo when they signed their lease.

"I kind of hid him for a while, but there are other people here that do the same thing."

Still, she argues they should be exempt from those rules because Mossimo is a companion animal. They say they faxed a doctor's note to the apartment manager verifying his status, but Coldiron says the apartment manager never received the note.

"The McCabe's failed to provide that information, leaving my client with no other option than to pursue their breach of the conditions and the terms of the lease."

Coldiron says the apartment company plans to pursue the eviction in court. The McCabe's say they plan to sue for emotional distress.

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