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Condo Can't Restrict Guide Dog Walking, Says HR Commission

by Dave Reynolds (subscribe)

Dec. 9 update -- After meeting with the county Human Rights Commissioner, the Northgate Commons board has agreed to let Edith Kling walk her guide dog without restriction. Commissioner S. Ram Nagubandi told the board that their restriction violated disability laws. More from the Journal News.


CONGERS, NY--A blind woman has filed a complaint with the Rockland County Human Rights Commission claiming her condominium association is discriminating against her and her guide dog.

Edith Kling, 76, who has lived in her Northgate Commons condominium for the last 20 years, said she did not had any problems until a new neighbor moved in recently. That new neighbor complained to the condo board that Kling has not been properly cleaning up after Frances, her 4-year-old yellow Labrador retriever.

The board then set aside a parking spot near her home for Frances, and told Kling she could only walk the dog in that space.

Kling, however, said that the restriction violates her rights under the 1990 Americans with Disabilities and the Fair Housing Act.

The commission could fine the condominium for $10,000 or more it is found they have violated the law, the North Country Times reported.

At Thursday night's hearing, "Punches were thrown, insults were traded and police were called in," reported the Dec. 2 Westchester, NY Journal News.

Pandemonium ensued after Myra Leibster, a resident, presented the board with 15 signatures that voiced support for Kling. A couple of residents opposed to Kling's demands then engaged in a verbal spat with Leibster, and a melee erupted.

Frightened women, some of them crying, rushed out of the meeting hall as a handful of men tussled inside, fully visible through the tall glass windows of the well-lighted building.

Phillip Schwartz, who said he had been punched, filed an assault complaint against another resident who is a friend of Leibster. Police wouldn't comment, saying the matter was under investigation.

"Blind Woman, Guide Dog Take On Condo Board" (North Country Gazette)

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