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Government To Probe Whether Florida Condo Association Can Force Vet To Give Up Support Dog
The federal government will look into whether an Orlando condominium association can force a longtime resident to surrender his emotional support dog, which exceeds the community’s weight limit.
Retired veteran Robert Brady filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development after a judicial arbitrator recently determined he had to surrender the dog by Jan. 11.
HUD will consider whether the case violates fair-housing laws by forcing the widower to surrender the animal despite a psychologist’s recommendation he keep the dog. Weight limits at the Conway-area condominium are 35 pounds; Bane weighs about 41 pounds and might be a banned breed.
"The real crux of our concerns are the HUD fair-housing issues and we’re hopeful it takes its course the way we want it to,” said Orlando attorney Jonathan Paul, who represents Brady. They also are likely to pursue the case in Orange County courts and Paul said he is working with a Gainesville law firm specializing in animal-access cases. Brady could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Peter McGrath, attorney for the Orange Tree Village condominium association, said his office has also gotten calls sympathetic to Brady keeping his dog but the community must enforce rules that were established to keep residents safe.
“If it’s not enforced and something happens, it’s a guarantee that the association will be named as a co-defendant in a case and have to contact the insurance company,” said the attorney, who specializes in association law. “They really don't have a choice.”
McGrath said Brady had a year to complain to HUD and should have pursued legal channels long before now.
Efforts by Brady, 70, to keep the canine drew national attention after the Orlando Sentinel published a story Dec. 23. Dozens of readers from around the country called and emailed the newspaper. Many offered legal aid, alternative housing for Brady and training for the dog. Several groups specializing in training veterans’ dogs to become service dogs also offered assistance. Bane’s breeding hasn’t been documented and he could be a pit-bull mix.
“It’s so sad that just because the dog is a little bit overweight that they’re making it an issue,” said Lauren Driscoll, a Palm Coast program director for the nonprofit Paws of War, which trains dogs for vets. “I don’t know if they’re looking at it because it’s a bully breed. This is the only thing this man has left in the world and it’s not hurting anyone.”
Her nonprofit was among groups offering about a year of free training to Bane. Training is required to certify service dogs so they can respond if, for instance, their master showed signs of emotional distress common among veterans suffering post-traumatic stress disorder.
Bart Sherwood, founder of Texas-based nonprofit Train a Dog, Save a Warrior, also offered free training to Bane via trainer affiliates in the Daytona Beach area. The dogs can be a necessary part of treatment for veterans.
“We’re trying to show the [Veterans Administration] where these dogs cut costs, help bring vets to a balanced state rather than the vet taking drugs,” he said.
New York resident Karen Caito, who said she was a relative of Brady’s, said the situation is particularly unfortunate because Brady lost his wife to a long bout with cancer several years ago.
“I think she would be very upset by this,” she said.
©2018 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
GENEVA/DUBAI (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said he was prepared to take military action to stop Tehran from getting a nuclear bomb but left open whether he would back the use of force to protect Gulf oil supplies that Washington fears may be under threat by Iran.
Worries about a confrontation between Iran and the United States have mounted since attacks last week on two oil tankers near the strategic Strait of Hormuz shipping lane at the entrance to the Gulf. Washington blamed long-time foe Iran for the incidents.
Tehran denies responsibility but the attacks, and similar ones in May, have further soured relations that have plummeted since Trump pulled the United States out of a landmark international nuclear deal with Iran in May 2018.
Trump has restored and extended U.S. economic sanctions on Iran. That has forced countries around the world to boycott Iranian oil or face sanctions of their own.
But in an interview with Time magazine, Trump, striking a different tone from some Republican lawmakers who have urged a military approach to Iran, said last week's tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman had only a "very minor" impact so far.
Asked if he would consider military action to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons or to ensure the free flow of oil through the Gulf, Trump said: "I would certainly go over nuclear weapons and I would keep the other a question mark."
Minnesota Democratic Party staffer under fire for calling USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul a 'murder boat'
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said Tuesday he is appalled by a state DFL Party staff member's tweet referring to the recently-launched USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul as a "murder boat."
"Certainly, the disrespect shown is beyond the pale," said Walz, who served in the Army National Guard.
William Davis, who has been the DFL Party's research director and deputy communications director, made the controversial comment in response to a tweet about the launch of a new Navy combat ship in Wisconsin: "But actually, I think it's gross they're using the name of our fine cities for a murder boat," Davis wrote on Twitter over the weekend.
'We are there to deter aggression' — Pompeo addressed CENTCOM on Iran mere moments before Shanahan announced his departure
TAMPA — Minutes before the Acting Secretary of Defense withdrew Tuesday from his confirmation process, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke at MacDill Air Force Base about the need to coordinate "diplomatic and defense efforts'' to address rising tensions with Iran.
Pompeo, who arrived in Tampa on Monday, met with Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr. and Army Gen. Richard Clarke, commanders of U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command respectively, to align the Government's efforts in the Middle East, according to Central Command.
NAVAL BASE SAN DIEGO — The trial of Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher officially kicked off on Tuesday with the completion of jury selection, opening statements, and witness testimony indicating that drinking alcohol on the front lines of Mosul, Iraq in 2017 seemed to be a common occurrence for members of SEAL Team 7 Alpha Platoon.
Government prosecutors characterized Gallagher as a knife-wielding murderer who not only killed a wounded ISIS fighter but shot indiscriminately at innocent civilians, while the defense argued that those allegations were falsehoods spread by Gallagher's angry subordinates, with attorney Tim Parlatore telling the jury that "this trial is not about murder. It's about mutiny."
President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday that Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan will "not to go forward with his confirmation process."
Trump said that Army Secretary Mark Esper will now serve as acting defense secretary.