Landlord of veteran with service dog defends no-dog policy
K.J. Gandhi defends his policy, saying it draws people to move into apartment building
The Nova Scotia landlord who gave an eviction notice to a military veteran, who has acquired a service dog to help deal with his post-traumatic stress disorder, is speaking out in defence of his building's no-dog policy.
David Peavey was medically released from the military nine years ago after being diagnosed with PTSD. He served for 18 years, spending time in Somalia, among other places.
His service dog Norm, which he just got this week, helps him to complete daily tasks and live a more normal life.
K.J. Gandhi, Peavey's landlord, recently gave the veteran a 15-day eviction notice — but that's been put on hold while the province's Human Rights Commission looks into the case.
Gandhi said two-thirds of residents in the Riviera apartment building in Dartmouth told him they didn't want the dog in the building. He said the no-dog policy is one of the attractions of the building and it wouldn't matter even if Norm was a seeing eye dog.
“A person who has an allergy to a dog, he does not differentiate between a see [seeing eye] dog or a dog,” said Ghandi.
In a letter to Peavey, the landlord stated he is granting temporary accommodations for Norm, but only if Peavey follows strict rules that include Norm not being allowed in common areas, hallways, outdoor premises, or in the elevator in the presence of other tenants. The dog is also restricted from defecating on the premises.
The letter states that failure to comply with the rules may result in termination of the lease.
“Those are high demand restrictions on the dog. Is that demand so high that it is not accommodating and allowing him to live there in a reasonable fashion?” said Wayne MacKay, a human rights expert.
Mackay said the law protects Peavey from discrimination based on his disability.
“Simply, a majority not liking it is not a good answer,” he said.
“I agree that we should help people, but on the other hand, if you moved into the building, you knew that you couldn't have a dog in the building from the onset,” said Margaret Gray, a resident.
Meanwhile, Peavey allows Norm to loiter in the parking lot.
“I believe I need to stand my ground,” he said. “People are afraid of getting a service dog because of this.”
On Friday, Norm graduated to earn a veteran assist service dog badge.