Legal Aid represents disabled woman barred from apartment for wrong breed of service dog

Metropolitan Maryland office staff attorney Sara Wilkinson

Hazel Sanders, an elderly, disabled Howard Co. woman, can’t move into a subsidized apartment because the management of the complex says her service dog–a Rottweiler–is “inherently dangerous” and it won’t allow a service-animal exception to its no-pets policy.

Anne Benaroya, an expert on animal law quoted in today’s front-page Baltimore Sun article, said the policy shows the potentially far-reaching consequences of a recent Court of Appeals ruling on pit bulls that quoted a 2000 study by the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. The study concluded that Rottweilers and pit bulls made up more than half of human deaths from dog bites.

Legal Aid staff attorney Sara C. Wilkinson, who represents Sanders, said the argument doesn’t hold up, arguing there’s no Maryland law on Rottweilers, her client’s dog has no history of aggressive behavior, and that  “most importantly, federal anti-discrimination law protecting the disabled should trump a brief mention of a 12-year-old veterinary article in a case regarding pit bulls.”

To read the article, click here.

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