Building owners place special restrictions on the family of a boy with Asperger’s Syndrome, who relies on a service dog to relieve anxiety.

By Kate Hogan
December 01, 2008 09:24 PM

A Manhattan family is suing the owners of their Upper East Side apartment building after restrictions were placed upon them when they asked that their son’s service dog accompany the family to their new co-op in the no-dog building. The child, 11-year-old Aaron Schein, has Asperger’s syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism, and relies on the dog to ease anxiety and help him cope with his disorder.

But building owners unleashed strict rules on the family before they moved in, saying they couldn’t leave the dog alone for more than two hours, would have to take him in and out of the building on a service elevator and would need to monitor any dog walkers who came by to care for the dog. Although a company-hired doctor reportedly agreed the dog was medically necessary, building owners still demanded $1 million in liability insurance for any injury or property damage caused by the pup.

The lawsuit says building owners violated the Fair Housing Act by imposing unreasonable demands on the Scheins, and discriminated against Aaron under the Americans With Disabilities Act. The case has yet to be settled.

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