Co-op dogged by charges it won’t allow service pets

January 23, 2014
The federal government is suing a housing co-op on the Lower East Side on behalf of three residents who are not allowed to keep their emotional support dogs.
     The original lawsuit, which was filed against East River Housing Corp., in December 2013, claimed the housing cooperative, located at 573 Grand St., violated the Fair Housing Act, and discriminated against a tenant, Stephanie Aaron, by refusing to accommodate her psychiatric disability.
     Aaron has chronic depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, and found that the stray dog she took in helped to alleviate her mental health symptoms, the suit states.
     Under the Fair Housing Act, which is enforced by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, housing providers cannot discriminate against a person based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status or disability.
     The co-op has a no-pet clause, and prohibits animals without prior written consent.