Condo residents find way around pet-free buildings

Posted at 7:44 AM, Apr 23, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-23 04:03:53-04

MIAMI (AP) — A dogfight is developing in some South Florida condominium complexes with pet-free clauses.

The reason? A loop-hole that allows pets if residents can get them classified as "emotional support animals."

The Miami Herald reports it's as easy as getting a physician, psychiatrist, social worker or mental health professional to sign a letter saying the resident gets emotional support from the pet.

That's what Marcela Alvarez did to get around the rules and Bay Garden Manor in Miami Beach. She'd lived there 14 years with her husband before they divorced. Her chiropractor suggested she get a pet. Alvarez talked to a endocrinologist, who agreed to sign the letter.

Attorney Paul J. Milberg recently held a seminar to teach property managers to deal with requests for emotional support animals.