Leverage acted for a person whose dog was rejected by the strata committee. But the puppy is still there. Our client lived in a no dog building. The by-laws made a ruling that no dogs were permitted. NCAT ordered the dog to go.
Well, the dog was nothing special! I thought he was cute, but in real terms, he was just a dog and the strata committee hated him. But, this dog came with a purpose.
Leverage’s client was a single parent. The circumstances that surrounded the separation of the parents had affected the child greatly. In fact, it has put the kid into counselling. The counsellor suggested that a pet may operate to save the kid’s emotions.
This was put to the strata committee. They had some sympathy but they still didn’t like the dog. It was just a pug! A nice little dog that never barked, but acted as a comfort blanket for the nine-year-old girl.
Never fear, there is always a way around such a problem. In the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, a strata committee cannot outlaw a companion dog, like a guide dog. The Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 states that a strata scheme cannot outlaw a companion animal.
The solution was easy: we got the dog trained as a companion animal and had it registered with the local council. The strata scheme was not happy, but their powers to evict the dog were now excluded.
We kept the dog and protected the child’s mental health. As a side point, a compassionate strata committee would have found a way to resolve this issue. The psychological condition was real, there was no evidence that the dog affected anyone on common property and there was a real need for the animal. Surely, sensible people could have found a solution without Leverage needing to create one.