A large ‘companion’ dog in the middle of the ﬁght between a tenant and a condo board
CTV News Ottawa
06 June 2016
A man with incurable cancer is fighting to keep his dog at his Ottawa
condo. The condo board says the large dog is against the rules and
given him until the end of June to get rid of the dog or face legal
The rules of the condo prohibit a pet weighting more than 22 pounds.
Fernando de Diego argues his dog isn't a pet; it's a companion to help
him deal with his illness.
Fernando De Diego laughs as his big black dog Tadeo licks his
face. Tadeo has been part of de Diego"s life since September, a
few months after he was diagnosed with an incurable cancer.
“He’s a good companion for the moment when I am a little bit low,” says de Diego, a professor at the University of Ottawa.
“He won’t leave his side,” says de Diego’s partner Karem Langer of the
Border Collie-Labrador mix, “he always licks his hands, sits beside him
on the couch.”
About a month ago, de Diego and his partner got a letter from the condo
board of the building at 70 Landry, telling them the dog contravened
the condo rules because it weighed more than 22 pounds.
“The Board has considered your request and has reviewed the
documentation you have provided,” the letter, dated June 1, read, “The
Board is not satisfied that the situation described in your letter
requires a dog weighing more than 22 pounds to meet Mr. de Diego’s
described need for a companion dog.”
The letter went on to say that the “dog must be permanently removed
from the unit prior to June 29” or the couple would face legal action.
“If they reconsider their position,” says Langer, “they will show that
they can understand other human beings in the neighborhood.”
Dogs are allowed in the building; larger dogs were even grandfathered, providing their owners had them before November 30, 2012.
“I don't think there's a danger of the rest of the tenants allowing
this rule to be broken when there are special circumstances,” says
tenant Lyle Makosky, “but I do appreciate the pressure the board is
under to apply a standard.”
The condo corporation board says there have been a dozen complaints and the dog has to go.
“We have a rule, we enforce it with everyone,” says board chair Kathryn
Butler Malette, “we've had others ask to make an exception; we have
never done that and don't intend to do that.”
Butler Malette says she only learned of de Diego’s incurable condition
through CTV Ottawa and says it’s frustrating board members seem to be
getting only half the story from the couple.
“I would have expected if there was a medical reason for her to have
this dog; that she would have raised this at get-go, not when she gets
a letter, telling her the dog is too big and has to go.”
The board says it has already given the couple three extensions on that
deadline. They are moving in the next month or two to the U.S.
where Langer will work at a university. If they return, they will
face the same fight with the condo board since leaving Tadeo behind
isn't in the cards.
“I don’t think that’s an option for us,” says Langer with finality.
The couple points to the condo building next door that allows any size
dog; an identical building but different condo board. One of
those tenants has offered to take the dog in until the couple moves.
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