Man who fought to keep emotional support dog kills himself
Story by Chuck Weber
BOCA RATON (CBS12) - A man's battle to keep his emotional support dog
ended in tragedy on Thursday. Tired of fighting, his family said,
the man took his own life, hours before he was supposed to be in court.
Sergey Peklun had a hearing at the South County Courthouse in Delray
Beach. The judge ended up granting a delay in the proceedings,
upon hearing of Peklun's death.
"Rather than be here again today, to be put under further questioning,
he committed suicide this morning," Peklun's attorney Peter Wallis
explained following the hearing.
"Where's the justice?" asked Peklun's son, Alex, as he battled tears.
The case revolves around Peklun's dog Julia. Peklun lived with
his wife Viktoria at Tierra del Mar in Boca Raton, a no pets condo.
But Peklun had a host of medical conditions, his family believes, due
to his response to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, back in Peklun's
Attorney Wallis said at one point, the condo board approved the
emotional support dog. But a later board required reapplication
for the dog, and in the meantime, another condo owner, Frank Speciale,
sued, maintaining the dog was not properly approved.
County Court Judge Edward Garrison agreed nearly a year ago, granting a
temporary injunction requiring the dog's removal from the condo.
However, when Peklun got sick this past fall, he brought Julia back to
his home, prompting the most recent round of litigation and hearings.
Speciale and his attorneys declined comment after Thursday's hearing,
as did a former condo board member and her lawyer.
"He was the best," said Peklun's wife Viktoria, sobbing. The
couple had been married 37 years.
Mrs. Peklun said she has no money to bury her husband.
"He was the most kind and fair," said Peklun's daughter Lena, also
through tears. "And they drove him to this point."
person lost his life he couldn't handle the discrimination and
harassment no more
(The CBS TV video)
Published on 13 Feb 2015
My late father Sergey Peklun immigrated from the Ukraine to America in
1996 to provide my family and I a better life, in a country that stands
for liberty and justice for all.
At the age of 30, Sergei was dispatched to helped clean up the
Chernobyl disaster that was a catastrophic nuclear accident in the
Ukraine. Having been exposed to high levels of radiation it was
detrimental to his health. Being in and out of the hospital was a
constant thing for Sergei. That never stopped him as he was a hard
working family man.
After working for over 16 years as a security guard he had a near life
and death experience rushing him to a hospital for intensive care.
Quitting or retiring work was not an option for him as he needed to
help support his family, but his health got in the way putting him on
disability in 2011.
He had multiple health condition's that limited his ability to have a
normal life. He was on over 16 multiple mediations that helped his
heart, kidney's, blood pressure, had an on going battle with sleep
apnea, among other serious conditions. With my dear mother Victoria and
I working at the Festival Flea market in Delray Beach, Florida, selling
watches and changing watch batteries to help support the family, Sergei
was getting depressed being alone in the house without the ability to
There were good days and there were bad days. Being bed ridden most of
the time and his health declining, he was suggested by a doctor to have
an emotional support animal to help with depression, anxiety disorders,
and post-traumatic stress disorder, and that's when he met Julia the 9
pound hypoallergenic Morkie (Maltese and half Yorkshire terrier) in
2011. Ever since they were inseparable.
He would take that dog everywhere with him. Living in a no-pet policy
condominium he was originally granted board approval with his ESA dog,
but after 16 months the new board president filed a lawsuit, stating
that the dog was never approved, so he had filed HUD, a housing
discrimination complaint and he had won.
But a later board required reapplication for the dog year after year
making it difficult, and in the meantime, another condo owner, Frank
Speciale, sued, maintaining the dog was not properly approved. With
four former board members affidavits saying that it was approved.
Having to go thru this was tough on him physically and emotionally. He
was constantly belittled and harassed by the neighbor when walking to
get his mail or even from coming back into the building from a walk
with his dog.
May we remember what Sergei Peklun stood for and the love he had for
Julia his emotional support dog.
top contents chapter previous next