Blind Woman Victorious In Condo Dog Walking Challenge
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
December 9, 2005
CONGERS, NEW YORK--Edith Kling claimed victory Friday, after her condominium board voted to allow her to walk her guide dog, Frances, within the complex grounds.
The five-member board also agreed to issue Kling a written apology for the trouble it caused her when it restricted the 4-year-old yellow Labrador retriever to a parking spot near Kling's condo.
Kling, 76, has lived in her Northgate Commons condominium for 20 years. She said she had no problems until a new neighbor complained that she didn't clean up properly after Frances because she is blind.
Kling filed a complaint last month with the Rockland County Human Rights Commission, claiming that the restriction violated her rights under the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Housing Act.
Rockland County Human Rights Commissioner S. Ram Nagubandi then informed the board that, as a blind person, Kling's right to walk her dog is protected under the law and that the condo is required to make reasonable accommodations.
"We have an agreement that is acceptable to both sides," Nagubandi told the Journal News after the meeting.
Under the agreement, if Kling fails to clean some of Frances' feces, a board member can ask her husband to clean it up. The board can also hose down the area once a week.
The board decision also came a week after a meeting regarding Kling's dog turned into brawl. One resident had shown up with a list of 15 residents supporting Kling. Fists flew when two residents confronted them. At least one later filed an assault charge against another.
"We have prevailed," Kling said of the agreement. "I'm glad I didn't give in. It was a no-brainer."
"I am very happy," Kling continued. "I feel I have done something not only for myself but for all handicapped people."
"Melee erupts at hearing on right to walk dog" (Journal News)
"Blind Congers woman wins right to walk guide dog" (Journal News)