A man in Florida is facing eviction from his condominium unless he gets rid of his "emotional support" squirrel. Ryan Boylan, of Clearwater Beach, was told by Island Walk Condominiums that he would have to get rid of his pet called Brutis or leave the residence.
Boylan rescued the female squirrel after Hurricane Matthew last year. "Ever since then I mean, oh my God, I can't imagine not being around her," Boylan told reporters.
According to WFLA, the property's management discovered Brutis in April after she was chased up a tree by a dog.
A complaint filed by the condo association claimed that exotic animals are not allowed.
In July, Boylan reportedly obtained a doctor's note prescribing him an "emotional support" animal, the Orlando Weekly reported, to help PTSD he has from a car accident.
But attorneys say Boylan never submitted paperwork stating that Brutis was an emotional support animal until the summer. They also say he is residing in the apartment as a tenant without having applied for or obtained approval from the association.
Boylan enlisted the help of the Office of Human Rights, which sent a letter to the association on his behalf, and claimed discrimination. In the letter, the Office of Human Rights cited the Fair Housing Act, which protects emotional support animals.
Former condo official Sherry Arfa told News Channel 8 that it is a liability if something happens with the squirrel. Arfa also said she feels Brutis should be free.
"As I said if it was a gerbil or something that your grandkid had hiding under the bed, I'm sure that would be fine, but a squirrel is a wild animal," she said.
Boylan has registered Brutis under RegisterMyServiceAnimal.com, WFLA reported. His case is pending.