Clear Passage

My building has a policy that prohibits pets from entering or exiting through the main lobby. Because of this, building management ordered me to enter and exit through the garage with my support dog, Kalani. To use the garage, one has to walk on an incline and watch for cars coming in and out. The incline is slippery in wet or icy weather and there's no railing to hold onto. It's particularly dangerous for people, like me, who are not always steady on their feet and have poor balance.

I submitted letters from doctors explaining why entering and exiting through the garage was dangerous for me, due to my serious health condition and issues with balance. To make matters worse, the building's management contended that my support dog was just a pet, since I am not blind. They even demanded to know where my dog had gone to school for training as a support dog! We defied their edict and continued using the front lobby, racking up more than $700 in fines imposed by the building's board! Plus, they insisted on continually dragging me to condo hearings to discuss the fines. They made no accommodations for me. But all of that changed once I found Access Living, whose attorney Ken Walden wrote filed a complaint on my behalf and wrote letters explaining that the Fair Housing Act required the building to make reasonable accommodations for me and allow me to enter and exit through the main lobby. Thanks to Ken, we won a modification of the building's policy, and they ultimately dropped the fines and got off my back. They also installed a non-slip surface on the steps of the lobby, to prevent me from slipping on them.

I wanted to bring Kalani, my support dog, with me on an Alaskan cruise, but the cruise line representative told me that dogs are not allowed on board the ship. Ken Walden, an Access Living lawyer, explained to me that under the Americans with Disabilities Act, they could not prevent my support dog from joining me. Ken gave me the courage to keep on pushing. So I did. I challenged the cruise line’s position and, eventually, the cruise line agreed to allow me and Kalani to go to Alaska together.