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Owner may give up therapy dog after complaints

Woman Upset After Neighbor Complaints of Therapy Dog

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - A southern Colorado woman is worried she'll have to give up her therapy dog after neighbors complained about barking.

Linda Hastings' therapy dog, Baxter, follows her everywhere. She lives at the Summit apartments in southeastern Colorado Springs.

"It helps me with anxiety. When I'm feeling stressed, he helps with all kinds of things like with my post-traumatic stress disorder," said Hastings.

The dog is for both Hastings, and her grandson, Vincent, 3. Vincent is deaf and relies on Baxter to get around.

"It's his hearing dog. He comes to Vincent's side and helps him walk," said Hastings.

Thursday morning, Hastings received a letter from management at the Summit Apartments.

"The letter said neighbors complained about a lot of barking from our dog," said Hastings.

She worries Baxter will have to go.

"They said I'm in violation. If there is barking or anything going on with the service animal, they will be removed immediately," said Hastings.

Management at the Summit Apartments say pets are not allowed, only service and companion animals.

Once they receive several complaints from neighbors, they send out a warning letter. Once the tenant receives three letters, they then either have to get rid of the dog or their lease becomes terminated.  This was Hastings first notice.

"The dog just has to bark one time, and its him or us leaving," said Hastings.

Hastings has rights under the Fair Housing Act.

"What protects us? There has to be an act out there that protects us. We need these animals," said Hastings.

Her rights are limited, because apartment complexes can set their own rules and leases, which Hastings signed when she moved in.

She has a doctor's note to have a therapy dog.

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