Shuswap woman’s struggle with strata over therapy dog becomes human rights case

BC Human Rights Tribunal to rule on allegations of discrimination

A Salmon Arm woman’s dispute with a strata owner over keeping a therapy dog has gone to the BC Human Rights Tribunal.

The BC Human Rights Tribunal (BCHRT) has decided they will rule on allegations of discrimination against the woman by the owners and property manager at the strata where she lives.

According BCHRT documents, the complaint, filed on March 18, 2019, alleges discrimination based on mental and physical disability surrounding a disagreement over a therapy dog.

The complainant alleges she was repeatedly contacted by members of the strata council and told to get rid of the dog.

The documents state the womanlisted the dog with the therapy dog registry and had a letter from her doctor expressing the physical and mental health benefits she gained from having the dog and, while the strata has a no pet policy, other owners had been allowed to have a therapy dog after supplying a letter from a doctor. The woman’s dog was owned by previous residents of the strata who left it to her when they passed away in mid-2017.

The Human Rights Tribunal imposes a limit where those making complaints must file them within one year of the event described. Some of the interactions which the submission to the human rights tribunal allege amount to discrimination took place in 2017, well before the March 2019 filing.

Read More: Coronavirus fears postpone North Okanagan high school trip to Europe

Read More: Salmon Arm man guilty of ‘deliberate and premeditated’ breach of Securities Act

The documents state the complainant claimed she was contacted by a member of the strata council in the fall of 2017 and told that she would be sued if she didn’t get rid of the dog. In December of that year, she argued her case for keeping the dog before the strata council and was subsequently told she could if it completed the province’s Guide Dog and Service Dog Certification by April 2018.

It’s claimed the matter was put on hold as the strata moved a bylaw amendment allowing dogs and cats with certain conditions forward at their annual general meeting. After that motion was defeated, the strata is alleged to have informed the dog owner she would face fines beginning on Oct. 12, 2018, if she did not have the dog certified or removed.

Read More: Video: Local contractors rebuild Shuswap SPCA’s “catio”

Read More: History mystery: Mammoth-sized cave discovered at Shuswap Lake

The decision states the BCHRT sought submissions from both parties involved to help decide whether it would rule on or dismiss the complaint. Following the submissions, they ruled that events which allegedly took place as recently as September 2018 were connected to earlier instances called discriminatory in the complaint.

The alleged events which took place in 2017 and early 2018 will be considered, along with the more recent ones because, according to the BCHRT documents, they form part of a continuing contravention of the BC Human Rights Code if they are factual.



jim.elliot@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Salmon Arm

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Over Zoom, Armstrong council seeks new meeting space

BRIEFS: Centennial Auditorium under consideration as council looks to resume open meetings

Fundraiser launched for Enderby drive-in

Vernon resident seeks to raise $20K to save Starlight Drive-In

Duck nests at Vernon drive-thru

Mother has hatched four ducklings just inches from the steady stream of vehicles

North and Central Okanagan on flood watch

Kalamalka Lake users are asked to take measure to reduce the risk… Continue reading

VIDEO: Flowers stolen from Vernon distillery

Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery captured surveillance footage of the thief in a black car

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

Central Okanagan schools ready to welcome students back

Students are set to go back to school next Monday, June 1

Houseboat company partly owned by Shuswap MLA withdraws controversial ad

The ad welcomed houseboaters from other provinces, contradicting anti COVID-19 measures.

Squabble between campers in North Shuswap leads to bear spraying

An argument over late night partying escalated into a fight which led to one person being sprayed

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Penticton may soon allow drinking alcohol in some public places

Trying to inconspicuously drink on the beach could become a thing of the past

Unique ‘the Wedge’ development makes way back to Kelowna council

Council initially deferred its decision on the project in March

Most Read