Family with service dog facing eviction from apartment

Posted: Updated:
BERGENFIELD -

A Bergenfield family with a service dog is now facing eviction from their apartment complex.

The DeRosa family has been living in the Ivy Lane apartment complex for 14 years. But six months ago, they got Princess the German shepherd, a service dog to help Mike DeRosa detect epileptic seizures.

Cheryl DeRosa says that the family received a letter saying Princess had to go because tenants complained about her barking. Plus, they say that German shepherds were on the list of dogs banned by the complex. The DeRosas offered proof that Princess was a service dog.

“We gave them all the paperwork. The doctor even gave us a letter saying that the dog has to be with my husband because he has multiple seizures,” Cheryl says. 

But then the family received an eviction notice from landlord Tower Management. The notice said that the family failed to register the dog with landlord before bringing it on property. The family admits that they did fail to register the dog. So they have two options: get rid of Princess or leave the complex.

“I’m very scared because I have no place to go,” Cheryl says.

Tower Management says in a statement that the company, “takes the wellbeing of all of our tenants very seriously. While we do maintain a strict policy regarding pet ownership, service animals are welcome so long as their owners provide the documentation and guarantees as laid out in our 'pet addendum' to residential lease agreement."

The DeRosas say that the issue isn’t with the dog’s barking or registration, but liability insurance. 

“They want $500,000 and they want it in the town manager’s name and I’m not going to do it,” Mike DeRosa says.

"I don't make enough money and my husband is a disabled person,” says Cheryl.

The family’s insurance company is offering $300,000 at $125 per month. The DeRosas say that this is all that they can afford.

"Why have a sign on your front lawn saying ‘pet friendly’ if you're going to give people harassment?” Mike asks.

The DeRosas say that they do not want to move and cannot get rid of the dog. They are looking into hiring an attorney.

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