CHICAGO (CBS) – A Streeterville woman faces daily frustration. When it’s time to take her dog out, her building has rules against using the front door.
Instead, dog owners are supposed to take the dog exit, which has stairs. The problem is, the young woman is in a wheelchair, CBS 2’s Kristyn Hartman reports.
Allison Kessler is crazy about Bruce. Being a pet owner, though, hasn’t been easy.
“I thought I’d be excited to get a dog, and it’s turned into kind of a mess,” she said.
Where she lives has something to do with it. She bought the Streeterville condo because so many of its features work well with her wheelchair.
The high-rise’s dog walking rule is the exception. She knew about it before adopting Bruce and didn’t think it would be a problem. But it is.
There’s a door residents are supposed to take their pets through. But Allison can’t clear the stairs in her chair, so she can’t take the dog that way.
“He’s my dog. Part of the enjoyment and, quite frankly, responsibility of having a dog is being able to take care of him,” she said.
Building management gave her other options. But Allison says one path is longer than anyone else has to take. Another has her wheeling with the dog down a ramp into garage traffic.
“We need to fight for people with disabilities rights so that they can enjoy life just like everyone else, so that they don’t have to put up with discrimination, especially in their own homes,” says Kim Borowicz, an attorney for Access Living, which has filed a lawsuit on Kessler’s behalf.
Her condo association has threatened her with fine. One neighbor thinks the rules are the rules.
“That’s why we have a dog door, so they don’t pee in your common areas,” Janet Shepherd said. “She knew the situation before she moved in here.”
Access Living says the law provides for fair and reasonable accommodations. Kessler has even suggested potential solutions.
Building management and the condo association did not return calls from CBS 2.