Administrative Housing Court | A girl with autism can keep her dog

A girl with autism will be able to keep her dog despite the refusal of the owner of the building she lives in, an administrative housing court ruling.

Posted at 12:00 AM

Alice Gerard Boss

Alice Gerard Boss

“I am really relieved to be able to keep the dog. Olivia is very happy too,” said Larissa Jean Baptiste, the little girl’s mother. For several months, Jean-Baptiste was fighting so that his 11-year-old daughter could keep her little dog at their residence in Verdun, where they lived for nine years.

A few years ago, a social worker suggested the family adopt a dog to reduce stress and anxiety in their daughter Olivia, who has autism spectrum disorder. But the steps to getting a helping dog prove to be daunting. “The queues for all programs were closed. We could not even register,” says Larissa Jean-Baptiste.

This is particularly the case in the Mira’s Dog Service Program for children with autism spectrum disorder.

We closed the menu two years ago because there was already a four year wait.

Sarah Pontebriand, Director of Communications at The Mira Foundation

The same story is for Les Chiens Togo, which caters to people with generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, or the autism spectrum. “We currently have too many families and beneficiaries waiting and until our list is reduced we will not be able to accept new people into our program,” can we read an automated message in response to the email. Journalism.

Dismissal is considered offensive

In September 2020, after months of searching, a family friend introduced them to Mafalda, a very old Yorkshire terrier. Olivia was happy. “For an autistic child, being predictable is important, so the fact that she already knows the dog, that she has met him before and that she loves him, that was really helpful for her,” says the Jean Baptiste.

At that time, the social worker suggested a quiet medium-sized dog that the girl could hug. Mafalda met all the criteria. So the mother quickly notified her owner via email that the dogs had been adopted. “She immediately said no and invited me to find another accommodation,” she recalls.

Mme Jean-Baptiste offered to provide him with medical documents proving the benefits of his daughter having the animal. In response, the homeowner asked her to pay $2,500 instead, the woman said.

She didn’t want us to spoil the floor. I inquired about my rights and saw that they are illegal.

Larissa Jean Baptiste

The owner would say that she was ready to accept the animal, on condition that the family sign the discharge, supporting the woman. Several clauses were stipulated there, notably the duty to varnish the floor upon leaving the apartment. In the event of the animal’s death, the tenant can only replace it after obtaining the owner’s permission again.

to mme Jean Baptiste, there was no doubt about signing this discharge, which I considered offensive. After discussions with the Quebec Office of Disabled Persons and the Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission, I decided to take steps with the Administrative Court of the Registry.

legal victory

At the end of April, the sentence fell. Young Olivia got the right to keep her dog, to the delight of the whole family.

In the resolution, that Journalism After consultation, it states that “the landlord allows tenants to keep their Yorkshire terriers to meet the needs of their daughter who lives on the autism spectrum. Tenants may exchange the animal without the landlord’s permission for a dog of the same size or breed of dog recommended by the professionals or professionals working with People living with the autism spectrum.

M rejoices “I won the dog for my daughter, but I also got peace of mind”me Jean-Baptiste noted that the steps were not easy.

This story made me sick. It is already very stressful and requires having a child with autism. All these steps caused me anxiety, stomach pain and insomnia.

Larissa Jean Baptiste

She hopes her story helps other families.

“I want my actions to help all other parents of children with autism or disabilities, so that they are not abused or discriminated against,” she concludes.

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