Lutz, Florida -- A local Pasco County woman has been battling with the courts for years to get her case heard. And now after a recent court decision, she is able to move forward with a discrimination lawsuit against Paradise Lakes Condo Association in Lutz where clothing is optional, but the size of your pet is not.
Sharon Fowler has had her faithful companion Laura by her side for 2-1/2 years. Fowler, who is legally blind, got Laura through Southeastern Guide Dogs Services and needs her to get around.
"I can be anywhere in Paradise Lakes and tell Laura to take me home and she takes me home," says Fowler.
Problems for Fowler and Laura began in 2012 when management sent a letter saying Laura is over the 25-pound weight limit and needed to go. Even though, Fowler says she provided management with all the proper documentation.
"Laura was too big to be here, she was out of control and needed to be removed off the property, or we would be fined $50 a day," Fowler said.
Fowler says from there things only got worse.
"At that point I was in tears, I was being degraded, it was the most horrible experience I'd ever had."
That's when she hired an attorney and filed a discrimination lawsuit.
10 News reached out to management at Paradise Lakes Condo Association and was told they have no comment regarding this doggy dilemma citing the pending litigation. As for Fowler, she just wants to get to life back to normal.
"I don't want anyone who has a service dog to ever be treated the way I've been treated. Someone has to stand up and say enough is enough," said Fowler.
Fowler may be legally blind, but she hopes justice for her and Laura won't be.
Fowler and her attorney plan to re-file the lawsuit under the Federal Fair Housing Act. They are seeking an undisclosed amount of money for mental anguish.
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