Senior Pet Owner Faces EvictionPublished October 31, 2008
Coco, a diminutive 13 year-old toy Poodle weighing in at about 6 pounds and her owner, Mary Pasko, is involved smack in the middle of a huge Hardship Pet Case. Mary Pasko, a spirited 90 year-old retired teacher and beauty parlor manager, is facing eviction from her co-op which has an iron-clad no pet’s policy.
When Coco was a small puppy, she was given to Mrs.Pasko by her younger daughter, Denise, as a gift shortly after the death of her husband, in hopes that Coco could help her mom through the grieving process. Coco became an integral part of her life.
Mrs. Pasko then moved in with Denise and another daughter, Alison. The living arrangements worked out beautifully, with Coco involved in daily routines, and who had become Mrs. Pasko's close companion, spending time enjoying their simple life's pleasures. 5 years later, however, Denise became critically ill, and Mrs. Pasko moved back to her home town to live with her other daughter, Joan, in a brick co-op with that strict no pet policy. Coco remained with Alison and Denise, but visited the co-op on a regular basis, and as such her presence was tolerated. When Denise passed away, both Mrs. Pasko and Coco were at her bedside.
Mrs. Pasko could not consider returning to the Co-op without Coco. With her double grief, the thought of living without Coco was intolerable. A request for a waiver of the rule was turned down by the co-op board, and a legal nightmare began to unfold.
Residents claim that property values would decline of the dog was allowed to stay. Mrs. Pasko on the other hand claims that Coco poses no safety threat, nor would she lower real estate value. Since she is not a rule-breaker, she wants to have Coco live with her legitimately. Coco, an extremely well behaved dog, would not in any way be a disturbance to any residents of the co-op. She doesn't shed, she doesn't bark, and, in fact, in dog years is about the same age as her owner. Mrs. Pasko just desperately needs her dog for the wonderful companionship which she provides.
During an interview, Mrs. Pasko said, “I think that by the time you’re 90, you deserve to have something of your very own that nobody can take away,” she says, tartly. “She’s my medicine. I don’t think I could make it without her.”
The eviction case began in 2007 when the co-op board refused to make an exception for Coco, claiming that she is not a service dog, but only an emotional support for Mrs. Pasko. The bitter fight continues as one of the co-op attorney's mother, aged 97 who refuses to back down in the suit, claiming that if she could give up her feline companionship to live at the co-op, that Mrs. Pasko must follow suit. The United States Department of Justice has agreed to prosecute the case in support of Coco and to fight the pending eviction of Mrs. Pasko actually at the request of the co-op board who claims that a federal jury hearing will be fairer to their side of the case.
The co-op board did successfully eject a feline from the building based on their rule, but they want to make certain that the rule is legitimate, and do not want to do anything wrong. In any case, due to the advanced age of both Mrs. Pasko and Coco, anything can happen to either of them while the case is under consideration and the conflict in the law is resolved.
I feel strongly that “No pet" rules can negatively impact the lives of people and their pets. Having a pet with whom one can share their heart and home, seems to me to be a basic need that animal lovers need to fulfill. These rules appear to be arbitrary and unfair to me.
What are your thoughts about "No Pet" rules? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.