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Woman Says She and Dog are Discrimination Victims

August 15, 1986

CHELSEA, Mass. (AP) _ Cerebral palsy victim Evelyn Keenan says she and her dog are victims of discrimination because the animal is not allowed to walk in the halls or on the grounds of her apartment complex.

But her landlord says Miss Keenan knew when she moved in Aug. 1 of the restriction requiring that the dog be carried from the apartment to an area outside the complex, which offers federally subsidized housing to the handicapped and elderly.

″It’s a crime against the dog and against myself, too,″ said Miss Keenan, 56. ″I’m being discriminated against. The dog is my life, I have no one else. I do have a family, but my brother doesn’t care for me anymore.″

Miss Keenan, paralyzed from the hips down and confined to a wheelchair, has two aides who shop for her, clean her apartment and take out the dog, Lucky.

She said each day Lucky is trussed up in a child’s harness, tied in a spare wheelchair and wheeled off the grounds.

″I think that’s cruel to a dog,″ she said.

Miss Keenan said she fears that if Lucky sets one paw onto the carpet outside the apartment door, she will be evicted.

Philip J. Roderick, president of Peabody Properties, owner of the 160-unit building, said his company lifted a prohibition on pets three years ago when Congress voted to permit animals in federally subsidized housing for the elderly.

″The pet is a very nice dog. It’s a very gentle animal,″ Roderick said in a telephone interview.

″We accepted her and her dog. There’s been no harassment from my staff. We do require a personal care attendant to transport dogs from common areas outside the building and beyond the grounds, which is allowed by Congress. She was aware of it, the personal care attendant was aware of it.

″I asked the personal care attendant, ‘Are you gonna be able to carry the dog?’ She said, ‘Oh sure, I can handle it, we have a little portable device.’

″If I kept her out of the building I’d be breaking the law,″ Roderick said. ″The most reasonable being to date is the dog. It’s a sweetheart.″

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