Fla. Disabled Navy Vet Says POA Won't Let Him Keep Service Dog

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A property owners association in Hobe Sound, Fla., has told one of its residents that he cannot keep his dog, but the man says POA rules do not apply because his dog is a service animal, not a pet.

Florida Disabled Navy Vet Says POA Won't Let Him Keep Service Dog

Nick Spagnolo is a Navy veteran who served in Kuwait City and Somalia in the early 1990s, and is now disabled. Spagnolo brought home a Pit Bull named Scarlett last November to help him handle some of his ailments.

"I've got some medical issues and Scarlett kind of alleviates a lot of those," Spagnolo told WPBF-TV. "She's very good as far as emotional support. She'll help me to wake up in the morning."

Not long after Spagnolo got Scarlett, the the Jamestown Property Owners Association notified him that the dog violated POA regulations limiting pets to 20 pounds. Scarlett weighs 40 pounds.

Spagnolo says the regulation does not apply to Scarlett because she is a service dog, not a pet. Spagnolo's doctors and the Veterans Administration have sent documents to the POA confirming that Spagnolo is disabled and his service dog is medically necessary.

The POA responded with requests for specific information about the nature of Spagnolo's disabilities, and the ways in which Scarlett helps the Navy vet deal with those disabilities. Spagnolo has refused to divulge that information for privacy reasons.

"It's a violation of my privacy, and I really don't want strangers as well as other residents here knowing the full extent of my disabilities," Spagnolo said.

The two parties remain in a stalemate, and Spagnolo says he doesn't know what will happen next.


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The problem that most people who live within POA/HOA jurisdictions are forced into rules and regulations that often are totally rediculous and/or outdated. The other problem, is that At least
in the State of Florida there are very few rules regulating HOA's and these HOA's often have
powers of foreclosues that even mortgage lenders and banks do not even have, and they know it and use it when ever they see fit...often times they fine you until the fines reach a certain amount of money owed, and then place liens and foreclose on your home. Its like a form of
legalized extortion, HOA's are an uneccessary parasite to say the least.

November 14 2013 at 10:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Marlene Dawson



November 14 2013 at 8:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bill Short

I moved into a pet restricted senior community. I have a prescription for having a cat. It is a clinically proven fact that petting a cat lowers your blood pressure. The HOA sent me a threatening letter saying they would sue me, and revoke my right to live in the community. The local city human rights commission took them to court, and their attorney told them they didn't have a snow ball's chance in Hell of wining, and they capitulated. The city made them go through a sensitivity training session on service animals.

October 11 2013 at 3:36 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Daniel Oberg

Disabled veteran Nick Spagnolo needs to review 413.08 and 413.801 which is a florida statute that was written to protect the disabled. Also the Americans with disabilities act. The statute has penalties for the POA.....

October 11 2013 at 3:22 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

are these fools even thinking or do they have there heads so far up the back sides they cant see anything that is not there way . Really there wanting to take on the veterans service as well as the disabled peoples out fit ,with this what I would call nothing but asinine rule that should not applied to any one who is disabled an of a veteran who did his duty when his country called .I hope that both of these groups take this POA to court an sue them in a class action suit . I know rules are rules but some times they can be bent for a good cause as helping a disabled veteran like this one .so you really thick headed fools cop a clue before its to late for you an you are sued big time an maybe lose your home because of it

October 11 2013 at 2:01 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
SM in RI

POA/HOA needs to learn a bit about HIPPA laws and the disabilities act. All because people are worried about appearances or their little Fluffy getting scared. I hope he sues their pants off.

October 11 2013 at 1:20 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

I want a pittie service dog too. How can I get a legit prescription for one? They are the best. Anyone know where to go in the D.C. Metro area, to get a dr who will prescribe a service dog for mental or nervous disorders? Anyone near Fredericksburg, Va. preferably? Let us know!

October 11 2013 at 1:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If anyone in an HOA/POA community in Florida, you'd better read the Bylaws and Restrictions BEFORE you buy, which in Florida is required for buyers to have before closing on the property. BUT not all follow up on this and then the Board of Directors of the HOA/POA will throw the book at you...or change the bylaws/restrictions to suit their "whims"...Florida and California and Texas are three of the worse states to fight a POA/HOA!

October 11 2013 at 12:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

These men served our country. They have disabilities that may not be seen, but they are there and need their dogs. I am appalled at the restaurant owner and the HOA/POA for giving these men any kind of harrassment at all. These dogs have been trained to be service dogs. Where is the compassion? Where is the appreciation they should be giving these men?

October 11 2013 at 11:00 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to redhottamales's comment

Your idiocy is confounding.

October 11 2013 at 11:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sarah Howard


October 11 2013 at 10:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
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