Disabled Vet Gets Service Dog and Eviction Notice

Robert Royal said he received an eviction notice from his landlord less than 24 hours after bringing home a VA prescribed service dog.

The Marine Corps veteran suffers from severe PTSD. Little two pound Lucy Louise was prescribed to soothe his nerves and help him to remain calm in situations that would otherwise cause anxiety. “Undying love and undying devotion, that’s what I get from her,” he says.

Speaking of anxiety, Royal said he’s seen his share of late: this week he received an eviction notice from landlord Tom Guyer allowing him 20 days to vacate the premises. Royal said it came as a shock, and maintains that he has been a good tenant for well over three years now.

Royal’s landlord has a “no pets” policy and Royal is convinced that the dog is the reason he is being forced out.  He says, “I feel like he’s descriminating against me because I got a service dog from the VA and he don’t like that.”

Guyer’s attorney says that’s not the case at all. In a statement emailed to KING 5 Michael Mittge said, “We appreciate Robert Royal’s service to his country, and have only taken the present course after exhausting all other means of solving the problem. The whole matter is especially painful for Mr. Guyer, because he is also a disabled Vietnam veteran. Mr. Royal has had numerous problems in his interaction with other tenants in the complex. We have tried to work with him to resolve them, but regret that we now have to take this final step. We wish him well, and hope that he can find a living situation that better suits him.”

Royal maintains that he has lived a peaceful existence and has not troubled his neighbors. But despite what he considers an unfair outcome, he does not intend to go to court. Too weary to fight another battle, he’s simply moving on. “It’s a lousy thing to do to anybody who is disabled,” Royal said. “But especially bad against a United States Marine Corps Veteran.”

9 thoughts on “Disabled Vet Gets Service Dog and Eviction Notice”

  1. As a landlord, myself, I have to say that the tenant’s assertion that he “was a good tenant” really means nothing. My worst tenant ever, the one who made me give up being a landlard and turn my triplex back to a single family dwelling, also asserted over and over that he was a “good tenant” with a list of lease violations pages long. He broke things, always had people not on the lease staying there for months at a time, had the cops called on him for domestic disputes (and drove out my favorite tenant with said domestic disputes), left windows and doors open while the heat/air was on (I paid utilities), and left his apartment uncleaned with mold, dog poo, and a broken window.

    I love dogs, and have a wonderful, well behaved thai ridgeback dog that I train both for house manners and also competition obedience, agility and tracking. She’s almost not really even a dog, more like a piece of my soul that got trapped in something four-legged and found her way back to me. That tenant’s dog made me want to call animal control on him for neglect. I’d come over to the triplex and find it tied up outside with no one else home or around. It was just this little thing, about dachshund size, and it was tied up outside where anything could happen to it and it couldn’t get away. A squirrel could have hurt this little thing, or someone could have walked off with him, or a stray dog could have hurt him, or stray kids. And he didn’t even have any water or anything out there. You just can’t do that, leave him tied up and unsuppervised. And he didn’t train him at all, house manners or otherwise. I tried to help him with the training, and he didn’t seem to care. I did tell him if I ever came over to find his dog tied outside with no one home, I was going to report him to animal control.

    I was not at all unhappy to give that tenant the boot.

    Reply
    • The timing makes me think that the addition of the service dog might have been the last straw, and no the landlord could not and should not remove the tenant for having a service dog. That said, it doesn’t mean that the landlord didn’t already have plenty of reasons to give the tenant his walking papers. Issues with other (actually) good tenants is a very good reason to remove a bad tenant.

      Reply
  2. No one told you to Buy that house.If you want to rent a hse,/apt. etc in the US .You are subject to the laws that we have.No one asks you if you are an American Citizen when you buy property in the US.You go to a lawyer & show him/her MONEY.If someone does damage then sue them.Otherwise a landlord should not be allowed to exclude anyone based on whether or not they live up to exclusionary provisons in a lease.If you don’t like it sell the hse/apts etc, & get out of the business.the reason so many dogs /cats are dumped pff in shelters are because of ahole landlords threatening eviction.
    In Seaside Hgts,Nj all the landlords are connected to the politicos.They tell people no “guests after 10pm/My friends landlord rigged the heat to go on till 50degs. He was the ex Fire Chief & my friend had to go to the emergency room twice for pneumonia. I finally looked on the website & called a Councilwoman That I knew from 35 yrs, ago & told her what was happening .He had the heat on in 30 minutes.F landlords.

    Reply
  3. Having been both landlord and tenant I have to say – my tenants never left except when they had saved up enough money to buy their own homes back in the days when homeownership was the American Dream instead of the current American Nightmare. I do not believe for one minute that the landlord who has evicted this veteran is telling the truth about his problems with other tenants who likely are the causes of any problems – there are an awful lot of people out there who prey on victims and esp. abusive toward returning servicemen or should it be necessary to remind people what VietNam vets went through??? And a lot of it is still going on. As far as being a tenant, I can vouch for the fact that these days a lot of landlords appear to despise their tenants and are interested only in ripping them off in every creative way possible and even though there are more renters now than homeowners thanks to the economy the general society’s attitude is that if you are a renter you are at least lacking in character and at worst you are trash. I live in an area described as PET UNFRIENDLY and have a friend who was evicted for having a goldfish. Same crapola excuse she was “causing problems with other tenants.” Know what? She was gone so much on her job that she had never even MET any of the other tenants! Just a convenient abusive landlord excuse. What do landlords get when they re-rent a unit? YOU GOT IT!!! MONEY and lots of us – in this area for example, first and last and huge non-refundable deposits for everything you can think of and then some!!

    Reply
  4. Ness re your post I sure didn’t see anything in the OP about this soldier neglecting his dog. Just sayin’. And some landlords define “good tenant” as one who never complains even when there are dire problems such as city sewers backing up into an apartment and leaving 6″ of sludge on the floor, having to clean it up yourself because of the war between the City and the landlord, and the final insult being sent a bill for the new carpet and after refusing to pay because – excuuuse me – it was the City sewer that backed u!!! – being evicted for “damaging” the rental and then being sued and having to pay an attorney to defend something that should have been very obvious. That’s what landlords are like, folks!!!

    Reply
    • I’ve only been a landlord for eight years, but I define “good tenant” as someone who does what they say they’re going to do, someone who’s word and signature mean something. I’ve lived in all of the apartments in my triplex at one time or another, and was usually living in one unit or another during that eight years, so these were not just tenants, but also neighbors and friends. We often shared meals, had bbqs or back yard fires. It meant something to me that my tenants were good people, and over the years most of them were good tenants and good people. A few of my tenants I didn’t even need a lease with, just verbal agreement because their word meant something to me and to them and they were good people, and I never had problems with that sort of unofficial set up. I was there on the property and when things broke I fixed them or had them fixed. All the units were perfectly livable for me and my family when I turned them over to the tenants, and most of the time they were turned back over in the same good condition.

      The mistreatment of the dog I was referring to was personal experience and not about the veteran in the original post, and yes, watching my former tenant ignore and neglect his dog contributed as much to my dislike of him as all of his lease violations and hiding stuff from me. I went through his lease with him clause by clause, and he said, yes, he understood everything. And he was still constantly violating his lease. His lease allowed for a dog with a pet deposit (which he always promised to pay, I let him go ahead and keep the dog, he’d already brought him home before he told me about it, with that promise and pay the deposit in installments, and he only ever gave me half of it, kept coming up short. He never even paid rent for the last month he was there, a whole month of rent for free, which he felt entitled to because he was such a “good” tenant). He scammed his way out of every bit he could, but no, I didn’t take him to court because for me, I was just happy to have him out of my home, with his breaking of fridges and windows and screaming at people at all hours. This is still a pretty fresh wound for me, this breach of trust, as I said above, the vast majority of my tenants have been friends. This creep just pretended to be.

      But you’re right, landlords are ALWAYS the bad guy. At least that’s what everyone’s told me.

      A prescribed therapy dog, like in the OP, is a service dog, and not a pet (even though obviously loved) and even a property with a “no pet” policy has to respect a therapy dog.

      Reply
  5. One thing that is typical of landlords today is they have all rehearsed their strategies,,for judges of how they followed every letter of the LAW.
    I doubt very strongly that what you say is true.I believe you are coverning up your tracks.What you say happens doesn’t & shouldn’t matter in THE LEAST. IF YOU DON;T LIKE BEING A LANDLORD,,,SELL THE PROPERTY./STOP USING OTHERS TO PAY YOUR MORTGAGE. STOP LIVING OFF AMERICANS.

    Reply

Leave a Comment