Motel guest claims eviction over dog is illegal - WSMV Channel 4

Motel guest claims eviction over dog is illegal

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

A woman who's been asked to leave her Antioch motel room says she's being illegally discriminated against because she has a dog.

Cheryl Darden says her dog, Bear, is not just a pet, he's her service animal. She says she has sleep apnea, which causes her to stop breathing.

"He'll get on my chest and start walking on me, and I'll start breathing again. He saves my life," Darden says.

She and her husband have lived for about two months at the Executive Inn and Suites off Harding Place near Antioch Pike.

But now, she says the owner told them they have to move out by Sunday.  

"The owner informed me, he can no longer have us here, with the animal," she says.

She says the owner told her she couldn't have a dog because all the other guests will want one, too.

Martha M. Lafferty is a lawyer who specializes in the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA.  She says that's not a legal reason to keep the dog out.

"It's one of the most clear areas of the ADA. If a dog really is a service animal, the  business has to allow it,"  Lafferty said.

No one from the hotel was available for an on-camera interview, however, an employee told Channel 4 the owner is skeptical whether the dog really is a service animal, rather than a pet.

That's where things get sticky. Under the law, the hotel owner has no right to ask for proof. He can't ask about her disability, either.

"The ADA prohibits a business from asking for documentation about a service animal, and also the animal doesn't have to have any specific certification from the state, or anything like that," Lafferty says.

"They can't do that. They're doing it, and getting away with it. That's wrong. It's wrong, " Darden says.

Darden's rent is paid up until Sunday; after that, she's says she's not sure what will happen. 

If you have a question about the ADA, you can read about it here: http://www.ada.gov.

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