Florida man faces eviction over emotional support squirrel

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A Florida man is fighting his condo association for the right to keep his pet, a squirrel he registered as an emotional support animal.

Ryan Boylan, who lives in Clearwater Beach, received a notice last month to either get rid of Brutis, his pet squirrel, which is considered an exotic animal and is banned, or face eviction.

"Ever since then I mean, oh my god, I can't imagine not being around her", Boylan told WFLA-TV.

But he could lose her.

The property management first learned of the typically outdoor rodent's status as Boylan's pet when a local dog chased it up a tree in April.

Boylan argues Brutis is an emotional support animal. But the association contends that this was done after it told Boylan that the pet was prohibited. He suffered from post-traumatic stress from a vehicle accident back in 2004.

Ryan Boylan claims his squirrel Brutis is a support animal for his PTSD.

Former condo official Sherry Arfa told News Channel 8 that it is a liability if something happens with the squirrel. Boylan's doctor said an emotional support animal would help alleviate challenges that Boylan suffers from PTSD due to a auto accident.

"She's just like an inside cat".

In response to a discrimination complaint from Boylan, the Florida Office of Human Rights sent the condo board a letter saying that emotional support animals were protected under the Fair Housing Act, the station reported. "To help alleviate these challenges and to enhance his day to day functionality, I have prescribed Ryan to obtain emotional support animal (s)", his letter to the board, posted by News Channel 8, reads.

Boylan is adamant that giving up the animal is not an option. "It's just like with any animal, you can have the nicest dog and they could bite somebody".

Boylan, who rescued Brutis after the storm rocked Florida in October 2016, said he quickly became attached to the animal. Many people have traditional domesticated animals like service dogs or even cats for emotional support. "If it was a gerbil or something that your grandkid had hiding under the bed, Im sure that would be fine".

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