Florida Man Faces Eviction Due to His Emotional Support Squirrel

During the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew in Florida last year, Ryan Boylan rescued a squirrel that was trapped under a car. He named her Brutis and kept her inside his home at Island Walk Condominiums in Clearwater Beach.

“Ever since then, I mean, oh my God, I can’t imagine not being around her,” Boylan told WFLA.

Brutis is “just like an indoor cat,” Boylan told ABC Action News. “She just walks around and hides pecans and hazelnuts, which are her two favorites.”

Last summer, Boylan, who suffers from PTSD as the result of a 2004 car accident, registered Brutis as his emotional support animal. He had a prescription for an emotional support animal to assist him in certain situations “to help alleviate these challenges and enhance his day-to-day functionality,” his doctor wrote.

Four months prior to that, the property managers of Island Walk Condominiums had become aware of Brutis when Boylan took her outside and the squirrel was chased up a tree by a dog. The condo association does not allow wild or exotic animals to be kept as pets. In October, Boylan received a warning letter to either get rid of the squirrel or face eviction.

As a wild animal, the squirrel was putting other residents at risk, the condo association said. “I am not sure how any animal that weighs less than two pounds can harm anyone,” Boylan told ABC Action News.

The condo association filed a complaint that Boylan didn’t complete paperwork indicating Brutis is an emotional support animal until after the squirrel was discovered by the property managers. The complaint also stated that Boylan didn’t apply for or obtain approval from the condo association before moving into his unit as a tenant.

In response, Boylan got in touch with the local Office of Human Rights, which sent a letter to the condo association informing the group it was violating the Fair Housing Act. This act recognizes emotional support animals as assistance animals that are “reasonable accommodation” for people with disabilities.

Emotional support animals provide therapeutic benefits for people with depression, PTSD, anxiety and other ongoing conditions. They are legally different from service animals, who are individually trained to perform tasks their handler cannot perform for themselves. The ADA only recognizes dogs (and miniature horses for specific cases) as service animals.

The case of Boylan vs. the condo association is pending. If it were up to me, I’d say let Boylan keep Brutis.

Yes, it’s true that it’s not a good idea to keep squirrels and other wild critters as pets. These animals can be difficult to care for, spread disease and their instinctive behavior makes them unsuitable as pets, according to the Humane Society of the United States. But Brutis seems to be well taken care of, isn’t hurting anyone and would probably have difficulty acclimating if she was returned to the wild. And she seems to be doing a fine job in providing emotional support to Boylan.

TAKE ACTION

Do you think Boylan should be allowed to keep Brutis? Please sign and share this petition urging the Island Walk Condominiums Association to let Boylan keep his emotional support squirrel.

Photo credit: Alexas_Fotos

178 comments

Cindy M. D
Cindy M. Dutka7 days ago

Sad...so very sad... :( Petition signed.

SEND
Pat P
Pat P15 days ago

BOYLAND SHOULD KEEP HIS FRIEND, BRUTIS, THE SQUIRREL!

IF there any particular concerns of management, maybe, Boyland can discuss them and an agreement or solution can be found. Making a big deal out of this squirrel without attempting any resolution to a potential problem is unfair and ridiculous.

SEND
Marilyn L
Marilyn L19 days ago

Any update?

SEND
June Lacy
June Lacy20 days ago

Brutis is so beautiful.......doesn't appear wild to me........petition signed.

SEND
Liliana Garcia
Liliana Garcia24 days ago

Petiton signed. Some issues do exist and I hope they are taken care of.

SEND
Janis K
Janis K25 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

SEND
Elaine W
Elaine W25 days ago

Petition signed and I hope it helps.

SEND
Sarah Grayce P
Sarah Grayce P25 days ago

thanks for this awesome video and speech! =)

SEND
Veronica Danie
Veronica D25 days ago

Thank you so very much!

SEND
Veronica Danie
Veronica D25 days ago

Thank you so very much!

SEND