Man Denied Service Dog to Help With Depression

A Chicago man was denied permission to have a service dog by the administrators of his high-rise condo on Lake Shore Drive. He wanted the dog to help relieve his chronic depression, because he feels having a dog makes him more productive as a person and in his art work. Two letters from doctors stating the depressed man would benefit from having a service dog were sent to the condo association, but had no effect, because of a no-pet policy in the building. Other residents of the building do have service dogs, however, and some allegedly keep pets secretly.

Depression can isolate people, as many people withdraw from social interaction because of external judgment or a desire to be alone. Research has shown depression can interfere with one’s capacity for empathy, and empathy for others is a key way of understanding and communicating. A lack of empathy can increase social alienation and isolation, which can worsen depression.

The Chicago man who was denied permission to have a service dog was right to seek out a close relationship with a social animal, if socializing with humans is very limited. The International Association of Assistance Dog Partners says dogs can help people with mood disorders: “Scientists view it as a biological problem, not purely psychological. With some persons, the condition becomes a lifelong struggle.  A service dog can improve the safety of his partner whenever the mood disorder becomes  life threatening.”

The Illinois Department of Human Rights has filed a lawsuit against the condo association on his behalf.

Image Credit: Per Harald Olsen (Perhols) / Wiki Commons

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Chrissie H
Chrissie H.2 years ago

Although I do feel sympathy for this man I don't feel it is fair to be so reliant on a dog to ease his depression. What if he couldn't be bothered to feed or walk the animal after getting one?.His best idea would be to move out of the condo,(maybe the people there know something we don't) sort his depression and then think of getting a dog...,in that order !

Deen Mohd D.
Deen Mohd D.2 years ago

getting better help

Roger M.
Past Member 2 years ago


Robyn W.
Robyn W.2 years ago

Karen M. I looked up the story and basically the same information is shared by Chicago news sites. I don't think they are leaving anything out and if they are then it's not care2 withholding information, I think that is just all they have.

Anyways, very sad story. Everyone should be treated equally and I hope this man wins his case or is able to move to a place that allows his dog.

Bill Eagle
Bill Eagle2 years ago

I am surprised that they would deny a person with doctors letters. How is it that there are others in the condo with service animals? Why is he being treated differently?

Karen Martinez
Karen Martinez2 years ago

There's obviously more to the story than is being published if other residents have service animals. Shame on you, Care2 for not publishing the whole story.

Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W.2 years ago

very sad

Jude Hand
Judith Hand2 years ago

Mental illness; will it ever get the respect it deserves? I hope that this man is successful.

Danuta Watola
Danuta Watola2 years ago

Thanks for the info

Dale Overall

In many places it is totally illegal to deny a person with doctor's letters and a fully certified service dog the right to have one in the condo. Hopefully he gets together with the ACLU or other advocates such as a Mental Health Mood Disorders group and fights this outrage.

One person said that dolls fill the emotional gap and one does not have to feed them, but not everyone can relate to a doll.

Dogs and cats have been scientifically studied and help to ease depression, lower blood pressure and help in keeping one happy, especially people living alone.

Not a cure all by any means but when one has valid documents from doctors and other service dogs are permitted for other illnesses then this condo is cruel and inflexible and their name should be featured prominently on FB and other sites, in the media to let people know of their appalling behaviour towards the mentally ill. Remember, one in five people over their life time will be dealing with some form of mental illness.