Sanford Housing tenant says eviction threatened over false dog bite claim

A 70-year-old woman living in an apartment managed by the Sanford Public Housing Authority says she was unfairly threatened with eviction. Barbara Dyke says in July she received a letter from Sanford Housing saying in order to stay in her apartment, she could no longer keep her dog Coco, who she relies on as an emotional support animal, because a neighbor reported being bitten by the dog. Dyke says the accusation is false. “If I didn’t have him I’d probably have a total breakdown,” Dyke said, sitting in a lawn chair in front of a home where she is temporarily staying with a friend. Dyke says she barely owns anything after leaving behind most of her possessions moving out of her apartment. “I am 70 years old, I’ve lost my husband, I’ve lost my home, I lost everything. I am not going to lose my dog,” Dylke said. Dyke’s husband died of cancer in February. Without many resources, Dyke says the thought of trying to appeal the housing authority’s decision through a hearing was simply too overwhelming. “I just figured, what’s the sense in going through with a hearing. I could’ve stayed, but I still would’ve had to get rid of my dog,” Dyke said. Dyke lives with disabilities including multiple brain injuries. A decade ago, she says, a therapist wrote her a letter for an emotional support animal. News 8 reached out to multiple attorneys who specialize in housing issues and have experience helping low income renters. The general consensus among attorneys WMTW asked to evaluate this situation said current federal eviction protections don’t apply in this scenario and it doesn’t look like the housing authority did anything unlawful. Dyke simply wishes the Sanford Housing had handled this with more sensitivity. “Even the thought of having to lose him, I just couldn’t handle that. Couldn’t handle it,” Dyke said. The Sanford Housing Authority’s Executive Director Diane Gerry said because the situation is confidential, the agency is not able to comment.

A 70-year-old woman living in an apartment managed by the Sanford Public Housing Authority says she was unfairly threatened with eviction.

Barbara Dyke says in July she received a letter from Sanford Housing saying in order to stay in her apartment, she could no longer keep her dog Coco, who she relies on as an emotional support animal, because a neighbor reported being bitten by the dog.

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Dyke says the accusation is false.

“If I didn’t have him I’d probably have a total breakdown,” Dyke said, sitting in a lawn chair in front of a home where she is temporarily staying with a friend.

Dyke says she barely owns anything after leaving behind most of her possessions moving out of her apartment.

“I am 70 years old, I’ve lost my husband, I’ve lost my home, I lost everything. I am not going to lose my dog,” Dylke said.

Dyke’s husband died of cancer in February.

Without many resources, Dyke says the thought of trying to appeal the housing authority’s decision through a hearing was simply too overwhelming.

“I just figured, what’s the sense in going through with a hearing. I could’ve stayed, but I still would’ve had to get rid of my dog,” Dyke said.

Dyke lives with disabilities including multiple brain injuries.

A decade ago, she says, a therapist wrote her a letter for an emotional support animal.

News 8 reached out to multiple attorneys who specialize in housing issues and have experience helping low income renters.

The general consensus among attorneys WMTW asked to evaluate this situation said current federal eviction protections don’t apply in this scenario and it doesn’t look like the housing authority did anything unlawful.

Dyke simply wishes the Sanford Housing had handled this with more sensitivity.

“Even the thought of having to lose him, I just couldn’t handle that. Couldn’t handle it,” Dyke said.

The Sanford Housing Authority’s Executive Director Diane Gerry said because the situation is confidential, the agency is not able to comment.