November 30, 2012

Landlady: Get rid of dog or move out

Doctor's note says chihuahua necessary, couple claims


---- — PLATTSBURGH — The holiday season is turning out to be anything but a festive time for Robert and Theresa Duell.

“We are on pins and needles, and we can’t sleep at night,” Robert said. “It’s all we think about, and we can’t relax.”

After living at 94 Abenaki Road in the Abenaki Mobile Home Park for the past 30 years, the Duells got a notice saying they were being evicted.

“I went to pay the rent at the beginning of this month, and she (landlady Phyllis Gregory) wouldn’t take it and told us we were being evicted,” said Robert, 80.

“I was confused. I didn’t understand it.”

Gregory reportedly told the Duells they are “objectionable” tenants. The problem is tiny.

Not tiny, as in a small matter, but rather Tiny as in a small chihuahua.

The Duells have had Tiny, all 8 pounds of him, for the past four years. He is more than just a pet, they say.

“My wife has a very serious hearing problem, and when I am not here, she relies on the dog to let her know if someone is at the door or something,” Robert said.

The couple have a note from Dr. Fern E. Likhite attesting to the fact that Theresa has hearing difficulties and needs the dog for assistance.

Still, the eviction notice stood.


The ultimatum for the Duells is to either move out this weekend or get rid of Tiny, which they say is not going to happen.

“That dog is my wife’s first priority,” Robert said. “She loves him so much she would never part with him.”

Theresa’s attachment to Tiny was evident during a recent visit, as she cuddled the perky dog while tears streamed down her cheeks.

Moving the mobile home is not an option since it is a 1973 model and will not meet specifications at any other mobile-home park. The Duells are worried that they might have to live in their car.

“Right before Christmas, we really don’t need this in our lives,” Robert said. “We pray every night that this will work out somehow.”


The Duells have had a dog ever since they’ve lived at Abenaki, he said, and they do not understand the change in rules.

“I could understand if the dog was running around biting people, but this dog hardly ever even leaves the house,” Robert said.

Gregory said the lease says there are no dogs allowed and that the Duells have been told many times to get rid of the dog.

“I’m just doing my job,” she said, referring all other inquiries to her attorney, Joseph Mucia.

Mucia did not return a call from the Press-Republican.

The Duells hope something can be worked out.

“We are just two old people minding our own business,”  a frustrated Robert said. “We don’t know why this is happening.”

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