CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A single mother of four, living in an apartment, has an issue. A doctor recommended she get an emotional support animal for one of her children.
She did, actually more than one. The problem is she never notified the Corpus Christi Housing Authority she had pets in her apartment, so she's been fined. twice.
And that's created a second problem. How to pay the fine, plus her July rent. She has called the Troubleshooters for help.
When we went to meet Dolores Sanchez, we met Snow, a dog she got for one of her children, she says Snow's a rescue.
In June, the doctor treating her son, advised her to get emotional support for her son.
According to the Americans With Disabilities Act, service dogs are individually trained to perform a specific task for individuals with disabilities.
Emotional Support dogs provide comfort and support in the form of affection and companionship for an individual suffering from various mental and emotional conditions.
We asked Sanchez 'You never went to management here, thru letter or face-to-face, and said I've got this directive from the kid's doctor that they need a service animal ?' No," she replied.
So here's the problem.
"Are service animals allowed on this property ?" we asked Sanchez. "Uh, I didn't look into it if they are."
The Troubleshooters checked with the Corpus Christi Housing Authority about the steps Sanchez should have followed to have a pet in her apartment.
Those steps include:
1. Filling out a Reasonable Accommodation form
2. Filling out Animal Addendum form
3. Provide vaccination reports
4. All pets must be chipped, spayed, and neutered
The Housing Authority also told the Troubleshooters, that these requirements apply to all pets on the property.
Sanchez was first fined $200.00 in June for having unauthorized pets.
She paid that off.
But she's been fined again, this time $300.00, for having pets without proper authorization.
And that's creating a bigger problem for Sanchez, who works multiple jobs just to make ends meet.
"I haven't even paid my rent this month Andy. I'm behind on a lot of bills,"she said.
The CCHA tells me even after Sanchez submits what they require, they will still check with her doctor's office before making a decision.
Sanchez could find herself with a difficult decision to make.
"Are you willing to give up the animals if it will allow them to say 'ok, you don't have to pay the fine?
"I have no choice. We need a home," she said.
The CCHA tells the Troubleshooters, that they'll work with Sanchez on a payment plan.
Sanchez says she just hasn't had the time to do what has to be done.