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Feb 24, 2012

My Chihuahua vs. Our Condo Board: HELP US SAVE GEORGIE!!

DANBURY -- Georgie Banks, 5, is loved by the three women he shares a condo with on Triangle Street in Danbury.

Georgie, a 3-pound chihuahua, spends his days playing with his chew toy, curled up on the couch next to his owner, Jean Banks, 45, or doing his duties outside -- which are always scooped into "the blue poopie-scoopie," Jean Banks said.

But despite Georgie's demure size and gentle ways, the Lions Condominiums owners' board of directors has decided he must go.

In a meeting Monday -- that Jennifer Banks, 25, said she and her mother, Jean, and grandmother, Beverly, 77, were not allowed to attend -- the board's decree was handed down: Georgie goes or the entire Banks family goes.

"We rent from our condo's owner, Jason Martin. Only condo owners were allowed at the meeting," Jennifer explained. "We're tenants, so we couldn't attend. Jason gave us the news. It was the first we'd heard about any of this."

The Banks have lived at the Lions complex since 1998. They adopted Georgie two years ago to keep him from going to a shelter, Jennifer Banks said.

Calls to Martin on Friday were not returned, but letters he sent the Banks about the situation were forwarded to The News-Times.

The storm over Georgie was brewing for two years, according to letters to Martin from Scalzo Property Management . Other condo owners had seen Georgie "being walked" in November 2010. Georgie had been "heard barking" in September 2011.

The condo rules changed in 1999, and only dogs "gandfathered in at that time" are now allowed on the premises, the letters read.

Fines were imposed on Martin amounting to $2,350, according to a Dec. 29, 2011, Scalzo Property Management letter. And Monday's meeting was called.

Phone calls to Jay Metcalf and Travis Hyatt, community association managers for Scalzo Property Management, who handle the Lions Condominiums, were not returned Friday.

"We don't know where to turn," Jennifer Banks said. "My mother has a learning disability and medical problems. Georgie calms her. He's calming for my grandmother. We all love him."

"He's Georgie Banks," said Beverly Banks, "one of the family."

Jean Banks agreed.

"If I didn't have Georgie, I really don't know what I would do," Jean said, choking back tears. "When Geogie's around, I feel I have a friend."

Dr. Mary Blackman, of Primary Care Danbury, has intervened on Jean and Georgie's part. In a letter dated Feb. 22, she wrote:

"Unfortunately Jean has several chronic medical conditions (and) numerous medications ... Her dog provides tremendous psychological/emotional support for the patient (Jean). On behalf of my patient, I am asking you to make an exception to allow my patient to keep her dog at her current location."

Christine DiCarlo, a Lions condo owner, said she "just went through the courts" because the condo board was fining her $5,000 for having a small dog in her condo.

"They're over the top," DiCarlo said of the condo board. "When I bought here, dogs were allowed. That's why I bought here. Then the rules kept changing on dogs. I had to give my dog to a friend."
DiCarlo, who is a dog trainer, said Georgie is "a very well-trained dog. He's a sweet little dog. The Banks are a great family. They've been here for years."; 860-255-7322

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