Dog days: Condo association files suit over golden retriever
A Hoffman Estates condo association filed suit against a renter Wednesday for violating a rule banning dogs larger than 40 pounds.
"It was a mistake," said Roy Bermudez, who was named in the suit filed in Cook County Circuit Court along with condo owner Qing Wu, of Barrington. "I didn't do it on purpose. I didn't know about any 40-pound limit."
The suit, filed by the Moon Lake Village Two Story Condominium Association, cites a rule adopted in 2003 setting a 40-pound limit for dogs. It says the condo board "made numerous requests to the defendants that they remove the dog from the premises," since February. It seeks an injunction to remove the dog and asks court costs and attorney fees.
"My daughter goes to Hoffman Estates High School," Bermudez said, "so I was looking for a place nearby so I wouldn't have to transfer schools for her."
Bermudez said he told Wu about his dog, Francis, a golden retriever, when he was first shown the condo at 1410 Volid Drive in January. "He'd seen that other people had dogs in the complex, so he said sure," Bermudez said. Bermudez signed a yearlong lease and moved in, he added, "and ever since it's been hell."
Bermudez said Francis is well-behaved. "None of my neighbors complains. My dog never barks," he said. "I've had the dog over eight years. I can't get rid of him. My daughter would never forgive me."
According to Bermudez, there are numerous other large dogs in the condo complex, which comprises more than 300 units in several buildings, and they were perhaps grandfathered in before the size limit was imposed.
"I'm looking to buy a home, but now that I know this association I would never buy in this place," Bermudez said. He's hoping they'll "be patient until I can find someplace else. What more can they ask for?"
Bermudez said he's already informed Wu and the condo board he won't be extending the lease, which runs out at the end of the year. "It's only a few months until the lease ends. I will find some other place around here to live. I'm just hoping I can stroll out of here," he added. "At the end of December, I'll be out, hopefully sooner. If I find something next week, I'll take it."
Bermudez said he expects the slow pace of the courts to give him time to get out before his dog is impounded, but that he's prepared to argue for a little tolerance in court. "I'm hoping that if I explain it to a judge, just tell the truth, common sense will prevail," he said.