We've covered HOA battles over statues and flags. Even playhouses for young children. But a baby kangaroo? Say it isn't so.
Nick and Jeni Dreis of Spring, Texas, took home the 6-month-old red kangaroo as a vocational training animal for their 16-year-old daughter Kala, who has Down syndrome. Kala became fast friends with the kangaroo, named Mike, who the Dreises were grooming to help disabled persons, ABC News reported.
But their local homeowners association refused to allow it.
On Feb. 20, the Dreis family received a letter from the Estates of Legends Ranch Homeowners Association, demanding that they "immediately remove the kangaroo from the property as it is not a household pet nor can it be maintained for any business purposes." The letter further instructed the Dreises to "correct the violation immediately."
When the press and public got wind of the situation, the Dreises were bombarded with support for the family from across the globe. So much so, that on March 1, the HOA reversed its position.
"The letter should never have been sent," Jeff Crilley of the Estates of Legends Ranch Homeowners Association told The Houston Chronicle. "They [HOA officials] were unaware that the kangaroo was being used for therapy purposes."
The outcome of this story is much more favorable than that of the Veloudis family in Lexington, Ky., whose medically-mandated playhouse, built for the physical development of their 3-year-old son Cooper, suffering from cerebral palsy, was similarly prohibited by their HOA.
Like the Dreises, the Veloudis' HOA demanded the playhouse be "removed" immediately, but despite support from the press and wider community, their HOA continues to stand by their decision that the playhouse "violates deed restrictions" and must be removed (though they may keep the playhouse "temporarily").
The relieved Dreis family plans to keep Mike for about a year before moving him to a wildlife park that they plan to build nearby.
"I'm thrilled," Jeni says of the HOA's decision. "I don't have any hard feelings, but I'm irritated that we had to go to this length in order to protect our rights."
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