In a win for Sydney dog lovers, an older man has won the right to keep his Red Cocker Spaniel in his apartment, despite protests from the Owners Corporation.

Five years ago, Anatoly Fanshil adopted Kobey and they have been inseparable ever since.

“He is my family,” says 67-year-old Mr Fanshil. “I love him. He is part of my heart.”

Kobey has been trained as an assistance animal.

“I had a big car accident and he saved my life,” says the retiree. “Ever since then, I have high blood pressure and Kobey helps keep it down. Plus, he is very friendly to so many other neighbours: they all say ‘Bring Kobey!’”

Despite being an owner-occupier in the strata complex for 13 years – the last five with Kobey – the Owners Corporation gave notice just five months ago that the dog would have to go, as it did not comply with the no pets by-law.

“I was devastated, I was looking at having to move,” says Mr Fanshil. “I would not have any choice.”

When the Owners Corporation applied to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal to obtain a monetary penalty for the alleged breach, Mr Fanshil approached Marrickville Legal Centre.

Solicitor Justin Abi-Daher was confident of success in the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

“When I saw strong evidence that the dog is an assistance animal, it just seemed unfair for the Owners Corporation to take such action,” he says, noting that he used the Disability Discrimination Act to help win the case.

Kobey is now able to stay in the Anatoly’s apartment, as long as he is kept on a short leash in common property areas. The pair can only use the lift if there are no other people in it.

“It’s just so rewarding to help in a case like this,” says Mr Abi-Daher. “It would be impossible for Anatoly to live without Kobey.”

If you have a strata issue, please feel welcome to contact Marrickville Legal Centre. We give advice about general strata issues and operate a NSW state-wide Strata Collective Sales Advocacy Service, which helps with issues relating to strata collective sales. For assistance, please call 02 9559 2899

Photo: Anatoly Fanshil (left) and Justin Abi-Daher (right) with Kobey 

Photo: Anatoly Fanshil (left) and Justin Abi-Daher (right) with Kobey