Former WWE and TNA star Brooke Adams (Brooke Tessmacher) has filed a lawsuit against her former landlord, claiming he wrongfully evicted her because of her emotional support dog, according to the Houston Chronicle.
The suit claims Adams and her fiance, Weston Wayne Piper, started renting a house in the Greater Heights area of Houston, TX back in February 2017. They paid a pet deposit fee for a small dog named Noodles at the time they moved in. They claim that on December 4, 2017, they brought home an emotional support dog named Waffles, for Brooke, and that’s when the issues with the landlord began.
Adam testified that she suffers from depression and Waffles helped her cope with that. She had posted on Instagram about the dog and that’s when property manager Rutkun Tao and property owner Fan Chen saw the post, noticing that Waffle was not the same dog as Noodles. Tao and Chen informed Adams the day after she brought Waffles home that Adams and Piper had violated the terms of their lease because they did not give prior notice about the new dog being on the property. Tao and Chen also asked that Adams and Piper pay an additional pet deposit fee.
Adams testified that they offered to pay the extra pet deposit fee, but Chen and Tao refused to accept it, according to court records. Adams said Chen and Tao gave the couple two eviction notices in a matter of weeks instead. Adams and Piper vacated the home on New Year’s Eve of that year.
Adams testified in federal court on Tuesday that she believes she was not required to tell the landlords about Waffles, claiming it was her “right” to have the dog.
About one month after Adams and Piper left the property, lawyers for the landlords sent a letter to them to demand $14,000 in attorney fees, lost rent and other costs associated with the couple leaving the house. Adams and Piper originally sued Chen in Texas state court but the lawsuit was moved to federal court in November of 2018.
The Chronicle notes that under federal housing laws, landlords are required to provide reasonable accommodations to tenants with service & assistant animals, including emotional support dogs. Guidelines from the United States Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) say tenants must make requests to their landlords for such accommodations. However, assistance and service animals are not considered pets under federal law.