Kevin VeseyMar 28, 2016, 6:09 pmMar 28, 2016, 6:13 pm

Ridge woman faces $11K in fines for refusing to give up 1 of 2 cats

Condo resident says board unfairly targeting her because it disapproves of her handicapped ramp

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A Ridge woman who has been living with two cats in her apartment for 8 years says she's now under intense pressure to get rid of one of her pets.

The condo's board there says if she doesn't, she'll have to pay fines totaling more than $11,000.

This is Rocky, and this is Mickey – Elizabeth Colaianni's pet cats. And as you can see, they're very important to her.

“They're everything. They're my life,” Colaianni said. “If I didn't have them, I honestly don't know what I would do. They're my children.”

Colaianni says she adopted the biological brothers back in 2008, right before buying a condo here at the Leisure Village senior citizen community in Ridge.

Everything was fine until she became disabled in 2012 and wanted to install a ramp to her front door.

The 58-year-old resident tells us the condo board tried to keep the ramp from being built, but eventually caved to pressure from the Suffolk County Human Rights Commission.

That's when the two cats suddenly became a problem, Colaianni says.

The board sent her a letter saying she could only have one pet, and tone of the furry felines would subsequently have to go.

“You're asking me to give up one of my children. How can you ask anybody? Yes, they're animals but to me, they're not animals, they're my children. They're my two little boys,” Colaianni said.

She insists the rule is only being enforced as retaliation for the ramp.

She tells us her condo manager knew about both cats from the start and even took care of the animals for her as a favor.

Nevertheless, monthly fines started rolling in. And after 4 years, Colaianni now owes the board more than $11,000 dollars.

She's getting letters in the mail, threatening that a lien will be placed against her home if she doesn't pay up. The board also says it will take away her cable TV, rights to use the community club house, and the key card that lets her past the front gate.

“I don't want anything from anybody. I just want to be left in peace. To go to work, to come home, to enjoy my animals, because that's what I have,” Colaianni said.

We reached out to that condo manager for a comment, as well as the condo board, but so far neither would speak to us.

Colaianni has hired an attorney and has filed a complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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