‘Makes me puke’: Stinky dog in court case win
A MAN and his assistance dog Boofhead have won a court battle against a NSW RSL club that discriminated against the pair during a six-month feud over the bearded border collie's "pungent" smell and appearance.
The Jervis Bay RSL on Friday was ordered to pay more than $16,000 in damages to Peter George Reurich for denying him and Boofhead entry, services and eventually membership between late 2014 and mid-2015.
Mr Reurich, who says he suffers from an adjustment and personality disorder that manifests in anxiety and depression, was told to leave the RSL on multiple occasions because 11-year-old Boofy stank.
"Your dog does not meet the basic health and hygiene standards of the club because he has a pungent smell, his coat is all matted and he is visibly dirty," Mr Reurich was told by an RSL employee according to Justice Brigitte Markovic's written judgment.
On another occasion, Mr Reurich and Boofhead were on an RSL courtesy bus when the driver told him "your dog makes me puke".
"How can you say my dog smells when you smoke cigarettes - you smell of cigarettes," he replied.
The first time Mr Reurich was barred from the club because of Boofhead he claims to have been so distraught he walked into a sliding-glass door - breaking his glasses and hurting his nose.
Justice Markovic found the RSL had unlawfully discriminated against Mr Reurich on eight occasions.
"The old saying goes that a dog is a man's best friend but, as this case demonstrates, sometimes a dog can be more than that," she said in Friday's Federal Court judgment.
"He is a constant companion who, as the evidence demonstrates, Mr Reurich depends on to assist him in coping with everyday life." Mr Reurich outside court said Boofhead kept him calm when people upset him. "(Just) leave people alone. If they've got a dog, let it be. If they're in a wheelchair, let them be - help them, don't hurt them," he told Network Ten while choking back tears.