Homeowners Associations have long had a bad rap, and that was before one tried to take away a disabled girl’s pet kangaroo.

A month ago, Nick and Jeni Dreis bought a five-month “out-of-pouch” kangaroo for their sixteen-year-old Kala, who has Down Syndrome. They named the ‘roo Mike, and it was love at first hop. The family, which lives in the Estates of Legends Ranch, a subdivision in Spring, bought the kangaroo to help their daughter with vocational therapy.

But when the Estates of Legends Ranch Homeowners Association got wind of the marsupial’s presence in the Dreis’ home, it decided to put a stop to all the happy hopping and sent a terse letter to the family on February 20. 

“Please immediately remove the kangaroo from your property as it is not a household pet nor can it be maintained for business purposes,” the letter stated, according to the Houston Chronicle. “You are asked to correct the violation immediately.”

But after local media covered the standoff, the HOA quickly backtracked.

“The letter should never have been sent,” Jeff Crilley, who represents the HOA, told the Houston Chronicle‘s Robert Stanton and Lindsay Wise Thursday afternoon. “They (HOA officials) were unaware that the kangaroo was being used for therapy purposes. We trust that the family is going to be working in good faith to find a more suitable home for the animal.”

But some didn’t like the thought of a kangaroo in their neighbor’s backyard, including Belinda Muras. “I’m sympathetic because my brother-in-law lives with us with special needs, but I’m not going to break the rules to accommodate his needs,” Muras told the Chronicle. “You know when you move into a neighborhood what the rules are and you abide by those rules. It’s fine to have a kangaroo, but just keep it somewhere else.”

The Dreis family plans on keeping Mike in their home for a year before moving him to an 124-acre wildlife park animal park they are building in Conroe.

KPRC Channel 2 News and the Houston Chronicle have heartwarming slideshows of Kala and Mike, and here’s a report from Houston’s ABC affiliate: