1 in 5 Americans has a Disability, Dogs Throughout No-Pet Buildings Likely the New Norm?

12 Replies

Seizure–alert Dogs, Hypoglycemia-alert Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Emotional Support Dogs.. what will they come up with next?

sure, dogs, dogs, must LOVE dogs! i do too, and would likely evenmoreso if/when i were to go blind or something. but, dogs of any type, will still be dogs. dogs that can and do bark, bite, and last but not least, damage. and in my experience already so far i've seen lots of huge german sheperds and the like, confined to tiny inner city apartments in high rise buildings and the nearby parks littered with bits and bits of what each 'curb' day in and day out missed, which ads up to alot of stinky poop! - how sad, doublefold =(

so anyway, what is the latest intepretation of fair housing law as it relates to 'Alert' dogs? 

so far i haven't found any concise legal info specific to the state of CA nor at the federal level, either, but this:


"The Fair Housing Act requires owners of housing facilities to make reasonable exceptions in their policies and operations to afford people with disabilities equal housing opportunities. For example, a landlord with a "no pets" policy may be required to grant an exception to this rule and allow an individual who is blind to keep a guide dog in the residence."

  and this:


"There is also an increasing acknowledgment that, even where the standard for admission of an animal is its qualification as a service animal, such animals may not always have to be trained, at least beyond a basic obedience level. There is, for instance, increasing evidence that seizure–alert dogs are often not trained to react to oncoming seizures. This may also be true of hypoglycemia–alert dogs (a new category), or severe migraine–alert dogs (a skill documented several times). Many states specify that service animals must be trained, yet states such as Illinois and New Jersey also include seizure–alerting as a type of service that qualifies a dog as a service animal. Both federal and state legislatures and the courts must recognize that the number of tasks that dogs can perform is increasing, and the level and type of training needed to make dogs useful to disabled individuals vary considerably depending on the service provided. The boundary between pets and service animals is no longer as simple as it seemed when service dogs could be categorized as those that helped the blind, deaf, or mobility impaired."

so, considering that even if the tenant is neither blind nor deaf nor mobility impaired, there may now be a plethora of other instances in which suddenly turning away 'pets' can easily develop into a lawsuit for 'discrimination' and suddenly the pet is a 'therapy aide' or whatever, so what sort of documentation would be adequate enough to distinguish a bona-fide service/alert/therapy dog, from a dog that grandma simply wants have around as a.. companion that comforts her and makes her feel better just having around (which is what a pet is, aint it?)

well for what its worth, the bar assoc article does go onto clarify:

"There must, therefore, be “an identifiable relationship, or nexus, between the requested accommodation and the person’s disability.” Further:

The Department’s position has been that animals necessary as a reasonable accommodation do not necessarily need to have specialized training. Some animals perform tasks that require training, and others provide assistance that does not require training.

Thus, the animal does not need to be a trained service animal, or even be a service animal, as long as the tenant needs the accommodation:

[P]ersons who are seeking a reasonable accommodation for an emotional support animal may be required to provide documentation from a physician, psychiatrist, social worker, or other mental health professional that the animal provides support that alleviates at least one of the identified symptoms or effects of the existing disability.

This does not mean that any animal providing some benefit to a tenant must always be accepted. The mental health professional must connect the tenant’s possession of the animal with an alleviation of at least one symptom of the disability. This requires more than a mere statement that a dog or cat makes a tenant feel good. Alleviating depression (if depression is a symptom of the mental condition, or the condition itself) is a function of an emotional support animal and should satisfy the requirement.

An animal with a history of dangerous behavior need not be accepted:

[A] housing provider is not required to make a reasonable accommodation if the presence of the assistance animal would (1) result in substantial physical damage to the property of others unless the threat can be eliminated or significantly reduced by a reasonable accommodation; (2) pose an undue financial and administrative burden; or (3) fundamentally alter the nature of the provider’s operations.

so they do point out that an animal with a dangerous history need not be accepted, but what good would that do as most of that 'history' would be after-the-fact (after the damage). afterall, that's what no-pet laws are in place for in the first place, to prevent physical damage, to prevent dog fights and dogs attacking and killing infants and the like. and there were already exceptions for disabled people such visually impaired, but now there are exceptions for any tenant that any physician, psychiatrist, social worker, OR other mental health professional says needs 'accomodation' for 'emotional support' in coping with disability 'symptoms'. 

wouldnt be suprised if medical 'pets' are the new medical 'mari-j' at this rate! 


About 1 IN 5 AMERICANS HAS A DISABILITY? sign of the times, eh?

ps- im an avid pet lover but do not condone captive household housing of any non-domesticated species nor any activity -including now medical/wellness exploitation - that keeps the dog/cat euthanasia levels as high as they still are despite all the free spay/neuter programs going on for decades nationwide - sighhh- lest Bob Barker not roll over in his grave; i mean rest his soul in peace!

I don't fight the pet thing. We normally remove carpets & charge an extra fee or deposit.

Consider a new amenity for your rentals.......a backyard kennel, doggie playground, big bone door mats, doggies doors and walk in tubs with leash attachments! :)

Originally posted by @Bill G.:

Consider a new amenity for your rentals.......a backyard kennel, doggie playground, big bone door mats, doggies doors and walk in tubs with leash attachments! :)

Do not forget invisible Fences. I used to make good money selling those.

Tried the invisible fence thing, my two dogs ran right through it, a Pit-Sharpe mix and a white German Shepherd. Those two could car less about getting zapped. The Dobermans before them paid attention, all are gone now. ^^^^ :(

I allowed small dogs in units, larger at SFDs with fenced yards, never had an issue, most damage caused by a pet was a young cat tearing up carpet under the door from being locked in a bedroom, they replaced the carpet......oh well. :) 


@James Wise  you have that last name for a reason!! Opens up your units to a bigger market too. 

@Bill G. 

You tried it to early Bill. The older version had a signal field that started zapping the dog several ft before the wire & ended several feet after the wire. A tough dog was able to realize it would hurt like hell but only for a couple seconds. The newer version starts zapping them once they cross the wire and never ends. NO DOG was able to beat that fence.

if you have 4 or fewer units you are exempt but I agree with you everyone has a companion dog , just like a script for pot- especially california 

Service dogs are not pets. You cannot deny an applicant simply because they have a service dog. I have a FHP trooper in one of my units. He has a sweet 80lb German Shephard puppydog. Like it or not, it is NOT a pet and I had no legal right to deny the rental due to his dog. However, if the dog destroys the property, you can, when the lease ends, deny the right to renewal due to damage of the property or, in the alternative, raise the rent to compensate for extreme wear and tear.

Originally posted by @Steven Picker :

if you have 4 or fewer units you are exempt but I agree with you everyone has a companion dog , just like a script for pot- especially california 

 now that, that i didnt know or notice in the resources at hand!!!

 thanks Steven, VOTED!

I personally have just allowed animals and enjoy that added market breath they allow ;) I am able to charge more in rent (because so few properties allow them) AND than can charge a pet fee depending on the states rules! So win/win for me! Plus if there is damage I can still go after the tenants.

James, that's right, it didn't takes them but seconds to be out of range. the pit was 65 pounds, the shepherd 140+ huge (long, not fat). It sounded a warning to them before going off, they would head off in a dead run when they got close and ran through the mine field, the Dobermans would not approach it. All were trained, the Dobermans were better trained .

Our tenants usually had small dogs, I didn't charge more in rents, $100 deposit. I don't think I charged a deposit for that cat, but they paid for the damage.

Funny, I'm very pet friendly until I have a nearby neighbor that has beagle that chases critters howling at 2:00 AM ! :)  

Originally posted by @John Thedford :

 He has a sweet 80lb German Shephard puppydog. Like it or not, it is NOT a pet and I had no legal right to deny the rental due to his dog.

Actually, you can. My homeowners policy lists German Shepherd as a "dangerous breed" and will not insure the property if that breed is there. You absolutely can deny it for that reason, and I have done so in the past. 

I have also denied multiple "terrier mixes" (aka pitbulls) and used the insurance company as the reason. There is a difference between denying a dog and denying a breed. 

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