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Feds Affirm Right To Service Animals


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Federal officials are putting housing providers on notice that they must accommodate people with disabilities who rely on service animals.

In a notice posted Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development clarified the responsibilities of landlords under the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Under the law, housing providers must provide reasonable accommodations to people with disabilities who rely on assistance animals. Further, pet restrictions cannot be used to limit or deny housing to individuals relying on such animals, the notice said.

The Fair Housing Act — which governs nearly all types of housing — requires that trained service dogs as well as other assistance animals that perform tasks, provide emotional support or otherwise alleviate the impact of a person’s disability be accommodated.

Meanwhile, the ADA — which applies in addition to the housing act for certain types of residences such as public housing — has a more restrictive view of assistance animals, largely limited to trained service dogs, the notice said.

In cases where both laws apply, federal officials indicated that housing providers should first consider their obligations under the ADA.

“Disability-related complaints, including those that involve assistance animals, are the most common discrimination complaint we receive,” said John Trasviña, assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity at HUD. “This notice will help housing providers better understand and meet their obligation to grant reasonable accommodations to people with disabilities that require assistance animals to fully use and enjoy their housing.”

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Comments (3 Responses)

  1. AlWBrown says:

    I have to agree that service animals is a huge must and should be required 100% to be followed. As a person who will possibly in the future require a service animal my ownself the animals are there to help guide you and to help keep you safe(in all ways).

    It disgusts me that any housing authority would even try to deny such an item.

  2. David Leonard says:

    My HUD/ADA complaint is still pending despite obstruction from powerful and influencial forces that hope that people with disabilities would just dry up and blow away…Don’t let them dismiss you! Someone will eventually hear your calls for justice!

  3. Campbell Evans says:

    I live in senior housing and am making a copy of this article to take to my housing manager. Pets are allowed here, yet there is a pretty hefty deposit involved. That should change.

    I fully support the use of trained service animals for those who have a need that is substantiated by a medical professional. I do object to the ability of anyone to take their pet into a place where food is sold or served, simply because they claim theirs is a “service animal.”

    I was shopping in a market where there was an older man with a large dog that was pulling at his lead to smell food displays. I questioned the man who said his was a service dog. I walked away shaking my head fearing that undisciplined animal was also likely to lift it’s leg on a box of cereal on a low lying shelf.

    How can the public be protected from people claiming their pets as service animals. What could stop a reptile or bird being taken into a restaurant or market simply on the owner’s claim that was his service animal. Is there a legal definition of a service animal?

    I have a grandchild in a chair and we are considering a service animal for her. I know people who have service animals and how important they are in their daily lives. This is an important issue, yet “pets” do not belong.

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