People domesticated animals thousands of years ago. So, since that time animals have become real partners and friends of ours. People have been using animals in different spheres of life like farming or hunting. Nowadays dogs are playing a much bigger role in our life. They can be tamed to complete various household tasks for the benefit of individuals, making their life easier.
An assistance animal, especially service dogs, can replace nurses for patients who require constant care. That’s why assistance animals’ rights are protected by the law and their owners can submit a reasonable accommodation request to their housing providers.
Almost any pet can be in the role of an assistance animal, or as it’s commonly called a service animal. Nevertheless, a dog is used as a service animal more often than other species. It is caused by many different reasons, but the main one is an easier training process, depending on the breed. Dogs can perform lots of tasks and do different work.
There are several types of assistance animals. Most often a service dog is assigned to people with disabilities to take care of them. A service animal can help disabled people to cope with everyday tasks. They can be a guide for the blind or an alert for deaf people. Their activities are also aimed at working with people who have diverse physical, psychical, intellectual, and mental disabilities.
On the pages of the Americans with disabilities act (ADA), you may find a law ratifying these animals as an integral part of the life of a person with a disability. Assistance animal provides the necessary level of safety and comfort for a person, meeting any of his or her disability-related need. That is why federal laws force landlords to make reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities and their service animals.
Moreover, a service dog isn’t even considered to be a pet. They are nurses that have to attend their handlers wherever even in the places where pets are forbidden. For example, service animals have access to places of public catering or a plane board during air travel. So, the housing provider cannot refuse a person’s requests, referring to the ban of pets.
Fair Housing act for assistance animals
To avoid discrimination in housing, based on a person’s disability and features of personal therapy, The Fair Housing Act (FHA) іs in effect. The law regulates the procedure of providing accommodation for owners of assistance animals. The housing provider’s obligations include giving permission for service animals’ habitation and implementation of reasonable accommodation and all necessary resources in their property.
FHA guarantees for people equal opportunity to use any housing services in the U.S. Department of housing, regardless of their physical or mental disability. This documentation also promotes housing and urban development.
ADA has established that if a person wants to ensure for the animal a legal living in the accommodation, he or she has to provide a letter from a doctor to the landlord. This documentation from a therapist confirms a person’s disability and the animal’s status of necessary therapy for alleviating symptoms of diseases. This letter and reasonable accommodation request to the landlord are grounds for obtaining a dwelling. If a landlord denies this request, a person may apply for help from the federal government agency. In most cases, the government considers such actions of housing providers to be violations of an individual’s rights and discrimination.
Besides, because assistance animals are not just pets, but, in fact, nurses for their patients, their owners are free from paying pet fees. However, the landlord has individual rights that protect the property. For example, he or she may ask for a deposit, which, if necessary, compensates for any damage that can be caused by an animal. In some cases, if the animal has caused big damage to the housing providers’ property, the landlord has the right to try to evict the animal in a legal way.
Emotional Support Animal (ESA)
Mental support plays an important role in the treatment and a person’s adaptation to new living conditions. That’s the reason why ESAs are often prescribed by a physician to alleviate the adaptation period for the patients. People who have a pet for emotional support that alleviates loneliness, anxiety, and depression much easier and faster. These pets are great friends and companions, ready to provide help and support at any time.
Experts in ADA don’t consider ESAs to be service ones, so this type of animal has fewer rights. However, doctors say that emotional support animal promotes speedy recovery and is prescribed as a therapy for many patients. So, technically if a person has a letter from a therapist that states the need for an animal to stay nearby the owner for medical purposes and submits a request to a landlord. Still, this is a controversial situation, therefore it’s better to familiarize oneself with the Fair Housing act and federal laws more thoroughly.