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I need some help from those of you that have service dogs. I am about to start Graduate school and I am looking at rental properties that are closer to the college, than the home I own. I have been very frustrated by all the ignorant people that apply breed restrictions to "aggressive" breeds. At first I just passed these places up because I was extremely offended by this statement, but I am starting to learn that they all seem to have this view.

Here is my problem. My previous service dog died, last year. I am training a new puppy and she already is performing several behaviors that help me out but she isn't finished yet. (still to young to teach some behaviors or to expect her to be "on the ball" 100% of the time. Plus we have just entered the dober-teens- oh joy!)

Since she is a Doberman, these landlords are giving me a harder time then I assume they would with another breed. They have asked me to provide proof that she is a service dog. I am not sure how to do this. What are my rights here? where does the burden of proof lie? and what constitutes reasonable proof?

Its not like I am trying to game the system. Because of these issues, I will have to leave my husband and other Doberman in our home 3 hours away. The fact that I will be living alone, means I need the help of a dog, even more. Does anyone have any suggestions for how to deal with this?
 

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I need some help from those of you that have service dogs. I am about to start Graduate school and I am looking at rental properties that are closer to the college, than the home I own. I have been very frustrated by all the ignorant people that apply breed restrictions to "aggressive" breeds. At first I just passed these places up because I was extremely offended by this statement, but I am starting to learn that they all seem to have this view.

Here is my problem. My previous service dog died, last year. I am training a new puppy and she already is performing several behaviors that help me out but she isn't finished yet. (still to young to teach some behaviors or to expect her to be "on the ball" 100% of the time. Plus we have just entered the dober-teens- oh joy!)

Since she is a Doberman, these landlords are giving me a harder time then I assume they would with another breed. They have asked me to provide proof that she is a service dog. I am not sure how to do this. What are my rights here? where does the burden of proof lie? and what constitutes reasonable proof?

Its not like I am trying to game the system. Because of these issues, I will have to leave my husband and other Doberman in our home 3 hours away. The fact that I will be living alone, means I need the help of a dog, even more. Does anyone have any suggestions for how to deal with this?
I would point them to the ADA for a response.
Here is a link to a PDF produced by the ADA

http://www.ada.gov/svcabrpt.pdf

They cannot require any type of ID or certification but they can ask you what behaviors your dog has been trained to do.

Since she is a young dog and cannot do all of the behaviors she eventually will - you need to be able to clearly define what she currently does. You may also explain what behaviors you expect her to perform when she is mature.

I would provide the above listed PDF to the landlords and a description of her behaviors when you inquire about housing.

Sue
 

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Get a TDI? It's not a servic dog certification, per say, but it is a therapy dog qualification. How old is the dog? They have to be 1.
 

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Here in Louisiana there is no way to certify. I just met the support group WAGS here. It is a group support system for people with service dogs. Do you maybe have a group there that could help you out? You could also state she is still in training. There was a golden in one of my first training classes and they put a "in training service dog" vest on him to start getting him out into more places.
 

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Here is the law as it pertains to service dogs and service dogs in training in Colorado:
Colorado Law Pertaining to Service Animals

There is a bit of ambiguity with regard to housing; it mostly sounds like persons with SD's and with SDiT's are granted equal rights of access and this is specified everyplace EXCEPT specifically with regard to housing. Elsewhere in the statute, it says that they are defining SD's and SDiT's the same... so, I dunno. I would get in touch with these folks and ask them if they can clarify the intent of the law, and perhaps help you out with this.
 

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Here is the law as it pertains to service dogs and service dogs in training in Colorado:
Colorado Law Pertaining to Service Animals

There is a bit of ambiguity with regard to housing; it mostly sounds like persons with SD's and with SDiT's are granted equal rights of access and this is specified everyplace EXCEPT specifically with regard to housing. Elsewhere in the statute, it says that they are defining SD's and SDiT's the same... so, I dunno. I would get in touch with these folks and ask them if they can clarify the intent of the law, and perhaps help you out with this.
Look at 1c.
I think it says that they are granted equal rights.
The exception that I see in 7D seems to be a single family home, that rents only one room - such as takes in a border is not required to provide Service dog exceptions.

Another thing to keep in mind is that a State cannot make a law that infringes on the rights guaranteed under the ADA. Generally speaking, when the law is in conflict, the one that gives the most rights for the disabled person is the one that is in effect
 

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Not to get all personal, but if you want to share... Why do you require a service dog? If it's an ADA issue, I would think you could plow right over the resistance. Dobe or not, if you require a service dog and meet ADA criteria, I would scream bloody murder about fair housing laws and watch what happens.
 

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Get a TDI? It's not a servic dog certification, per say, but it is a therapy dog qualification. How old is the dog? They have to be 1.
I thought of that but she is only 6 months old and certainly not disciplined enough, yet, for me to feel she could pass the test ( well maybe on a good day)

There is a bit of ambiguity with regard to housing; it mostly sounds like persons with SD's and with SDiT's are granted equal rights of access and this is specified everyplace EXCEPT specifically with regard to housing.
This was part of my confusion, its just not terribly clear in the housing department.

Not to get all personal, but if you want to share... Why do you require a service dog? If it's an ADA issue, I would think you could plow right over the resistance. Dobe or not, if you require a service dog and meet ADA criteria, I would scream bloody murder about fair housing laws and watch what happens.
I dont mind. I have an unknown, disorder, that acts like Parkinsons and/or MS from time to time ( It comes and goes). Unfortunately (or fortunately) all my tests come back normal. I also suffer from Narcolepsy and severe migraines that cause blindness. In addition I have chronic pain on a daily basis. So, it is a little tricky since I don't look disabled, in the sense that I have special equipment.

I have no issue throwing fair housing around, I just want to make sure I am holding up my end of the bargain and doing what is required of me. Since I own my own home, I have never even thought of this issue, but I cant let Vet school pass me by because of some stupid landlord.

Thanks for everyone's help!
 

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Holier Than Now
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I need some help from those of you that have service dogs. I am about to start Graduate school and I am looking at rental properties that are closer to the college, than the home I own. I have been very frustrated by all the ignorant people that apply breed restrictions to "aggressive" breeds. At first I just passed these places up because I was extremely offended by this statement, but I am starting to learn that they all seem to have this view.

Here is my problem. My previous service dog died, last year. I am training a new puppy and she already is performing several behaviors that help me out but she isn't finished yet. (still to young to teach some behaviors or to expect her to be "on the ball" 100% of the time. Plus we have just entered the dober-teens- oh joy!)

Since she is a Doberman, these landlords are giving me a harder time then I assume they would with another breed. They have asked me to provide proof that she is a service dog. I am not sure how to do this. What are my rights here? where does the burden of proof lie? and what constitutes reasonable proof?

Its not like I am trying to game the system. Because of these issues, I will have to leave my husband and other Doberman in our home 3 hours away. The fact that I will be living alone, means I need the help of a dog, even more. Does anyone have any suggestions for how to deal with this?
Unfortunately, there aren't any housing access laws I'm aware of that protect a service dog in training.

You can contact IAADP and use their site to look up your own state laws.

Edit, sorry, what I get for skipping ahead and skimming.

Sue is right--any Federal law trumps state law.

When I've contacted various organizations in the past, I've always been advised that while in training, you do not have access with your dog, as far as housing is concerned. You may try contacting a human rights lawyer for some expert advice.
 

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Most states have a Fair Housing website. I'd start there. Or google landlord/tenat laws in your state maybe?

As far as the breed restriction, it has to do with insurance. Many insurance companies ban "aggressive" breeds. Therefore, if the landlord rents to you, they would not be covered with your "aggressive" dog. Please note - I'm NOT agreeing just sharing :)
 

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Are you going to CSU vet school? If so, I know a few places around here that don't have BSL. Also, it might help posting on craigslist to see if any vet students have any BSL free recommendations as a last resort.
 

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Get a TDI? It's not a servic dog certification, per say, but it is a therapy dog qualification. How old is the dog? They have to be 1.
I meant to address this before: Therapy dogs have no special access rights under the law.

They may visit where they have permission, but this would not apply to the OP's situation at all.

OP, if your young dog can't even pass the TDI, then I hesitate to think you can say the dog is a service animal. Sorry, don't mean to sound harsh, but this is a slippery slope.

You may train her in public while she's this young and green, but I don't think you can force a landlord to accept her into housing--again, I'd consult an attorney to clarify.

Most states have a Fair Housing website. I'd start there. Or google landlord/tenat laws in your state maybe?

As far as the breed restriction, it has to do with insurance. Many insurance companies ban "aggressive" breeds. Therefore, if the landlord rents to you, they would not be covered with your "aggressive" dog. Please note - I'm NOT agreeing just sharing :)

I'm waiting for the test case, where a handler with a service animal of a "banned breed" is denied access.

Will be interesting to see how that all shakes out.
 

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OP, if your young dog can't even pass the TDI, then I hesitate to think you can say the dog is a service animal. Sorry, don't mean to sound harsh, but this is a slippery slope.

You may train her in public while she's this young and green, but I don't think you can force a landlord to accept her into housing--again, I'd consult an attorney to clarify.

I'm waiting for the test case, where a handler with a service animal of a "banned breed" is denied access.

Will be interesting to see how that all shakes out.
I'm really curious about that last part too.

I'm not so sure about the first part ... there's a lot of case law on this, and I'm not intimately familiar with it all, but there have been some pretty crazy cases where various animals were considered service animals for purposes of the ADA, and allowed access as such. Off the top of my head, I remember a case involving I THINK a Rottweiler that helped his owner with I THINK some sort of fear of people in public situations (sorry, I took animal law in 2003 and I don't remember the details anymore) and the dog wasn't so much trained, it just naturally would walk with her and kind of gently bump people out of the way so that she always had some of her own space. I believe that dog was found to meet the definition of service animal and so protected. I apologize to anyone who reads this and remembers the details correctly if I totally butchered it. I also think about the seizure detection dogs - a lot of those do their job without really being trained for it (check out this article - and that's a banned breed too).

Anyway, interesting issues for sure.
 

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Sorry RFR, I thought I had clarified that it WASNT a service dog thing, but s therapy dog certification. I just figured it was a place to start. My bad.
 

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I'm really curious about that last part too.

I'm not so sure about the first part ... there's a lot of case law on this, and I'm not intimately familiar with it all, but there have been some pretty crazy cases where various animals were considered service animals for purposes of the ADA, and allowed access as such. Off the top of my head, I remember a case involving I THINK a Rottweiler that helped his owner with I THINK some sort of fear of people in public situations (sorry, I took animal law in 2003 and I don't remember the details anymore) and the dog wasn't so much trained, it just naturally would walk with her and kind of gently bump people out of the way so that she always had some of her own space. I believe that dog was found to meet the definition of service animal and so protected. I apologize to anyone who reads this and remembers the details correctly if I totally butchered it. I also think about the seizure detection dogs - a lot of those do their job without really being trained for it (check out this article - and that's a banned breed too).

Anyway, interesting issues for sure.
You're correct--there is a lot of case law, and it's growing.

However, I don't consider some of the uses of a service animal you mentioned as "crazy." :)

I worked with a teen girl who was so agoraphobic and had such generalized anxiety with panic attacks that she was every bit, if not more so, as debilitated as a quadriplegic, in the sense of not being able to go out and navigate the world.

The difference is, the person with the "visible" disability gets validation--she mostly did not.

Once we had her dog trained as an Emotional Support Animal, she was able, gradually, to progress with therapy and come to some semblance of function again.

And no, you didn't really "butcher" things, just wanted to expand a bit on the function of service animals.

IAADP and Delta Society both are good resources for anyone wanting law summaries and just general information on some of the things being discussed here.

Sorry RFR, I thought I had clarified that it WASNT a service dog thing, but s therapy dog certification. I just figured it was a place to start. My bad.
No apology needed, I just still don't see the relevance--they are two entirely different jobs for a dog, that I think the public often confuses.

To make it really simple--a therapy dog is trained to provide therapeutic visits to other humans in need; a service dog is considered a medical necessity to mitigate the disability of one human, who is the partner and handler of that dog (with a few exceptions where the handler may need other human assistance to care for and handle the animal.)

In general, the minimum behavior standard for a service animal working in public would far exceed the training of a therapy dog, and as said before, the two jobs aren't really related--and the ADA access laws do not apply to therapy dogs.
 

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:) fair enough. We actually did the TDI test with our girl a few years ago (they dd it with her CGC) but never did the visits. I just thought it it would be applicable in the sense that it shows the dog is training in medical settings, and has a paper to prove that. A not well thought out suggestion, my bad!
 

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OP- I would consult with a realtor, one who deals with rental properties. They typically have more insight to housing that allows various breeds.
 

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You're correct--there is a lot of case law, and it's growing.

However, I don't consider some of the uses of a service animal you mentioned as "crazy." :)

I worked with a teen girl who was so agoraphobic and had such generalized anxiety with panic attacks that she was every bit, if not more so, as debilitated as a quadriplegic, in the sense of not being able to go out and navigate the world.

The difference is, the person with the "visible" disability gets validation--she mostly did not.

Once we had her dog trained as an Emotional Support Animal, she was able, gradually, to progress with therapy and come to some semblance of function again.

And no, you didn't really "butcher" things, just wanted to expand a bit on the function of service animals.
I was not actually referring to those scenarios as the "crazy" ones - I was thinking about some cases (but I simply cannot remember the details! I'm a commercial litigator in real life and I just do not deal with ADA issues much) where people were claiming snakes as service animals, etc. There has got to be a line somewhere, and I really do think the service-snake is crossing it.

ETA - No wonder the snake example came to mind, there was a high publicity snake in Washington recently.

I was referring to the example of the dog I mentioned, and the seizure dogs as well, as examples of qualified service animals that do/did not require much "training" to do their jobs. If I recall correctly, that one case I mentioned - a big issue in that for the court was the fact that the dog hadn't had much training; what is the difference between that and a therapy dog? Which, as you know, is not protected. Where is the line going to be?

ETA x2: Looks like the DOJ took care of that this year - Effective March 2011:

Service Animals. The rule defines "service animal" as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. The rule states that other animals, whether wild or domestic, do not qualify as service animals. Dogs that are not trained to perform tasks that mitigate the effects of a disability, including dogs that are used purely for emotional support, are not service animals. The final rule also clarifies that individuals with mental disabilities who use service animals that are trained to perform a specific task are protected by the ADA. The rule permits the use of trained miniature horses as alternatives to dogs, subject to certain limitations. To allow flexibility in situations where using a horse would not be appropriate, the final rule does not include miniature horses in the definition of "service animal."
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Most states have a Fair Housing website. I'd start there. Or google landlord/tenat laws in your state maybe?
I have spent hours trying this and all I have found is the same, ambiguous law, repeated over and over again. Its frustrating to say the least.

Are you going to CSU vet school? If so, I know a few places around here that don't have BSL. Also, it might help posting on craigslist to see if any vet students have any BSL free recommendations as a last resort.
10-21-2011 10:17 AM
I am! I was supposed to start in August, but couldn't find a place and get everything together (very late acceptance). So, I am moving up there between now and January (I hope) and going to work on a masters until next August when the vet program starts, again. I have been posting on craigslist, since August with no real response (well, accept for scamers - there are A LOT of those) I would love to hear about any places you know of!

OP, if your young dog can't even pass the TDI, then I hesitate to think you can say the dog is a service animal. Sorry, don't mean to sound harsh, but this is a slippery slope.
First, as I said, she is 6 months old and I dont think you could expect any puppy to be 100%, all the time. They are silly and goofy and sometimes do things that they probably shouldn't. We gave her a mock CGC test and the only issue we had was she jumped up on the evaluator when they approached us. Given, this is certainly not OK, especially for a service dog, but its is something that can happen with a puppy.
Second, ADA's definition of a service dog does not say the dog needs to pass any tests or behave in any particular way, it simply states "Service animal means any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability." By this definition, she would qualify. She performs tasks, around my home, that are incredibly helpful but that I dont necessarily need when out in public (because there are people around if I need help). The definition just isnt very clear. Behaviors she already does: Retrieves of anything I need, find my phone when I need help, helps me get out of clothing, wakes me from sleep disturbances so that I dont injure myself ( I have violent night terrors that have resulted in serious injury. I have taught her to lick and bump me whenever I get out of bed), opening and closing things, and laying on my legs to provide warmth and pressure when they hurt. Even though she isnt mature enough to do several things to help with mobility and always behave like a lady in public, she does still provide me with assistance. So where would the line be drawn between a service dog and a service dog in training? I will admit, I have plans to teach her many more behaviors, but I cant imagine that ever changing.

OP- I would consult with a realtor, one who deals with rental properties.
I have contacted two different realtors who own property management companies and neither seemed to have a clue. One was really nice and pretty much said, if you say its your service dog we will accommodate any needs you have. While the other was aching for a fair housing violation and would not recognize that there was a difference between pet and service animal.


This is all extremely frustrating and confusing. If only I loved Golden retrievers I wouldn't be in this mess. lol:busted_red:
 

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Lol on the snake thing. My wife is an atty also, and recently consulted on a case form our states Wildlife & Fisheries office. A woman was panhandling with a monkey dressed as a pirate, and when the permitting of said monkey came into question she claimed it was her service money. Didn't quite pass muster. Poor pirate primate.
 
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