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Can I keep my dog in my townhouse if I have a doctor's note?

Q:

I have a doctor's note form my doctor stating that I need my dog due to the fact that I'm paralyzed in one arm from a motorcycle accident. I'm buying a new townhouse in Indiana that has a weight limit and a breed restriction. Can I keep my dog?

A:

Housing providers must make reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities. Just this April, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a Notice regarding service and assistance animals for people with disabilities in housing. In that notice, HUD reiterated that “breed, size and weight limitations may not be applied to an assistance animal.” According to HUD, if the person seeking to keep the animal has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities and the animal works, provides assistance, or performs services for such person, OR provides emotional support that “alleviates one or more of the identified symptoms or effects of a person’s existing disability,” then the housing provider must make an exception to a “no-pets” rule or policy. There are limited exceptions to this rule for animals who pose a direct threat of harm to people or property but according to HUD, that assessment must be based on evidence about the specific animal’s actual conduct and may not be based on “mere speculation or fear.”


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott

 

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