I have an emotional support German Shepherd who my landlord wants to evict. There are 2 Pit bulls, 5 Chihuahuas and 3 other dogs in this building. Is it legal for only my dog to get evicted?
Emotional support animals are not pets. There are laws, such as the federal Fair Housing Act, that grant people with disabilities the right to keep assistance animals. The Fair Housing Act affects most housing. Individuals with a disability and a need for service or emotional support animals should consider getting a letter from their health care provider that makes it very clear that there is a connection between their disability and the need for the animal and that the animal is medically necessary.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a notice on this issue. It can be found at: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=servanimals_ntcfheo2013-01.pdf.
There are very limited exceptions under the law, such as if the specific animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of other people and such threat cannot be otherwise eliminated or lessened by another reasonable accommodation or the specific assistance animal would cause substantial physical damage to the property of others. This assessment must be based on the individual animal’s actual conduct, not speculation or fear and also not on evidence about damage that other animals have done.
Individuals who believe they have been denied a reasonable accommodation should consult with an attorney in their area and/or file a complaint with HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777, https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/fair_housing_equal_opp/online-complaint. Good luck!
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