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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Lawyer
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I own a trailer park in Wyoming currently we do not allow

Customer Question

Hi- I own a trailer park in Wyoming currently we do not allow pit bulls and other large dogs (over 14" at the shoulder) in the park. It is a safety issue-- We now have people people saying that heir pit bull (or St. Bernard or Doberman or Rotweiller) is a service dog. They are threatening to sue if we dont let them in the park. I do not know what Wyoming law is on this. I do not want to discrimminate but I feel we have to protect other residents as well. The last service dog request was for a 150 lb. Barbol. Please let me know what to do.
Thank you
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 5 months ago.


I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today.

The Fair Housing Act unfortunately prohibits landlord from discriminating against tenants with disabilities and requires reasonable accommodations. It is considered a reasonable accommodation to allow a person to have a service animal. You're allowed to request documentation from a doctor showing that the person really needs a service animal, however, the Fair Housing Act does not place any limitations on what a service animal may be - it doesn't have to be a dog, or a specific breed of dog. If someone is claiming the need for an emotional support animal, it can be any pet at all.

The best thing you can do is write to your legislators, because it's shameful the way people use this loophole to get around pet restrictions so they can live wherever they want. You can ask that the FHA be amended so service animals are subject to the same requirements as under the Americans with Disabilities Act - namely, that they be trained to provide a specific function to the person claiming a disability. But until the law is changed, if someone can produce documentation from a doctor that they need a pit bull or other large dog, you have to allow it. I wish I could tell you otherwise.

It's important that you are 100% satisfied with my courtesy and professionalism. Thank you.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
I don't think the fair housing act applies to mobile home parks- are you sure -- we lease them a piece of ground is all.
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 5 months ago.

Yes, it does.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
What does the state of Wyoming require as proof if any. Certification? Dr letter?
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 5 months ago.

Just a letter from a doctor. There isn't any type of certification for support animals. That's part of the problem - I could claim my cats are emotional support animals, and who could say I was lying?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
What kind of Doctor ? Chiropractor or psychiatrist or any kind?
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Does it have to be a practicing medical physician?
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 5 months ago.

Any licensed doctor in your state. You can ask for a statement of the patient's condition (i.e., what disability do they have) and that they NEED an animal to alleviate one or more symptoms of that condition.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
are you saying chriopractors are included? Or just medical doctors? I need for you to be specific on this
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Are you sure we can call their doctor and ask for a statement on their condition??? Isn't this prohibited by HIPA?
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 5 months ago.

YOU don't call their doctor. THEY have to GO to their doctor and get a note. HIPAA doesn't apply to people asking their doctors to give out medical information in order to provide them with a benefit.

ANY LICENSED DOCTOR can write the note. If a chiropractor has a medical license, they can write the note. If they don't, they can't.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Can you tell what statute in Wyoming law you are quoting so I can refer to it when I am asked
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 5 months ago.

I'm still referring to the Fair Housing Act. That applies to this situation.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Does the medical doctor need to be licensed in Wyoming --if it is an out of state doctor would it not be valid?
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 5 months ago.

You could object to a letter from an out-of-state doctor on the grounds that the letter has to be from someone who is actually treating the person. But it's honestly easy enough to find a doctor nearby who will write a letter that I've never seen someone try to use a letter from a doctor in another state.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Could you then send that portion of the fair housing act that I should quote to them. If it's the fair housing act what good would it do me to write my legislator?
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
It says that " there must be documentation from a therapist/psychologist/ or psychiatrist" is not the family doctor
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
It says the letter must be from a licensed mental health professional- family doctor won't do. Does fair housing act supersede Wyoming law?
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 5 months ago.

Members of the House of Representatives for your district and the Senators from Wyoming can propose changes to federal laws.

Statutes are VERY general. Most of what we've talked about is in the interpretation, not the statute itself. The statutes don't spell out what type of doctor can write a note. They can't, because it takes YEARS to change a law (and a lot of taxpayer money). There isn't a specific section that says who has to provide documentation. The only thing the law says is that you have to make reasonable accommodations. Beyond that, it's all a question of what's reasonable. And that's where doctors notes and things come in.

I have no idea what you're reading that says they can't produce a note from a family doctor.

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 5 months ago.

Federal law always supercedes contrary state law under the Supremacy Clause to the U.S. Constitution. State law can be MORE protective of an individual's rights than federal law, but not less.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
I'm reading the fair housing act regarding emotional support animals. It says licensed mental health professional . Yours says medical doctor?
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Volume 73 of the federal register has a clause for direct threat-- if animal if there is reason to believe the animal will cause harm someone
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 5 months ago.

OK, I think I need to back up for a second. Not EVERYONE who is trying to bring a large animal into your complex is going to be asking for an emotional support animal. That's just ONE OF the ways they can make the request. So, if someone comes to you with a claimed physical disability, they can produce a note from their doctor. If they're asking for an animal for an EMOTIONAL disability, then they'd need a note from their psychiatrist. At some point during the conversation, all disabilities somehow got lumped together under emotional support, but that's not what I intended. It's entirely possible for someone with a real disability to ask for a service animal that is a large dog based on a medical issue.

As far as direct threats go, you have to be able to establish that a specific animal presents a direct threat. It's not enough to say that all dogs of a given breed constitute a direct threat.

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