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James D. Ford
James D. Ford, Solicitor
Category: Australia Law
Satisfied Customers: 1601
Experience:  Consulting Principal at Nexus Law Group
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I would like help with, a body corp question. I am the

Customer Question

Hi, I would like help with, a body corp question. I am the owner of a unit, I suffer with PTSD. My doctor suggested I get a dog, and it has been unbelievably helpful. My doctor submitted a letter to the body corp to say I needed a medical assistance dog to manage my condition. He had 2 phone calls from the manager of our body corp, trying to get more info. In the end he just told the manager that the dog was defiantly needed and that was the end of the story. My doctor then informed me that all was right to go in his opinion. I have now been informed the committee has called a special meeting. I must supply evidence of compliance for an assistance dog. I spoke Body Corp Queensland and they told me the dog is a therapy dog, not an assistance dog.They said that these two categories of dogs quite often get mixed up with the Medical profession. My questions is what evidence do I have to supply for a therapy dog.The other thing I am worried about is they are saying if they approve the dog I will need to carry it from the car up to my unit and back down again to the car. I cant possible manage to do that as It is 3 flights of stairs. I visit my Holiday unit about four weeks a year. The other aspect i would like to mention that our committee at this particular time consists of the chairman who is a bully and no one can work with her on a committee and the body corp Manager. I do hope you can help me as this is causing me so much stress.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Australia Law
Expert:  James D. Ford replied 2 years ago.
Hi, the legislation that permits a guide dog, hearing or assistance dog to be approved regardless of what the Body Corporate vote is as follows: BODY CORPORATE AND COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT ACT 1997 - SECT 181181 Guide, hearing and assistance dogs(1) A person with a disability under the Guide, Hearing and Assistance Dogs Act 2009 who relies on a guide, hearing or assistance dog and who has the right to be on a lot included in a community titles scheme, or on the common property, has the right to be accompanied by a guide, hearing or assistance dog while on the lot or common property.(2) A person mentioned in subsection (1) who is the owner or occupier of a lot included in a community titles scheme has the right to keep a guide, hearing or assistance dog on the lot.(3) A by-law can not exclude or restrict a right given by this section. The question is whether your dog is an "assistance" dog or a therapy dog... the assumption is that a therapy dog does not automatically obtain legislative approval... and would require the permission of the Body Corporate. Please let me investigate a little further, and I will post my additional thoughts regarding your situation. Kind regards, James
Expert:  James D. Ford replied 2 years ago.
Within the Act, "assistance dog" means a dog trained to perform identifiable physical tasks and behaviours to assist a person with a disability to reduce the person's need for support. Has your dog has such training? if not, it will most likely be a "therapy dog", as advised by BC Qld. What do your by-laws state with respect to the keeping of animals ? I await your further information, kind regards, James
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
A Subject to section 143 of the act, an occupier must not, except with the consent in writing of the Body Corporate Committee. 1 bring or keep an animal or bird on the lot or the common property, or permit an invitee to bring or keep an animal or bird on the lot or common property B Any consent of the body corporate may be given on conditions and withdrawn at any time. James my I add that I have taken my dog to the unit for 4 days at the beginning of this month. I was told my Doctor it was OK and I had sent a courtesy letter into the body Corp on the 7th of April and had no feed back from the committee at that stage.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
No James our dog has no such training other that what we have done ourselves. We have a motel and the training has had to be very consistent as he is mixing with clients everyday.
Expert:  James D. Ford replied 2 years ago.
I cannot make any sense of why the by-law would be subject to s143 (are you sure that is the right section number?)... My suggestion is that you will struggle to prove your dog is an assistance dog... so you need to apply to the BC for approval or permission in writing, providing full details of the dog, a photo, the fact he is microchiped, has had all shots, etc., everything required of a normal animal permission request application. Also supply your doctor's letter stating the dog is definitely needed, etc., as well as a description of the training you have given to the dog. State the reasons why you would have extreme difficulty regarding carrying the dog to and from the carpark, and suggest you will use a leash, and why such a condition is unreasonable. Kind regards, James
Expert:  James D. Ford replied 2 years ago.
If you want to guarantee you have the right to keep the dog, supported by the legislation... then you will need a certificate that the dog is a certified assistance dog, as per the following:
38 Certification of assistance dogs
An approved assistance dog trainer may only certify an assistance dog for a person with a disability if the dog—
(a) is able to perform identifiable physical tasks and behaviours to assist the person in a way that reduces the person's need for support; and
(b) has passed a public access test conducted by the following within 7 days before being certified—
(i) for an approved trainer—the trainer;
(ii) for an approved training institution—an employee trainer of the institution; and
(c) is not a restricted breed as defined under the Local Government Act 1993; and
(d) is desexed and vaccinated; and
(e) has not been declared a dangerous dog under a local law.
Kind regards, James