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Ask Barrister Your Own Question
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 37017
Experience:  16 yrs practice, Civil, Criminal, Domestic, Realtor, Landlord 26 yrs
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Please advise me my rights (and requirements) under the ADA

Customer Question

Please advise me my rights (and requirements) under the ADA regarding Therapy / Service Dogs. If I am asked whether I have a (service) dog by an HOA / POA, how should I answer? Am I required to disclose and provide my Therapy Dog Foundation and / or American Kennel Club Certificates for training, testing and approval of my dog? Am I required to provide my Doctor's Prescription for a Service Dog and / or any of my medical records (prescribed meds) when I fill out a rental application or an Offer to Purchase real estate
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Barrister replied 2 years ago.
Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.
A service dog or emotional support animal (ESA) is not considered a "pet" under the law and is more of a medical aid. So you have no duty to disclose this to anyone prior to any purchase.
The Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act protect the right of people with disabilities to keep emotional support/service animals, even when a policy explicitly prohibits pets. Because emotional support and service animals are not "pets," but rather are considered to be more like assistive aids such as wheelchairs, the law will generally require the management to make an exception to its "no pet" policy so that someone with a disability can fully use and enjoy his or her dwelling.
If the HOA made an issue of it later, all you have to provide them is a "prescription" from a licensed health care professional that the animal is necessary for you to have.
Although the management is entitled to ask for support/servicing materials which document the need for an emotional support/service animal, federal law does not require the tenant to provide proof of training or certification of the animal. The two courts that have addressed this issue directly - the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and the U.S. District Court of Oregon - have held that the only requirements to be classified as a service animal under federal regulations are that the animal be (1) individually trained, and (2) work for the benefit of an individual with a disability. For a more detailed discussion, see Bronk v. Ineichen, 54 F.3d 425 (7th Cir. 1995) and Green v. Housing Authority of Clackamas County, 994 F.Supp. 1253 (Or. 1998).
So the bot***** *****ne is that you don't have to mention your service animal at all during any purchase and only have to provide a prescription later on if there is a question.