In a new article published on the Student Housing Business website, PetScreening.com Founder John Ray Bradford discusses Service Animals vs. Assistance Animals and covers when and where the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Fair Housing Act (FHAct) are applicable.
If you’re like most people, you probably use the terms service animal and assistance animal interchangeably especially when discussing the recent media coverage about the person with an emotional support alligator or the peacock trying to board an airplane. If you’re a multifamily professional, not knowing the difference between these two terms could result in costly and risky unintended consequences.
To help prevent such a scenario from happening, you simply need to know the difference between a service animal and an assistance animal. More importantly, knowing when and how to deal with each one is imperative. Understanding the differences can help ensure you don’t ask an inappropriate question that could result in inadvertently discriminating against a person with a disability or help prevent a bad actor from committing animal fraud.
Service animals are covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which is applicable to areas of public accommodation where members of the general public are allowed. Areas within multifamily residential communities that qualify as places of public accommodation are covered by the ADA if use of the areas is not limited exclusively to owners, residents, and their guests. That means the main leasing office, which is open to the general public, is covered by ADA requirements for service animals. The ADA, however, does not cover animal-related accommodation requests for private residency such as apartment homes.
The ADA specifically limits a service animal to a dog or a miniature horse and the service animal must be trained to perform a task(s) for the benefit of an individual with a disability. Animals that offer emotional support, comfort, protection and companionship do not meet the definition of a service animal and are not covered under the ADA. The important issues to note about a service animal are that you are only allowed to ask two questions and no proof is needed:
Topics: Assistance Animals
The following is a partial transcript from the PetScreening pawdcast, ep.3. To listen to the full episode, click here.
"Hi! It's John Bradford, pet lover and founder of PetScreening.com. Welcome to the PetScreening podcast. Today, I'm going to talk a little bit about insurance companies and their restrictions regarding pets, and how sometimes this is used as a reason to deny someone from bringing a specific breed into a property under their accommodation request. We're going to talk about why that is not a wise thing to do or why that is not a wise reason to use as to why you're denying an accommodation request.
The following is a transcript of PetScreening.com Pawdcast episode "An Overview & Value Propositions". To listen to this episode, click here.
Hi, this is John Bradford, pet lover and founder of PetScreening.com. PetScreening.com operates in all 50 states here in the United States as well as in Canada. Our corporate office is located in the Queen City — Charlotte, North Carolina.
Some insurance policies have specific pet breed restrictions and for a housing provider to unilaterally apply these restrictions to assistance animals is ill advised. Why? Assistance animals are not the same as household pets.