What would you do?
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  • J

    I have become so obsessed with a certain Basenji puppy, done all of the research, and plan to train it to be a therapy dog at the local Children's Hospital. I notified my apartment's management company that I will be living at starting this August (who have a NO pet policy) and they won't allow it whatsoever.

    Problem with that is the state I live in has a law that states that any service animal that is owned by a disabled person or trainer of the dog HAS to be allowed in housing no matter what the policy is, since it isn't considered a pet!

    The company refuses to acknowledge this law no matter how much evidence I show for the law.

    Would you argue this?

    Here's the law if you care to read it:

    ? 953. Right to freedom from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation

    The opportunity for an individual to obtain employment for which he is qualified, and to obtain all the accommodations, advantages, facilities and privileges of any public accommodation and of any housing accommodation and commercial property without discrimination because of race, color, familial status, religious creed, ancestry, handicap or disability, age, sex, national origin, the use of a guide or support animal because of the blindness, deafness or physical handicap of the user or because the user is a handler or trainer of support or guide animals is hereby recognized as and declared to be a civil right which shall be enforceable as set forth in this act.

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  • They could most likely get around it because you don't have a service animal at this time, you plan on training one. And that is not to say that the dog would pass as a therapy dog, so if that was the case, then what would you do?

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  • Therapy dogs are NOT service dogs and have no special rights to go anywhere that they are not invited. I know, I have 3 certified therapy dogs. They are NOT allowed on planes, in restaurants or anywhere else that dogs are not welcome. Personally, I'd look for somewhere else to live!

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  • J

    Oddly enough though, a service dog here is defined as any dog that offers an assistance to a disabled human OR is being trained to do so!

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  • I doubt it. There has always been some confusion between the two. This from the Delta Society's website:
    http://www.deltasociety.org/Page.aspx?pid=267#ServiceTherapy
    <>
    According to the law you've quoted ("the use of a guide or support animal because of the blindness, deafness or physical handicap of the user or because the user is a handler or trainer of support or guide animals"), you would need to be training this dog for a blind, deaf or physical handicapped person.
    Here's some more info on service animals (includes definition according to the ADA)
    http://www.deltasociety.org/Page.aspx?pid=303
    service animals and housing
    http://www.deltasociety.org/Page.aspx?pid=489
    This is also sort of interesting about emotional support animals
    http://www.deltasociety.org/Page.aspx?pid=302
    Otherwise, if you really think you have a service animal and are being denied housing, consult a lawyer.

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  • T

    you are much better off looking for new housing. when you rent, you have to make major compromises when it comes to having pets.

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  • S

    Yep, I would move asap.

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  • First Basenji's

    Yeah, I think it's going to be hard to argue this one.

    I'd look for a new place to live. When renting, you want to be assured that you and your landlord are clear on pet terms, so that there is NO reason to rehome a pup due to "my landlord changed his mind" as I often hear/read. If you start off arguing with the apartment manager over terms that are not as you define them, I'd be be concerned that the landlord would have it in for you in the long run… (I've learned to be paranoid about this due to many crappy landlords over the years).

    I think it's worth it to forfeit a deposit (if you have one on the apartment already) and put in the extra time to find a place that IS pet-friendly. If you decide to cancel a rental commitment, I would tell the landlord why -- "Being able to keep pets on the property is essential to my living arrangements." Something like that. It won't make a difference in the immediate situation, but I think the more that renters in a community insist on their desire to keep a pet, the greater the possibility that policies will change over time. For now, yes, renters with pets have to make some sacrifices, but you have some time to hit the ads and keep looking. Something suitable should come up.

    Good luck!

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  • @agilebasenji:

    Therapy dogs are NOT service dogs and have no special rights to go anywhere that they are not invited. I know, I have 3 certified therapy dogs. They are NOT allowed on planes, in restaurants or anywhere else that dogs are not welcome. Personally, I'd look for somewhere else to live!

    Exactly! Even if you were training your dog to be a therapy dog, that is not the same as being an assistance dog. Either you, yourself need to have a disability that could be helped by a trained assistance dog. OR you are a trainer that is training a dog for someone else as an assistance dog. But NOT the same thing as a therapy dog, at all.

    I wouldn't even TRY to argue that one.

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  • You'll spend too much (negative) energy fighting to have the dog in that apartment with you. Even if you somehow can talk your way into it, you can bet the management are going to be watching you and your b so carefully. ANY problem and you may be forced to leave. I would look for a different place to live, and then put all your energy into training a great service dog.

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  • J

    Thanks for all of your help. We are going to ask to be let out of our lease. Do you think I could at least argue to get the security deposit back or probably not?

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  • What does the lease contract say? I would think it depends on what you signed. Nowadays, it's more important than ever to read an entire contract and all the fine print so carefully, because in this economy, people do not want to lose out on any possible income.

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  • @jdido09:

    Thanks for all of your help. We are going to ask to be let out of our lease. Do you think I could at least argue to get the security deposit back or probably not?

    Oh I'd certainly ask for it back. No harm in asking!

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  • Definitely ask for your deposit - nothing ventured, nothing gained. I'd be doing a lot of talking to trainers to see what success they have had or not had with training a basenji as a therapy dog. They are pretty active, and it might be good to find out from those who know whether they can be trained to be calm and gentle on demand…...

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