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Emotional Support Animals Pets

Discussion in 'Other Residential Landlord & Tenant Issues' started by Kaptnkay, Oct 10, 2014.

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  1. Kaptnkay

    Kaptnkay Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I live in Ohio and my significant other and I are moving into a very nice apartment complex that only allows two cats per household- we have three.
    I do suffer with depression that disables me from functioning normally as diagnosed by my therapist. Having my cats has alleviated my depression tenfold but if I have to choose to give up one of my three cats, I will fall back into that disabled state again. Does my landlord have to acknowledge all three of my cats as Emotional Support Animals if a note from my therapist is written stating this? Or do they only recognize one? If so, could I technically have two pets and one ESA?
     
  2. disagreeable

    disagreeable Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, you can only force one pet on the complex. Otherwise we would have crazy at ladies hoarding strays. Pick the special one as one of the two.
     
  3. Kaptnkay

    Kaptnkay Law Topic Starter New Member

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    So as long as I claim one as an ESA and the other two as pets, I should be fine?
     
  4. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    I suggest you discuss this with the manager or landlord.

    We can't give you a legal opinion.

    This website presents a supportive opinion.

    There are exceptions, and property must be large enough to be covered by the law.

    If you provide a letter, it must come from a licensed, medical practitioner, as I read the law.

    http://servicedogcentral.org/content/node/305

    Another supporting view:

    http://mvfairhousing.com/serviceanimal.php

    http://www.disabilityrightsohio.org/service-animals#housing
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2014
  5. Kaptnkay

    Kaptnkay Law Topic Starter New Member

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    The problem is that the company who owns it is strict with pets. My cats are very clean and well-behaved- they would never tear up anything. Out of all the websites that I've searched through, I cannot find the answer to the question that I posted here. Hence the turn to a LAW forum.
     
  6. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Did you review the information on the links I provided, Kaptnkay?

    That information seems to support your position about ESAs.

    You will require a letter from a physician, and offer the landlord the information about the law.
    You might also wish to inquire of the agencies cited, as they may have forms and materials you can use to support your assertions.

    No one just does what we want, unless we can support our position. Good luck...
     
  7. Kaptnkay

    Kaptnkay Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I have gone through all of the documentation you have listed before you ever listed it. It still does not answer my question.
     
  8. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Permit me to help.
    You have THREE cats.

    I'll call them: Sammy, Hammy, and Mammy.

    Two (Sammy and Hammy) of your THREE cats are pets.

    The third cat, Mammy, is your ESA.

    The law (in Ohio) allows you to possess and use animals to service you, and emotionally support you.

    You request your therapist (better if she or he is an MD, PhD, or DO) to provide you with a letter naming Mammy as your ESA.

    This has been excerpted from your state's (OHIO'S) law:

    Does Ohio law protect the right of a person with a disability to keep a service animal in his or her housing?

    Yes. As stated before, Ohio law defines an "animal assistant" as "any animal which aids" a person with a disability, including a dog which alerts a person with a hearing impairment to sounds, a dog which guides a person with a visual impairment, or a monkey which collects or retrieves items for a person with a mobility impairment. Ohio law provides that a person with a disability who has or obtains an animal assistant "shall be entitled to keep the animal assistant on the premises purchased, leased, rented, assigned or subleased" by such person. Furthermore, he or she "shall not be required to pay an extra charge for such animal assistant but shall be liable for damage done by the animal assistant to the premises."

    The law states (in part):

    In order to avoid abuse of the system, landlords are generally permitted to require a letter from the tenant's doctor explaining the tenant is disabled by mental illness and how the emotional support animal is expected to mitigate this disability.

    Under federal law, you do not have to permit emotional support animals for anyone with a mental illness, only those who are disabled. This might vary with state laws, so check with your attorney. According to the NIMH, 26.2% of adults in the U.S. suffer from a mental illness in any given year, but only 6% are severely mentally ill. So more than three quarters of those with a diagnosed mental illness are not disabled by that illness and would not qualify to use a service animal even if they would benefit from one.

    If the tenant has not yet gotten an emotional support animal, the landlord may be entitled to place restrictions on the size and breed of the animal. The landlord may be entitled to require the animal be spayed or neutered. Check with your state's Human Rights Commission or Attorney General for information on your state's laws concerning this. There are links to websites for every AG in the US in the service dog laws section of this site.

    Plus:

    As opposed to Titles II and III of the ADA in which the animal need only meet the definition of a service animal to be covered by the law, and no further reasonable accommodation analysis should be applied, the Fair Housing Act requires that a person affirmatively notify the landlord (preferably in writing) that he or she has a disability, that he or she needs a service animal to afford equal opportunity to use and enjoy the apartment, and that he or she therefore requires a modification to the landlord's policies prohibiting or restricting pets as a reasonable accommodation for his or her disability.

    It is also strongly advisable that the individual submit a letter from his or her doctor, therapist or other medical provider verifying the need for the service animal. It is not necessary to disclose a detailed, comprehensive medical history. The landlord or other provider of housing is entitled to obtain only that information necessary to determine whether the requested accommodation is necessary because of a disability.



    Okay, try it.
    Have that discussion, and as I see it, you should be allowed to possess two pets, and ONE ESA.
     
  9. Kaptnkay

    Kaptnkay Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thank you so much! That actually really helps.
    I can get a letter from my therapist stating that the animal helps me function. So now do I have to get the one registered as an ESA?
     
  10. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    If the animal isn't registered as an ESA, it could create problems.
    However, if you have a letter from your medical provider stating you require the cat as part of therapy, I suspect that would suffice.
    Be advised, just because the law mandates people to do or not to do a THING, that doesn't mean they'll comply.
    Give it go, see what happens.
     
  11. Kaptnkay

    Kaptnkay Law Topic Starter New Member

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    By law they have to allow my ESA as long as I'm disabled. If not, that is discrimination against a disabled person. We will cross that bridge if we get there. Thanks for the advice!
     
  12. disagreeable

    disagreeable Well-Known Member

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    I think you have a losing argument. The landlord will likely consider the ESA as one of 2 permitted animals. If you want number 3 it is likely going to involve a court battle you lose.
     
  13. disagreeable

    disagreeable Well-Known Member

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    The law states
    Landlord is not saying you cannot have the animal. It would be giving you superior rights not equal rights, to allow you 3 cats when others are limited to 2.
     
  14. Kaptnkay

    Kaptnkay Law Topic Starter New Member

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    To my understanding, an ESA is not considered a pet. The law does not recognize ESAs or service animals as pets. So *i believe* if the complex were to come to me and say "you have three pets" the state of Ohio would throw it out because the ESA is not a pet.
     
  15. ElleMD

    ElleMD Well-Known Member

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    Seriously, do you really want to suffer the expense of a lawsuit so you can break the rules and have 3 pets? You admit all 3 are not ESAs, you just don't want to have to give up one of them. Are you really prepared to defend why one is truly an ESA? This assumes that the court would even see this the way you do and force the complex to consider the ESA "invisible". The law simply doesn't go that far. The court very well may consider the 2 animal rule sufficient to allow you your ESA. After all, they have no problem with the ESA, just the extra non-ESA animal. Even if you manage to prevail, you are looking at substantial legal fees and potentially years of litigation.

    I understand the challenge of finding temporary rental housing that will accept multiple pets. I have been there myself. I also wouldn't give up any of my pets. What I did was find a place that would accept them all. You make a choice. Either your first choice residence or one that will allow you to have all the pets you current own.
     
    army judge likes this.
  16. disagreeable

    disagreeable Well-Known Member

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    The easiest thing to do is not get all bent out of shape and discuss the issue with the landlord. If they are indoor cats and not to be seen by anyone else, the landlord might be a pet lover and not care. Taking pictures of your current home, showing the cats are properly cared for will go far regarding this. BTW I have 3 cats also. I would not want to be told I had to choose which one of my family to abandon.
     
  17. Disabled Vet

    Disabled Vet Active Member

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    Why move then? Why force your disability onto someone else? I wouldn't do that in a million years. I wouldn't move to a place that didn't accept all my animals if i was you. I hate it when someone that is disabled starts crying "You gotta accept this or that because i am DISABLED". Bull crap... in my thoughts.. The easy fix to this is simple. find a place that will accept all your pets. I am disabled.... Spinal Cord injury with some really bad issues. BUT again... Never would i force my disabilities onto someone else. Now... if they didn't have a wheelchair ramp... build one. This place allows pets... but not 3 so they are nice people... but your trying to cram your disabilities into their face... Rethink your move..
     
  18. disagreeable

    disagreeable Well-Known Member

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    I hate to say I agree but it seems those least disabled are the ones who try to shove the ADA down everyone's throat most vehemently.
     
  19. Kaptnkay

    Kaptnkay Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Well then. Rude. I just asked a question.
     
  20. ElleMD

    ElleMD Well-Known Member

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    When that question is how to manipulate a law that some people truly need in order to function in daily life so you can break the rules, that tends not to make others inclined to help you.
     
    Alice Aforethought likes this.

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