Emotional support animals have been proven to be extremely effective at helping those with psychiatric disabilities. These special animals provide therapeutic nurture and support for symptoms of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other mental health conditions.
Most people know that the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) gives disabled individuals with service animals the right to access places of public accommodation. Unfortunately, the ADA does not guarantee access for emotional support animals in public places. The ADA and other federal and state laws do, however, support the right to emotional assistance animals in housing.
Right to Emotional Support Animals in Housing
The Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and ADA Title II protect the right of people with disabilities to keep emotional support animals, even when a landlord’s policy prohibits pets. Like service animals, emotional support animals are not “pets.”
The law generally requires landlords to make an exception to “no pet” policies so that a tenant with a disability can fully use and enjoy his or her dwelling. In most housing complexes, so long as the tenant has a letter or prescription from an appropriate professional, such as a therapist or physician, and meets the definition of a person with a disability, he or she is entitled to a reasonable accommodation that would allow an emotional support animal in the apartment.
The definitions of “disability,” “reasonable accommodation,” and other terms can be both confusing and critical. Fortunately, helpful resources for people with disability and psychological service animals include an emotional support animal housing rights fact sheet published by the Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law. If you or loved ones are facing disability discrimination in the form of restrictions on an emotional support animal, contact Oregon animal law attorney Dane E. Johnson. We offer a free case evaluation to discuss your options. Call toll free (800) 714-3204 or use our online lawyer contact form.