Service dog
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Service dog (by Sarah [GA]) Jan 22, 2023 8:32 PM
       Service dog (by Jim in O C [CA]) Jan 22, 2023 9:35 PM
       Service dog (by Robert J [CA]) Jan 22, 2023 9:59 PM
       Service dog (by Barb [MO]) Jan 22, 2023 10:44 PM
       Service dog (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) Jan 22, 2023 11:53 PM
       Service dog (by John... [MI]) Jan 23, 2023 8:57 AM
       Service dog (by Barb [MO]) Jan 23, 2023 10:31 AM
       Service dog (by Barb [MO]) Jan 23, 2023 11:08 AM
       Service dog (by Wilma [PA]) Jan 23, 2023 11:32 AM
       Service dog (by Barb [MO]) Jan 23, 2023 2:53 PM
       Service dog (by John... [MI]) Jan 23, 2023 5:05 PM
       Service dog (by 6x6 [TN]) Jan 23, 2023 6:45 PM
       Service dog (by mike [CA]) Jan 24, 2023 10:08 AM
       Service dog (by LisaFL [FL]) Jan 24, 2023 4:24 PM

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Service dog (by Sarah [GA]) Posted on: Jan 22, 2023 8:32 PM

If you have a unit that is no pets allowed, do you need proof from a person who has a service dog.

Service dog (by Jim in O C [CA]) Posted on: Jan 22, 2023 9:35 PM

Carefully you can verify it is a true service dog and not a pet. You can't ask the applicant the reason if it is not obvious but you can ask what is the SD is specifically trained to do. Most people claim Emotional Support Animal because it is easier to use that reason.

There is no registry for SD's or ESA's unless you go on line and pay $29.95 for a bogus certificate.

Service dog (by Robert J [CA]) Posted on: Jan 22, 2023 9:59 PM

I had an applicant with a service dog for her disabled son. He wore thick glasses and talked with a lisp. I ran the son's name thru IMBD and saw he was a child actor, gifted child with no eye problems and talked perfect in his rolls and on interviews. The stuff applicants would pull for their pets.

Service dog (by Barb [MO]) Posted on: Jan 22, 2023 10:44 PM

The most recent guidance on Assistance Animals under the Fair Housing Act can be found at

You need to follow it, assuming you are subject to the Fair Housing Act or a similar local law.

You can always ask “what tasks has your service dog been trained to perform” and go from there.

I am partnered to a service dog. His name is Scooter. Scooter is trained to help me in a number of ways, including retrievals (picking up things I drop, bringing me my phone when I leave it somewhere in the home, bringing me my medication or a water bottle). He can open doors, he will notify me when I need to take medication, and a number of other tasks. When he is working, his training is rather evident, in his behavior. When just at home, he can act like any other dog.

I recommend a conversation with your applicant. You can get a lot of info from a conversation. Ask about the dog, their training, where they got their training, how frequently they re-certify (many organizations recertify every 2 years, but not all do), and go from there. See what they volunteer.

Go from there, following the guidance I linked.

Service dog (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) Posted on: Jan 22, 2023 11:53 PM


My application states

'List all animals ________

Indiana law makes misrepresenting a service animal fraud, punishable by up to $5000 fine and possible jail time.

Any important info _________________'

IF IF IF they write 'service' or 'emotional support' animals we send a text asking them to 'provide the required documents.'

There is only ONE document that means anything -LMN Letter of Medical Necessity. My Fair Housing Director says "No older than 365 days and by a local professional with a history of treating that person."

Legit dog owners will have that no sweat.

And yes, if they can prove with the LMN you MUST allow them to bring the animal(s) into your NO PETS home.

THERAPY dogs do not qualify.

Now the biggie: DO NOT TALK TO THEM! LLs are sued over what they SAY and the deadbeat can SAY you SAID something wrong. Do it in writing to avoid lawsuits.

I give Barb a pass on this because she lives and breathes this stuff as the person on the end of the leash of a qualified service dog! Most LLs would step in do doo talking to an applicant.

Animal rights people can be MILITANT.


Service dog (by John... [MI]) Posted on: Jan 23, 2023 8:57 AM

First, I just want to say that I love Robert J's little fictional stories on here now and then. Fun to read. Didn't happen, but fun to read. :)

Second, follow what Barb said. She is an expert. Be very careful with Brad's advice. He often doesn't follow federal guidelines on this and, when pushed about it, will say that he asked his local Housing Authority and they said it was fine. So, if you want to follow a local-yocal instead of federal law, then great -- Brad is your guy. If you want to follow federal law, listen to Barb.

Brad: You do realize that a letter of medical necessity is not required for Service Animals and demanding one from someone who states that they have a Service Animal likely violates federal law, correct?

There is no "required document" to provide for a Service Animal. So telling them that is what they have to provide as soon as you see "Service Animal" on your application doesn't make any sense. If their disability is not obvious, you may ask what task the Service Animal is trained to perform. You may not force a "letter of medical necessity" for a Service Animal.

It's weird to say "do not talk to them" when apparently the ONLY thing you do is demand something from them that isn't necessary for a Service Animal, Brad. You say not to talk to them, but the tiny little part you DO say is the part that isn't proper or allowed... You're stepping in that doo-doo you mentioned with your one single request!

Service dog (by Barb [MO]) Posted on: Jan 23, 2023 10:31 AM

The reason I say to have a conversation and ask about the dog is because most SD partners I know love talking about our dogs.

Don’t ask “what is your disability?” Or “why do you have him?” Say, “he is a beautiful dog, what does he do to help you?”

If the dog is trained by an organization, they will often wear that organization’s cape. This is especially true when taking taking the dog to a new place, or for an interview. I have half a dozen capes/vests for Scooter. If I’m taking him to somewhere I’m nervous about, I put the trainer supplied cape on him, as it advertises that he had formal training. It also signals to the dog, “This is serious, no screw ups”. If you see an organization logo on the cape, it is easy and natural to ask about the organization or training company.

For example, “how old was he when you received him?” Or “Does have a large program?” Or “does provide good ongoing support to their SDs and SD partners?”

The big thing is to LISTEN.

There is no such thing as a Service Dog registration. There is no legitimate registry for service dogs. There ARE organizations that will provide a “registration card” for a dog, because it shuts people up (and makes it difficult for others without them). Many organizations AND scammers online will produce a certificate for the dog… they mean nothing.

If you do not see an obvious disability (mine is not obvious, although I frequently do walk with a cane) you can ask for a letter from a licensed medical or mental health professional that states the person has a disability. That letter MIGHT NOT address the question of an animal. Mine would not, as often a physician doesn’t get involved with the dog situation at all. The medical provider simply states the patient has a disability. The applicant or patient then links their disability to the dog.

For example, if I were applying for housing, I would get a letter from my physician saying I had disabilities (or heck, just provide a copy of the state form saying I need an accessible parking permit) and then explain, in writing, that I have the dog to assist me with retrievals and medical alert.

If the animal is due to a mental health related diagnosis, the letter may be from any mental health professional, on practice letterhead with their license info on it, and may be called an “assistance animal”.

Again, go back to the HUD guidance. THAT is the most recent federal interpretation we have.

Service dog (by Barb [MO]) Posted on: Jan 23, 2023 11:08 AM


Pages 6-7 of the HUD guidance are directly on point… I just read them again.

They DIRECTLY address how to handle it when someone says “I have a service dog”.

Service dog (by Wilma [PA]) Posted on: Jan 23, 2023 11:32 AM

Just read it over. Dang, it's confusing! --96.245.xx.xx

Service dog (by Barb [MO]) Posted on: Jan 23, 2023 2:53 PM

It is definitely confusing!

It can be a minefield for many. Hence the reason to go to the federal documents.

Basically, if they have an obvious disability, and claim they have a service dog, assume the dog is one and treat it as such.

If the disability is not obvious, ask the listed questions, “ is the dog a trained service dog due to disability” and “what tasks is the dog trained to perform that provide assistance”

Then stop. Listen

Think about this, people tend to talk. They volunteer things. We all do.

Chances are the applicant or prospect will volunteer things.

They will volunteer info about their disability.

They will volunteer info about the tasks

They will volunteer info about the training

They will volunteer info about their dog.

Assistance animal or not, you can ask for proof of veterinary care aka rabies vaccination. I also ask for proof of flea preventative for any and every animal in one of my homes. My state law requires that all dogs, cats and ferrets be vaccinated against rabies, so I require a copy of it. Our “company policy” requires flea preventative, and I remind people that we have possums, squirrels, groundhogs, etc, that all are in the yards and parks, and carry fleas, so their dog or cat needs to be protected.

Even when you have “qualified the dog” nothing stops you from dropping by a week after they have moved in to check in, make sure they have found everything they need, double check they don’t have any water leaks, double check the HVAC works as expected, double check they figured out how to use the dishwasher m etc. While there, give the home a “sniff test” and be observant.

If you see an issue, tell them to cure it right away.

Train the tenant.

Service dog (by John... [MI]) Posted on: Jan 23, 2023 5:05 PM

Well said, Barb, as usual!

Service dog (by 6x6 [TN]) Posted on: Jan 23, 2023 6:45 PM

Always good to read Barb and Johns advice on this.

Service dog (by mike [CA]) Posted on: Jan 24, 2023 10:08 AM

this is a fair housing minefield, and landlords rarely emerge from them with all limbs, so here's my practice. when the subject of animals arises i say NOTHING or tell them how much i love dogs. during the screening you'll learn if their dog is a real service dog or they're BSing you. there is always a legit reason to deny with no mention of the dog. in reality i like dogs more than people and keep bone shaped dog cookies in all my trucks to share with the dogs i meet. the problem is that they like me too but don't like my houses...all dogs are vandals. i am in the process now of tossing a gal that got a dog after i told her no straight out. i let a few months quietly pass and simply jacked the rent up $500/month. she lost her sheet and called me everything but a white man and pleaded for a few extra months. i gave her 90 days at the new high rate and will use that to repair the damage the dog has surely done. the place smells like a dog bed. --75.80.xx.xx

Service dog (by LisaFL [FL]) Posted on: Jan 24, 2023 4:24 PM

Mike (CA)

I like that approach. I won’t tolerate liars or those who don’t follow the rules. There will most definitely be consequences. It was beyond considerate giving her an extra 90 days. You did your part.

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