Service and Assistance Animal Guidelines

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (“UWM”) is committed to providing students with disabilities with equal access to its programs, services, and physical facilities, including its Residence Halls.  This guidance explains the specific requirements applicable to students’ use of Service Animals and Assistance Animals in University Housing. It does not apply to use of Service Animals or Assistance Animals elsewhere on UWM’s campus, including in classrooms. The process for requesting a non-housing-related accommodation can be found on ARC’s website: uwm.edu/arc/apply. University Housing reserves the right to amend these guidelines in the future in its discretion.

Definitions
Service Animal: A dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. The work or tasks performed by a Service Animal must be directly related to the individual’s disability. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind or have low vision, alerting people who are deaf to the presence of people or sounds, pulling a wheelchair, or reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications. Service Animals are working dogs, not pets. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as Service Animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act (the “ADA”) or these Guidelines.

Service Animal in Training: A dog that is being trained as a Service Animal. Service Animals in Training are not considered Service Animals under the ADA and, in light of this, they are subject to restrictions not placed on fully trained Service Animals as further detailed in these Guidelines.

Assistance Animal: An animal (other than a Service Animal) that provides assistance and/or provides emotional support for a person with a disability. An Assistance Animal does not perform jobs or tasks that would qualify it as a “service animal” under the ADA. However, the animal may still provide disability-related assistance even if not trained or qualified as a Service Animal. Assistance Animals may be permitted in University Housing as an accommodation in certain circumstances as further described in this Guidance document.

Pet: An animal kept for ordinary use and companionship that does not otherwise qualify as an Assistance Animal or a Service Animal. Pets are not covered by these Guidelines. Residents in University Housing are not permitted to keep pets in University Housing, other than fish in tanks 10 gallons or smaller, as outlined in the UWM Resident Handbook.

Student: For purposes of these Guidelines, the term “student” will be used interchangeably with the term “owner,” “handler,” “resident,” or “trainer” and is defined as a qualified individual with a disability who is registered or enrolled at UWM for educational purposes and (i) has requested and/or been approved to use an Assistance Animal in University Housing in accordance with these Guidelines and/or (ii) has a Service Animal.

Accessibility Resource Center (ARC): The department at UWM that provides services and accommodations to students with disabilities. ARC is dedicated to maintaining an environment that guarantees students with disabilities full access to the educational programs, activities and facilities at UWM. Detailed information can be found on ARC’s website at uwm.edu/arc. Contact ARC’s main office at 414-229-6287.

Service Animals in University Housing
Service Animals are generally permitted in University Housing in all areas a student would otherwise be permitted to access.

  1. Determining if a Dog is a Service Animal: If an animal is a dog and it is readily apparent that the dog is trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, the dog is permitted in University Housing without the need for any other documentation and/or explanation.When it is not obvious whether a dog is trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, University Housing may ask the student: (i) if the animal is required because of a disability, and (ii) to provide an explanation of the task(s) or work that the animal has been trained to perform to assist the individual. With respect solely to the use of a Service Animal, the student is not required to provide documentation evidencing the nature or extent of their disability or their need for a Service Animal. However, if the student needs additional accommodations beyond the use of a Service Animal, they should contact ARC. As part of the ARC accommodation process, disability documentation will be requested if other accommodations are needed. If the student works with ARC, a Service Animal will also be listed as an accommodation on the student’s Accommodation Plan.
  2. University Housing Areas where Service Animals may be Prohibited: Service Animals may be prohibited from University Housing’s mechanical rooms, utility rooms, food preparation areas, or other areas with hazardous activities where the presence of a Service Animal would be dangerous.
  3. Guests with Service Animals: A Service Animal accompanying a guest with a disability is welcome in all areas of University Housing that are open to the public, as well as any other area the guest is otherwise permitted to be in, consistent with University Housing’s policies.
Service Animals in Training in University Housing
Service Animals in Training are not protected by the ADA. In light of this, they are subject to restrictions not placed on fully trained Service Animals.

Wisconsin law allows Service Dogs in Training to be admitted to facilities open to the public, for example, the UWM Union or basketball arena. Service Animals in Training are not generally permitted in University Housing as it is not a public place of accommodation. However, in the event the trainer is a resident of University Housing with a disability, and is training the dog for their own use, the trainer may request that the dog reside with them by providing the documentation to ARC as required in Section IV with respect to an assistance animal.

Service Dogs in Training must wear a harness or leash and special cape, and the trainer must present credentials for the dog issued by a school for dog training.

Assistance Animals in University Housing
  1. Approval Required: No student may bring an animal, other than a Service Animal, into UWM’s facilities, including University Housing, unless such animal is approved in advance by University Housing, ARC, or otherwise expressly permitted by UWM’s policies and/or procedures. Students and/or their guests who bring an unauthorized animal into University Housing may be required to remove the animal from University Housing. Further, the student may be subject to University Housing’s Residential Behavior Process which is outlined in UWM’s Resident Handbook.
  2. Procedure for Requesting Use of an Assistance Animal in University Housing: If a student wishes to use an Assistance Animal in University Housing, the following procedures must be followed:
    1. Request: A student requesting an accommodation to permit an Assistance Animal to reside with them in University Housing should start the process by completing the online housing accommodation request application. The application can be found on ARC’s website (edu/arc/apply): Apply for University Housing Accommodation. Once completed, the application will be assigned to an ARC Access Specialist to respond to the request and begin the interactive process with the student.UWM recommends that requests for Assistance Animals in University Housing be submitted at least 60 days prior to the desired move-in date.
    2. Documentation Required: In addition to submitting the above-mentioned online request, the student must also submit supporting documentation from their licensed, treating health care professional. This documentation should be signed and dated by the health care professional and provide contact information and any relevant professional licensing information. This documentation should be prepared and/or reviewed by the student’s health care professional no more than six (6) months prior to the date of the student’s accommodation request.Details of what should be included in this documentation are provided below. For students’ and healthcare providers’ convenience, it is recommended that health care providers complete the University Housing Accommodation Documentation form in support of a student request for an Assistance Animal in University Housing: https://uwm.edu/arc/documentation-guidelines/. Students are also encouraged to review the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s January 2020 Guidance on “Documenting an Individual’s Need for Assistance Animals in Housing” which is attached as Appendix A to this Guidance.Please note that documentation relating to an Assistance Animal obtained from the internet is generally not, by itself, sufficient to establish that a student has a disability-related need for an Assistance Animal. Documentation should be provided by a health care professional that has personal knowledge of the student. Lack of such documentation, in many cases, may be grounds for denial of a student’s request for an Assistance Animal in University Housing.The documentation from the student’s treating, health care professional in support of their need for an Assistance Animal in University Housing should include the following information:
      1. Student’s name;
      2. Whether and how long the health care professional has had a professional relationship with the   student involving the provision of health care or disability-related services;
      3. The type of animal for which a reasonable accommodation is sought;
      4. A description of the student’s physical or mental impairment(s);
      5. A description of how the student’s impairment(s) substantially limit at least one major life activity or major bodily function; and
      6. A description of how the animal will assist the student in University Housing which demonstrates that the animal is not merely a pet(i.e., the nexus between the disability and the need to allow the animal to reside on campus). This should include a description of the disability-related work/assistance/task(s) the animal provides.If the animal is NOT a dog, cat, small bird, rabbit, hamster, gerbil, other rodent, fish, turtle, or other small, domesticated animal that is traditionally kept in a home for pleasure rather than for commercial purposes, the health care provider should also provide the following:
        1. The date of the last consultation with the student;
        2. Any unique circumstances justifying the student’s need for this particular animal or particular type of animal; and
        3. Whether the health care professional has reliable information about this specific animal or whether they specifically recommend this type of animal.
    3. Determination: UWM’s Housing Accommodation Review Committee will review the submitted information and make a decision. The Committee typically meets on a weekly basis and will only review a student’s request once all information and supporting documentation has been submitted. Once a determination is made, the Assistant Director of University Housing will notify the student of the outcome via their UWM email account. If the request is approved, the student will receive additional information via their UWM email account about next steps that must be completed prior to bringing the animal into University Housing.All approvals for Assistance Animals in University Housing are subject to annual review.
      Once an assistance animal is approved, but prior to the assistance animal obtaining entry to University Housing-assigned rooms, the approved owner must complete and submit the online Emotional Support Animal Expectations Form with the following documents. This paperwork must be submitted annually.
        • A signed Community Acknowledgement of Emotional Support Animal Form (print the form, obtain the signatures, and upload the signed copy when you submit the online acknowledgment of emotional support animal expectations).
        • Documentation of Milwaukee County Animal License for canines and felines (madacc.org/services).
        • Documentation of preventative treatment for fleas (if applicable, required of all cat and dog breeds). A receipt of the flea treatment you are utilizing is acceptable.
          • Knowing there are a number of assistance animals on campus, it is suggested that you speak to your veterinarian regarding fleas on rabbits and if they recommend a preventative flea treatment. Documentation should indicate their recommendation.
        • Documentation of current vaccinations, if applicable to breed/species.
      • University Housing reviews the listed documentation above for completion, and once verified the resident would then receive an Approval for Entry to University Housing email.
    1. Appeal Process: Students whose request for an Assistance Animal in University Housing has been denied may appeal this decision by following the process detailed in Section X of these Guidelines titled “Appeal Process.”
    2. Notification of Staff: The Assistant Director of University Housing will notify the Residence Life Coordinator of the building in which the student is assigned, the Assistant Director of Facilities and Residence Life, Area Coordinator for Desk and Security, and Area Coordinator for Community Standards, of the ESAs approval for entry to University Housing, as appropriate and necessary.
Steps to be Completed Prior to an Approved Assistance Animal Moving into University Housing

A student who has received approval for an Assistance Animal in University Housing will receive additional information via their UWM email regarding animal expectations. Students are required to complete the below steps before the Assistance Animal is admitted to University Housing. Unless otherwise provided, this documentation/information should be submitted via the webform to the Assistant Director of University Housing.

  1. Notification to Suitemates/Roommates & Acknowledgement: The student is responsible for informing their suitemates and roommate with whom they are assigned to live that they have approval for an animal to live with them in University Housing. The student should also inform them of the type of animal that has been approved (e.g., dog, cat, etc.) All roommates and suitemates must sign a Community Acknowledgement form. This form is provided via your UWM email account at the time your accommodation decision letter is emailed.If a student is having difficulty obtaining these forms from any roommate/suitemate, or if any roommate/suitemate has indicated they do not wish to sign the form and/or live with the animal, the student should notify their Resident Assistant, Residence Life Coordinator and/or the Residence Life Office (rpoasst@uwm.edu) for assistance.

    In the event that one or more roommates or suitemates are not comfortable living with the animal, either the student and animal or the non-agreeing roommates or suitemates may be moved to a different location, as determined by University Housing in its discretion and based upon the circumstances.

  2. Health & Vaccinations: Animals, to be housed in University Housing must have an annual clean bill of health from a licensed veterinarian as well as be up to date on any vaccinations required by local ordinances/regulations. Documentation can include a vaccination certificate for the animal or a veterinarian’s statement regarding the animal’s health. If applicable to the breed/species, animals must also have preventative flea treatment. A receipt from the flea treatment being used is acceptable as proof of treatment.
  3. City of Milwaukee Animal License: Must be obtained if required by local ordinances/regulations and renewed as applicable. City of Milwaukee animal license information can be found online.
  4. Student Acknowledgement of Assistance Animal-Related Expectations in University Housing: A copy of this acknowledgment can be found at: uwm.edu/arc/aa-expectations/#gf_28 and must be submitted online. This document includes an acknowledgment that the student must comply with these Guidelines, the policies outlined in the University Housing Handbook, as well as any other applicable guidelines, policies, procedures, and laws.
Student's Responsibilities/Behavioral Expectations
  1. Compliance with Policies: Any student who has a Service Animal, Service Animal in Training, or an Assistance Animal in University Housing is solely responsible for complying with these Guidelines, the policies and rules of UWM Residence Life, the Residence Life Contract Terms and Conditions, and any other applicable policies, procedures, and laws.
  2. Control: The handler must be in control of their animal at all times. Animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, or be contained in a cage or similar type of environment depending on the animal, when outside of a student’s residence room; unless, in the case of a Service Animal, these devices interfere with the animal’s work or the student handler’s disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the handler must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls. The animal’s behavior must not be disruptive to its surroundings or other members of the UWM community. Disruptive behavior includes, but is not limited to, jumping on people, barking, growling, taking food from dining area tables, taking personal belongings of individuals other than the owner, or damage to property.
  3. Clean up: All animals must be housebroken. The handler will ensure the immediate clean-up and disposal of waste. Handlers who are not physically able to pick up and dispose of waste are responsible for making all necessary arrangements for assistance.
  4. Backup and/or Emergency Handlers: In the event that the student needs assistance with the animal from time to time (e.g., toileting while the student is at class), it is the student’s responsibility to make sure that the backup handler understands these Guidelines and follows them as well as any other relevant policies, procedures, and/or laws. University Housing may in its discretion require the student to provide it with a list of any backup handlers and the times the animal is anticipated to be under their control. All students are required to provide University Housing with the name and contact information for one or more emergency contacts. In the event of an emergency (e.g., the student is unexpectedly hospitalized) the student authorizes University to contact this person and turn control of the animal over to them.
  5. Other Reasonable Restrictions: The University may place other reasonable conditions or restrictions on the animals depending on the nature and characteristics of the animal.
  6. Room Access by University Housing: University Housing has the right to inspect any University Housing space to complete routine health and safety inspections or in an emergency. Any resident with an animal is expected to inform University Housing staff in writing if there is concern for staff members’ safety if staff members enter when the owner is not present. Upon entry to University Housing, all residents complete an initial room condition report of their room, suite, and/or apartment, any such concerns should be noted at that time.
Removal of Animals in University Housing

If the student or guest handler fails to comply with the above-described requirements, or if the animal’s behavior poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others, the student and/or guest may be required to remove the animal from University Housing. Further, the student may be subject to the University Housing’s Residential Behavior Process which is outlined in UWM’s Resident Handbook.

If an Animal is removed or excluded from University Housing, the student may appeal the decision under Section XI of this Process (Appeal Process). However, in University Housing’s discretion, such appeal or grievance may not suspend the removal of the animal pending the outcome of the appeal. In the event that an animal is removed pursuant to these Guidelines or other relevant policies and procedures and/or laws, UWM will work with the student to determine whether there are other reasonable alternative accommodations that would allow the student to enjoy the full benefit of University Housing’s facilities, events, and programming.

Encountering an Animal in University Housing - Etiquette

Animals are fairly common in University Housing. Some tips to help guide interactions with them follow:

  • Do not attempt to touch or pet an Animal unless the owner or handler approves of such contact;
  • Do not offer the animal food or treats;
  • Try not to act in a manner that could startle, frighten, or threaten an animal;
  • Do not separate or attempt to separate an owner from their animal unless authorized by University policy and procedure, or law enforcement;
  • Asking questions about the handler’s disability is impolite and intrudes on their privacy; and
  • It is fine to offer help to an animal’s handler, but always ask first and respect the handler’s right to decline your offer.
Conflicting Health Conditions

Individuals, other than the student using the animal, who may have a disability that is adversely impacted by the presence of an animal (e.g., respiratory diseases, asthma, severe allergies), or who have a health or safety concern regarding the presence of the animal in University Housing should contact the Residence Life Office for assistance. Such residents may have a right to their own reasonable accommodation to allow them to fully enjoy the benefits of University Housing’s facilities, events, or programs. The rights of the student with the animal will be balanced with the rights of other individuals with disabilities in accordance with University policy and state or federal law.

Violation of the Guidelines or Applicable Policies & Procedures

Violations of these Guidelines, relevant policies, procedures, and/or laws may result in one or more of the following actions by the University: assessment of charges or fees against the student’s bursar account, removal of the animal from University property, termination of the student’s housing contract, or any other remedy otherwise available to the University.

Appeal Process

Any person dissatisfied by a decision concerning a request for an Assistance Animal or Service Animal in Training in University Housing may appeal the decision by following the below-described process:

Step 1. First Level of Appeal

The student must first present their concerns and disagreement to their assigned ARC Access Specialist. The student must specifically indicate in writing that they are raising an appeal pursuant to this Appeal Procedure. The student should include a clear and concise statement of the issue(s) requiring review and provide a copy of any supporting materials they wish the ARC Access Specialist to consider. This should occur within 10 working days of the ARC decision that prompted the appeal. The ARC Access Specialist’s decision should be given to the student in writing within 5 working days of appeal submission. First-level appeals are provided via a written statement. Students can request to discuss their appeal in person by contacting ARC via email at archelp@uwm.edu.

Step 2. Second Level of Appeal

If the student is not satisfied with the result of Step 1, the student may appeal in writing to the ARC Director. This appeal must be received by the ARC Director within 10 working days of the date of the Step 1 decision. The student should include the following information in their appeal: (1) a clear and concise statement of the issues to be reviewed, (2) a summary of steps taken by the student to resolve the issue(s), (3) a detailed description of the relevant facts, (4) names of persons with relevant information, and (5) a copy of relevant documents or other evidence. The Director will consult with appropriate parties and may meet with the student at the Director’s discretion. The Director will respond to the student in writing within 20 working days of receipt of the appeal.

Step 3. Third Level of Appeal

If the student is not satisfied with the result of Step 2, they may file a final appeal with the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs. The appeal must be made in writing within 10 working days of the date of the Step 2 decision. The student should submit all relevant documentation (as described above). In addition, a chronology of events is helpful. The Vice Provost will consult with appropriate parties and make a decision in writing within 20 working days of receipt of the appeal.

Other Options

In addition to this Appeal Procedure, UWM’s Discriminatory Conduct Policy (S-47) prohibits discrimination against students on the basis of disability. This policy provides a mechanism for students to file complaints with UWM’s Office of Equity/Diversity Services (“EDS”), which is charged with investigating such claims. Any student enrolled at UWM who believes that they have been discriminated against on the basis of disability (including, but not limited to, complaints involving accommodation decisions made by ARC) may file a complaint with EDS.

Liability & Insurance

The student is responsible for any and all liability related to the use of an animal. UWM assumes no liability or responsibility for the care of any animal or for any damage or injury it may cause. University personnel are not required to remove, and will not remove, an animal during emergency evacuation events such as a fire alarm. Students are encouraged to obtain their own private insurance coverage to protect against any claims or findings of harm, injury or damage that may arise from the presence of an animal on UWM’s campus.

Guidance on Documenting an Individual's Need for Assistance Animals in Housing

The following excerpt is provided as a resource as you go through the Accommodation Request process. You can find the full HUD guidelines online.

Guidance on Documenting an Individual’s Need for Assistance Animals in Housing

This section provides best practices for documenting an individual’s need for assistance animals in housing. It offers a summary of information that a housing provider may need to know from a health care professional about an individual’s need for an assistance animal in housing. It is intended to help individuals with disabilities explain to their health care professionals the type of information that housing providers may need to help them make sometimes difficult legal decisions under fair housing laws. It also will help an individual with a disability and their health care provider understand what information may be needed to support an accommodation request when the disability or disability-related need for an accommodation is not readily observable or known by the housing provider. Housing providers may not require a health care professional to use a specific form (including this document), to provide notarized statements, to make statements under penalty of perjury, or to provide an individual’s diagnosis or other detailed information about a person’s physical or mental impairments.49 Housing providers and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development rely on professionals to provide accurate information to the best of their personal knowledge, consistent with their professional obligations. This document only provides assistance on the type of information that may be needed under the Fair Housing Act (FHA). The contents of this document do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the public in any way. This document is intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies. Further, this document does not create any obligation to provide health-care information and does not authorize or solicit the collection of any information not otherwise permitted by the FHA.50

The Appendix to this Guide answers some commonly asked questions about terms and issues below. An understanding of the terms and issues is helpful to providing this information.

When providing this information, healthcare professionals should use personal knowledge of their patient/client – i.e., the knowledge used to diagnose, advise, counsel, treat, or provide health care or other disability-related services to their patient/client. Information relating to an individual’s disability and health conditions must be kept confidential and cannot be shared with other persons unless the information is needed for evaluating whether to grant or deny a reasonable accommodation request or unless disclosure is required by law.51

As a best practice, documentation contemplated in certain circumstances by the Assistance Animals Guidance is recommended to include the following general information:

  • The patient’s name,
  • Whether the health care professional has a professional relationship with that patient/client involving the provision of health care or disability-related services, and
  • The type of animal(s) for which the reasonable accommodation is sought (i.e., dog, cat, bird, rabbit, hamster, gerbil, other rodent, fish, turtle, other specified type of domesticated animal, or other specified unique animal).52

Disability-related information. A disability for purposes of fair housing laws exists when a person has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. 53 Addiction caused by current, illegal use of a controlled substance does not qualify as a disability.54 As a best practice, it is recommended that individuals seeking reasonable accommodations for support animals ask health care professionals to provide information related to the following:

  • Whether the patient has a physical or mental impairment,
  • Whether the patient’s impairment(s) substantially limit at least one major life activity or major bodily function, and
  • Whether the patient needs the animal(s) (because it does work, provides assistance, or performs at least one task that benefits the patient because of his or her disability, or because it provides therapeutic emotional support to alleviate a symptom or effect of the disability of the patient/client, and not merely as a pet).

Additionally, if the animal is not a dog, cat, small bird, rabbit, hamster, gerbil, other rodent, fish, turtle, or other small, domesticated animal that is traditionally kept in the home for pleasure rather than for commercial purposes, it may be helpful for patients to ask health care professionals to provide the following additional information:

  • The date of the last consultation with the patient,
  • Any unique circumstances justifying the patient’s need for the particular animal (if already owned or identified by the individual) or particular type of animal(s), and

Whether the health care professional has reliable information about this specific animal or whether they specifically recommended this type of animal.

It is also recommended that the health care professional sign and date any documentation provided and provide contact information and any professional licensing information.

Appendix

What are assistance animals?

Assistance animals do work, perform tasks, provide assistance, or provide emotional support for a person with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits at least one major life activity or bodily function.55

What are physical or mental impairments?

Physical or mental impairments include: any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: Neurological; musculoskeletal; special sense organs; respiratory, including speech organs; cardiovascular; reproductive; digestive; genito-urinary; hemic and lymphatic; skin; and endocrine; or

Any mental or psychological disorder, such as intellectual disability, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disability; or

Diseases and conditions such as orthopedic, visual, speech and hearing impairments, cerebral palsy, autism, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Human Immunodeficiency Virus infection, mental retardation, emotional illness, drug addiction (other than addiction caused by current, illegal use of a controlled substance) and alcoholism.56

What are major life activities or major bodily functions?

They are: seeing, hearing, walking, breathing, performing manual tasks, caring for one’s self, learning, speaking, and working.57

Other impairments – based on specific facts in individual cases — may also substantially limit at least one major life activity or bodily function.58 

What are Some Examples of Work, Tasks, Assistance, and Emotional Support?

Some examples of work and tasks that are commonly performed by service dogs include59:

  • Assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks,
  • Alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds,
  • Providing non-violent protection or rescue work,
  • Pulling a wheelchair,
  • Alerting a person with epilepsy to an upcoming seizure and assisting the individual during the seizure,
  • Alerting individuals to the presence of allergens,
  • Retrieving the telephone or summoning emergency assistance, or
  • Providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility

Some other examples of work, tasks or other types of assistance provided by animals include:60

  • Helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors,
  • Reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medication,
  • Alerting a person with diabetes when blood sugar is high or low,
  • Taking an action to calm a person with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack,
  • Assisting the person in dealing with disability-related stress or pain,
  • Assisting a person with mental illness to leave the isolation of home or to interact with others,
  • Enabling a person to deal with the symptoms or effects of major depression by providing a reason to live, or
  • Providing emotional support that alleviates at least one identified symptom or effect of a physical or mental

What are examples of a patient’s need for a unique animal or unique circumstances?61

  • The animal is individually trained to do work or perform tasks that cannot be performed by a dog.
  • Information from a health care professional confirms that:
    • Allergies prevent the person from using a dog, or
    • Without the animal, the symptoms or effects of the person’s disability will be significantly
  • The individual seeks a reasonable accommodation to a land use and zoning law, Homeowners Association (HOA) rule, or condominium or co-op
  • The individual seeks to keep the animal outdoors at a house with a fenced yard where the animal can be appropriately


49
See Joint Statement of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Justice, Reasonable Accommodations Under the Fair Housing Act (“Joint Statement”), Q and A’s 13, 16-18 (May 17, 2004), at https://www.hud.gov/sites/documents/huddojstatement.pdf.

50 This guidance does not expand on the obligations under the FHA or HUD’s regulations and should be construed consistently with Executive Order 13891 of October 9, 2019 entitled “Promoting the Rule of Law Through Improved Agency Guidance Documents,” Executive Order 13892 of October 9, 2019 entitled “Promoting the Rule of Law Through Transparency and Fairness in Civil Administrative Enforcement and Adjudication,” the Department of Justice Memorandum of January 25, 2018 entitled “Limiting Use of Agency Guidance Documents in Affirmative Civil Enforcement Cases,” and the Department of Justice Memorandum of November 16, 2017 entitled “Prohibition on Improper Guidance Documents.”

51 See Joint Statement, Q and A 18 (May 17, 2004), at https://www.hud.gov/sites/documents/huddojstatement.pdf.

52 See, e.g., Janush v. Charities Housing Development Corporation, 169 F.Supp.2d 1133, 1136-37 (N.D. Cal. 2000) (rejecting an argument that a definition of “service dog” should be read into the Fair Housing Act to create a rule that accommodation of animals other than service dogs is per se unreasonable, finding that “the law imposes on defendants the obligation to consider each request individually and to grant requests that are reasonable.”).

53 24 C.F.R. § 100.201.

54 24 C.F.R. § 100.201.

55 See 24 C.F.R. §§ 5.303; 960.705.

56 See 24 C.F.R. § 100.201.

57 See 24 C.F.R. § 100.201(b).

58 See 24 C.F.R. § 100.201.

59 See 28 C.F.R. §§ 35.136(f); 36.302(c)(6).

60 See, e.g., Majors v. Housing Authority of the County of DeKalb Georgia, 652 F.2d 454, 457 (5th Cir. 1981); Janush, 169 F.Supp.2d at 1136-37.

61 See, e.g., Anderson v. City of Blue Ash, 798 F.3d 338, 360-63 (6th Cir. 2015) (seeking a reasonable accommodation to keep a miniature horse as an assistance animal).