Animal Welfare Professionals

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  • 1.  Emotional Support Animals (cats)

    Posted 11-17-2023 09:28 AM

    The Sasawin Safe Haven program of the Women's Center supports the animal companions of domestic violence survivors.  We have a situation that is frustrating and I'm hoping for suggestions and help.  One of survivors moved to an apartment (rented) two months ago and the management has delayed on making decision on permitting Emotional Service Animals for the survivor.  The survivor obtained a letter from her physician saying that the survivor needs an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) but unfortunately the letter refers to just one animal.  We, at Sasawin, have requested and shown evidence that there are two bonded cats that the survivor would like to live with her.  Today we found out that property management replied she may have one animal.  So now the survivor has to choose between two adults cats who have been together since they were kittens?   We are very aware that the property management cannot deny the ESA, without good reason, based on the the civil rights associated with the Federal Housing Act.   Any suggestions?  An agency to contact for help?  Thank you.   Helen


    #CommunityPartnerships*

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    Helen Kahn
    Sasawin Safe Haven
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  • 2.  RE: Emotional Support Animals (cats)

    Posted 11-17-2023 11:34 AM

    It's frustrating because cats are normally easy to get in. Can they charge a pet deposit that you guys cover?



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    janet kelly
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  • 3.  RE: Emotional Support Animals (cats)

    Posted 11-25-2023 12:58 PM

    It is my understanding that a pet deposit is illegal per FHA laws for an emotional support animal.  Of course, property managers and owners will charge whatever fees they can get away with but I have read that these pet deposits for both a service animal or ESA is not legal since it is discrimination as pertains to the reason (disorder or disability) that the person has an ESA.  



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    Helen Kahn
    Sasawin Safe Haven
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  • 4.  RE: Emotional Support Animals (cats)

    Posted 11-20-2023 05:11 AM

    It's my understanding that because ESA's are not considered normal pets, they are exempt from housing restrictions and any limit on # of pets would not apply to the ESA. 



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    Kate Rachiele
    Pet Program & Operations Administrator
    Willow Domestic Violence Center
    Rochester, NY
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  • 5.  RE: Emotional Support Animals (cats)

    Posted 11-25-2023 12:56 PM

    Thank you for your replies and ideas.  I'm not sure if it's different in Michigan where we are located but a letter for one emotional support animal means just one.  If a second emotional support animal is requested it must be for support also.  I know, it's stupefying considering there are no specific laws that govern emotional support animals in Michigan or the U.S. The only "laws" are those that pertain to discrimination under the Federal Housing Act.

    We think we have a solution.  The survivor has a daughter.  She is getting a second letter for the second cat of the bonded pair.  That way the property manager cannot say "no" since there is one ESA per person living in the same apartment.  

    Stay tuned.  I will let you know how this plays out.



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    Helen Kahn
    Sasawin Safe Haven
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  • 6.  RE: Emotional Support Animals (cats)

    Posted 11-27-2023 10:21 AM

    I bet that will work for you and your client, Helen! It sounds like you have a good understanding of ESAs and housing rights. For anyone who wants to know more, Maddie's University has a new course authored by attorney Dianne Prado of the Housing Equity & Advocacy Resource Team (HEART LA) titled Keeping Tenants and Their Pets Together. It goes through the right questions to ask of tenants facing issues keeping their pets and the various options for them. Dianne also encourages people to reach out to HEART LA with any questions. If she can't answer them, she will try to connect you with someone in your state who can. 



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    Erika Shaffer
    Maddie's Fund
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  • 7.  RE: Emotional Support Animals (cats)

    Posted 30 days ago

    Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) provide comfort and companionship to individuals with emotional or psychological disabilities. Unlike service animals, they are not trained to perform specific tasks but rather offer therapeutic benefits through their presence. ESAs can help reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions by offering unconditional love and support to their owners. They play a crucial role in promoting emotional well-being and enhancing quality of life for those in need. If you're considering an ESA and renting, it's important to understand when a landlord can legally reject one. Check out this link for more information: When Can a Landlord Legally Reject an ESA?



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    Monroe Ailani
    none
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    NLE
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