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Service Animals, Fair Housing, and You

by Nadeen Green, JD

nadeen-green-50For those of us who teach and write about fair housing, we have come to learn that the topic of service animals is the one that everyone wants to hear about (I sometimes joke that it is unlawful to teach a fair housing class without a reference to service animals). 

It is an everyday topic for housing providers, including those in the manufactured home community environment. 

Service animal issues can be challenging, they can be frustrating, and sometimes they can even be a tad strange.  I could tell you about domestic rats, ten rabbits, an iguana and the like.

But sometimes there is the story that is pretty and amazing, and so what I would like to do is to tell you about Andromeda, as I have just learned about her.

Here is the story of Andromeda - the Latex-Detecting Dog...

Andromeda is a black Lab, and her human is Patsy Hayes. Ms. Hayes is so allergic to latex (think balloons at an office party, rubber bands, a yoga mat) that even the slightest contact could trigger an anaphylactic reaction - a life-threatening allergic reaction. Andromeda has been trained to detect latex and when she does, she will begin sniffing drastically, bracket the latex source with her body, and sit and stare at the latex item so that Ms. Hayes will know to stay away.

This is not phony (training a dog like Andromeda is a one-year process costing $12,500 and training the dog's human is at a cost of $2,500). This is not trivial as some folks are not able to venture from their homes even for the most basic of reasons because of the risk of exposure to a substance that could kill them (dogs can be taught to detect nuts, milk, wheat, soy and eggs that can cause serious reactions).

This is pretty awesome, isn't it? And it will also be awesome if you remember this: if Ms. Hayes wants to be a part of your manufactured housing community and bring Andromeda with her, Andromeda is not a pet and no pet rules, pet restrictions, pet fees, pet rent or the like at your community apply. And while I have told you all about this, sharing Ms. Hayes’s story, remember that Ms. Hayes does not have to tell you anything except that she has a disability and needs Andromeda because of that.

This certainly expands on the old adage that a dog is wo/man's best friend. ##

nadeen-green-125By Nadeen Green, JD, the Fair Housing Lady.