May 122013

Service animals and assistance animals are not pets. Whether a dog or a miniature pony, they are crucial for someone with visual, hearing, motor or mental disabilities to perform daily activities and live independently. Assistance animals can alert people to an impending seizure or the presence of allergens; they can retrieve items such as medicine or the telephone. They can provide crucial emotional support.

As of Tuesday, the federal government has made it clear that service animals and assistance animals must be viewed differently than pets when it comes to housing. Landlords are required to provide accommodations for individuals with disabilities requiring the support of service animals and other assistance animals that “perform tasks, provide emotional support or otherwise alleviate the impact of a person’s disability.”

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– Thanks to Care2