If you have an emotional support animal, it’s essential to know the law and know your rights. Unfortunately, many establishments are not always willing to accommodate emotional support animals, and you may find yourself in a situation where you need legal assistance. Below are a few instances when you may need to consult with a lawyer about your emotional support animal.
About 27% of Americans rented their home in 2016. That rate is expected to grow as homes become more challenging to buy. Under the Fair Housing Act law, landlords must make reasonable accommodations for tenants with disabilities, including emotional support animals. If you’re denied housing or told that you cannot have an emotional support animal, you may need to consult with a lawyer. If you’re facing eviction, it’s also essential to seek legal assistance as soon as possible. An eviction record could make it difficult to find future housing. If you know you need to continue to look for rentals for housing and are facing an eviction notice, get help from a lawyer right away.
The Americans with Disabilities Act requires airlines to accommodate passengers with disabilities, including emotional support animals. Airlines have been known to change their policies regarding emotional support animals, so it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest rules. However, policy changes do not supersede changes in the law, so you may still have legal recourse if you’re denied airline travel with your emotional support animal. If you’re told that you cannot bring your emotional support animal on a flight or are denied boarding, you may want to consult with a lawyer.
Small businesses might discriminate against you for an emotional support animal, such as not serving you or providing you with high-quality products. This discrimination is not only inconvenient for you but could interfere with your animal’s feeding schedule. For example, your dog should get two to three meals a day at specific times. If a small business refuses to serve you or your dog, the result will throw off your dog’s feeding schedule. According to a study by the SBA, between 36% and 53% of small businesses deal with lawsuits annually. If you’re denied service or entry into a small business because of your emotional support animal, document the interaction if possible. Then, consult with a lawyer to see if you have a case.
Living in a community governed by a homeowners association (HOA) means you may be subject to HOA rules and regulations. These rules may include animal breed or size restrictions, and emotional support animals may not be exempt. If you’re facing HOA violations because of your emotional support animal, consult with a lawyer to see if you have any legal options.
The Americans with Disabilities Act also applies to the workplace, and employers must make reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities. Sadly, many workplaces don’t support having animals, and bringing in your animal might cause issues. If your workplace is discriminating against you because of your emotional support animal, know you are well within the law to request a reasonable accommodation. Document the issue, and consult with an employment lawyer to see what your next steps should be.
It’s important to distinguish between a service animal and an emotional support animal. The Americans with Disabilities Act defines a service animal as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability. These tasks can include guiding a person who is blind, alerting them to an impending seizure, or providing physical support. The Americans with Disabilities Act also protects people who have service animals. A lawyer can help you understand the law and know your rights regarding having a service animal. It’s best to seek legal help if you’re unsure about your rights or are being discriminated against because of your service animal.
If you need more information or have questions about your specific situation, it’s best to consult with an experienced lawyer in your area. They can help advise you on the best course of action and help protect your rights. Contact a lawyer today so you and your emotional support animal can live your best life together.