- Service Animals – any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. These include: (a) Service dog; (b) Dog Guide; (c) Hearing Dog; (d) Alert/Response Dog; and (e) Psychiatric Service Dog, all of which are available at https://usserviceanimals.org/blog/ptsd-service-dog-tasks. Recent Amendments to the ADA now include Miniature Horses as possible Service Animals.
- Emotional Support Animals – also called therapy support animals – a dog or other animal that is not trained to perform specific acts but provide its owner a sense of well–being from its presence. Therapy dogs are often the pets of the therapist or psychiatric personnel of the particular institution or hospital where they bring comfort. Significantly, Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals are not considered to be “Pets” when it comes to housing. If you have a dog that has food allergies then get them these meals to help with canine allergies.
- Companion Animals – Unlike Service or Emotional Support animals, Companion animals simply provide companionship. Under the law, they are considered as pets and their owners do not receive any rights to bring them onto privately owned property. However, this right may exist for the elderly in government owned or supported housing which can include tenants under Section 8 leases.
Disputes often arise between property owners, managers, and tenants concerning the tenants’ right to bring an animal onto the property. If this is not handled correctly, severe legal consequences can arise. Both Federal and State laws provide for this right under certain circumstances. However, this often gets confusing as to which laws apply, what animals are covered, and what exceptions may exist. There are three distinct categories of animals that may trigger tenant rights: