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Do We Need to Re-Think Breeds in Pet Policies?

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From the time I was a little girl, I have loved animals.  What I have learned through the years is that badly behaved animals are often a by-product of badly behaved owners.  For those of you who are hard and fast “Restrict-the-Breeds” pet policy lovers, please bear with me and read along.  I have a legal reason for raising this subject.

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That Bites!

Those of us who teach (and yes, preach) about fair housing are regularly and routinely asked “Do we have to take restricted breeds as service animals?”  That question is never easy to answer (at least not easy for me), since State laws and various court cases are not consistent on this topic and issue. And let’s be honest – the question is usually a paraphrase of “Do we have to take pit bulls?”  (Right or wrong, when we hear on the news that tragically a child has been mauled or killed by a dog, we usually do not wonder if the canine involved is a Peek-a-poo.)   Well, now the question will be easier for me answer when asked, but you probably won’t like the answer.  And continuing with the “let’s be honest” theme here, I will admit that I don’t like the answer that I will be giving.  This is one of the (not very often) times that I disagree with what HUD is saying.      Recently, on April 25, 2013 to be exact, HUD issued a notice about service animals, updating and clarifying some of the issues that relate to integrating service animals into the multifamily housing environment.  Included in that notice was a discussion about limitations.  Here goes, directly cut-and-pasted from HUD’s document: Breed, size, and weight limitations may not be applied to an assistance animal. A determination that an assistance animal poses a direct threat of harm to others or would cause substantial physical damage to the property of others ......
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