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Service & Therapy Animals in Student Housing - HUD Fair Housing Act

Published: 2015-02-26
Author: AudioSolutionz LLC | Contact: Shivane Kay - 1 (800) 223-8720

Synopsis: Growing lawsuits campus administrators of student housing are facing regarding service animals in their premises.

Main Digest

The HUD's recent notice on the Fair Housing Act (FHA)and the American with Disabilities Act (ADA)*have come into the limelight with the growing lawsuits that campus administrators of student housing are facing regarding permissible animals in their premises. Expert Deborah C. Brown will address this issue and help campuses protect themselves from potential litigation in a live webinar hosted by AudioSolutionz on Tuesday, March 10, 2015.

In Other News:

A dog trained to provide affection and comfort to people in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools, people with learning difficulties, and stressful situations, such as disaster areas. Therapy dogs come in all sizes and breeds. The most important characteristic of a therapy dog is its temperament. A good therapy dog must be friendly, patient, confident, gentle, and at ease in all situations. Therapy dogs must enjoy human contact and be content to be petted and handled, sometimes clumsily. A therapy dog's primary job is to allow unfamiliar people to make physical contact with it and to enjoy that contact. Children in particular enjoy hugging animals; adults usually enjoy simply petting the dog. The dog might need to be lifted onto, or climb onto, an individual's lap or bed and sit or lie comfortably there.

A growing number of people want to take their emotional support animals with them to places that traditionally do not allow animals, such as airplanes, taxis, restaurants etc. This phenomenon is also on the rise in student housing, with many students claiming that their pets are emotional support animals.

Emotional support animals are companion animals that provide therapeutic benefit, such as alleviating or mitigating some symptoms of disability, to an individual with a mental or psychiatric disability. The tag of emotional support animals may extend beyond cats and dogs to include other animals. In order to have an emotional support animal, one needs a note from a physician or other medical professional stating that the person has a verifiable disability and that the emotional support animal provides a benefit for the individual with the disability.

Federal laws like the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act as well as state laws in some instances have long defined the rights of individuals with disabilities to gain entry for their service animals. However, unlike Service Animals that are trained to assist persons with disabilities, emotional support animals do not need specific training and may cause problems that a service animal would not.

In April 2013, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has issued notice that public universities need to comply with the Fair Housing Act, which permits emotional support animals into college dormitories and residence halls. There have been several high profile enforcement actions by HUD against colleges,**and campus administrators must understand the limits and risks associated with the HUD's directive.

In light of recent high profile claims, the question facing colleges and universities is whether they are permitted to enforce 'no pet' policies when a claim is made that the animal in question is needed for emotional support.

In this webinar at, expert Deborah C. Brown will review the existing legal requirements for animals in housing, the recent efforts to apply the FHA to student housing, and how to make sense of these new developments. This webinar will discuss the distinction between service and emotional support animals as they relate to student housing and disability requirements generally. Deborah will explain the recent efforts by HUD to apply the FHA standards to college-provided housing and provide insights into important policy considerations as they relate to animals on campus and how to decide the institution's approach to handle requests for animals on campus housing, including the range of permissible inquiries and documentation that institutions can require.

AudioSolutionz - the country's leading business enhancing information provider, will conduct a session on Tuesday, March 10, 2015, where expert speaker Deborah C. Brown will be providing information on the existing legal requirements and the impact of FHA on animals in student housing as well as how institutions can protect themselves against the risks of non-compliance with HUD's directives.

The country's leading industry information, training and knowledge provider, AudioSolutionz, has been providing knowledge and training material to professionals on important, trending industry topics, for more than a decade. AudioSolutionz has a panel of experts from across various industries, and helps participants get information, training and advice directly from the speakers. Industry professionals can also get their queries answered in a Q&A session with the expert.. The company specializes in training webinars, conferences, DVDs and transcripts in more than 12 industries across the United States.

For more information, visit


*U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, April 25, 2013, Notice - FHEO-2013-01, accessed on 26th February 2015 from

**The Americans With Disability Act (1990), Title III, Section 36.302(c) Service Animals, (as amended by the final rule published on September 15, 2010), accessed on 26th February 2015, from

***United States of America v. Kent State University, et al, Case: 5:14-cv-01992 (Ohio Northern District Court 9/08/14), accessed on 26th February 2015 from

Quick Facts:

The concept of a therapy dog is often attributed to Elaine Smith, an American who worked as a registered nurse for a time in England. Smith noticed how well patients responded to visits by a certain chaplain and his canine companion, a golden retriever. Over the years health care professionals have noticed the therapeutic effect of animal companionship, such as relieving stress, lowering blood pressure, and raising spirits, and the demand for therapy dogs continues to grow. The concept has widened to include other species, specifically therapy cats, therapy rabbits, and therapy birds. In recent years, therapy dogs have been enlisted to help children overcome speech and emotional disorders.

According to the ADA, any breed can work as a service dog. But breed-specific bans have presented challenges for individuals who use pit bulls as service dogs. A retired police officer named Jim Sak gained national recognition after he won a temporary injunction reuniting him and his pit bull service dog, despite a city ban on the breed. Leavitt also has taken pre-emptive measures to fight breed bans, attending a city council meeting with her pit bull.


According to the University of Arizona, 0.9% of persons with disabilities are partnered with service dogs. In 1990, Congress found that there were 43 million Americans with disabilities, suggesting there are approximately 387,000 service dogs across the US. Guide Dogs reports there are approximately 10,000 guide dogs (from all guide dog schools) in the field. NOTE: This information needs updating, if anyone has the latest reliable service animal statistics, please contact us.

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Cite Page: Journal: Disabled World. Language: English (U.S.). Author: AudioSolutionz LLC. Electronic Publication Date: 2015-02-26. Title: Service & Therapy Animals in Student Housing - HUD Fair Housing Act, Source: <a href=>Service & Therapy Animals in Student Housing - HUD Fair Housing Act</a>. Retrieved 2021-08-02, from - Reference: DW#100-11291.