HUD charge: St. Cloud landlord said 'no pets' to blind woman with service dog

  • Article by: Paul Walsh , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 27, 2013 - 11:18 PM

A landlord is accused of refusing to rent an apartment in St. Cloud to a disabled woman because her service dog violated his “no pets” policy, federal housing authorities allege in a discrimination complaint.

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cvalcitSep. 27, 13 4:59 PM

Have fun paying those legal fees. They will make any potential dog damage look very small.

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mouthwashSep. 27, 13 5:01 PM

There are usually two sides to the coin in connection with issues of disability, though. For example, an amusement park in Florida was recently forced to relinquish its polity of letting disabled passengers go to the front of the line -- because they were abusing the privilege. Similar, many wheelchair passengers on transit buses have come to abuse the privilege of priority boarding by doing things such as moviegoing-joyriding. Hopefully Metro Transit will consider alternatives such as "needs passes" for handicapped passengers to be able to receive priority boarding. Similarly with guard dogs, many blind people abuse the privilege and essentially do make them into unofficial pets with the corresponding stench, barking, etc. Therefore, in connection with issues of disability overall, each separate instance should be treated separately.

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jastkeSep. 27, 13 5:02 PM

Service dogs are not pets. Therefore the dog does not break the "no pets" rule. The dog is allowed and the rule is not broken. Simple as that.

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realityfirstSep. 27, 13 5:08 PM

This dog is not a service animal. It has no training. Printing off a certification letter from a website is not the same thing as having a seeing eye dog. I hope the landlord fights this all the way. First it was people who just wanted their pet to come along on the airplane now they are using this pathetic excuse to force their pets into apartments. The airlines should have put a stop to this immediately but now the snowball is cascading down a mountain.

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navynuke86Sep. 27, 13 5:17 PM

So, what if you had adjacent tenants that had significant pet (animal) allergies. You get forced to allow a dog and now you'll get sued by the other tenant for violating their rights and contaminating the apartment building with pet dander.

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Lifeguard06Sep. 27, 13 6:10 PM

We'll change it to no animals then. Not discrimination.

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jkbw55Sep. 27, 13 6:43 PM

Plenty of folks have been abusing the designation of support dog. It allows them to take their best buddy to all sorts of places dogs are not usually allowed. These dogs are not the same as a highly trained service dog. If you have a dog and want to move into a place that doesn't allow dogs, all you have to do is produce your piece of paper that is easily obtained online. Since most dogs provide their owner with emotional support,that makes just about everyones dog a support dog. The landlord's hands are tied.

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spicebearSep. 27, 13 7:14 PM

These things are always more complicated that is reported in the news. As an apt manager, I faced a similar situation when I rejected a prospective tenant due to poor rental referrals. The tenant used ADA to file a complaint and I was drug through the mud in the local paper. In the end I won.

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realityfirstSep. 27, 13 7:45 PM

I can't believe what a bias this article was written with as though blind woman with service dog means that it was a seeing eye dog. The length and the timing of when the article was posted also show that the star tribune has no idea what an important issue this is. The precedent that a case like this could set is huge. The issue is anyone can go online and get any animal certified as their service animal. HUD and the ADA need to immediately define the circumstances in which rights for a service animal are applicable. Otherwise one of the people who who thumbed down my previous comment are going to find themselves sitting down to dinner in a restaurant or flying on an airplane next to someone with their 6 foot boa constrictor service/emotional support animal.

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DufferHSep. 27, 13 8:12 PM

This will be an expensive lesson for the landlord. Federal law trumps his "no pet policy" every time.

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