Meeting to discuss service animals in the home

Renters, landlords to learn rights

By Sam Wildow - [email protected]

PIQUA — The city of Piqua will be hosting an upcoming presentation for renters and landlords on the rights of having service animals in the home, as well as providing landlords information on how to protect their rights.

“There are a lot of misconceptions of who can have a service care animal or (companion) animals,” Development Program Manager Nikki Reese said.

The presentation, which is free and open to the public, will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20, in the city commission chambers of the municipal government complex at 201 W. Water St.

In the spring, in conjunction with the Southview Neighborhood Association, the city held a workshop on renters’ and landlords’ rights and regulations. Questions arose from that workshop about who is lawfully permitted to have service or companion animals within a rented home even if the landlord does not allow pets.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) reaffirmed its stance in April 2013 that housing providers must provide reasonable accommodations to persons with disabilities who require assistance animals. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires equal access for people with disabilities using trained service dogs in public accommodations and government facilities. Under the Fair Housing Act, housing providers have a further obligation to accommodate people with disabilities who, because of their disability, require trained service dogs or other types of assistance animals to perform tasks, provide emotional support, or alleviate the effects of their disabilities.

During the city’s presention, John Zimmerman, vice president of the Miami Valley Fair Housing Center, will lead the discussion on the provision of allowing service or companion animals in housing such as apartments, condominiums, and single-family rentals. He will discuss the obligations of property managers and the obligations of owners of service animals. He will also compare how this housing provision differs from the provision of service animals in places of public accommodations like restaurants, malls, doctors’ offices, and government buildings.

The presentation can benefit both renters and landlords, as it will provide information on the rights for people with service animals, as well as how landlords can protect themselves against people abusing the system.

Community members such as parents with disabled children and veterans are encouraged to attend the meeting if they wish to learn more about the qualifications for getting a service or companion animal.

Service or companion animals are not just limited to dogs, and they are not just limited to helping those with a physical disability. According to the ADA, a service animal is generally a dog trained to perform tasks that benefit someone living with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.

Companion animals are not necessarily trained to perform certain tasks, but they are there to provide soothing companionship. From dogs and cats to horses and pot-bellied pigs, a variety of companion animals are used to help people living with a disability or other health issue, e.g, a developmental disability like autism or a mental health disorder like depression or dementia. Companion animals have also been known to help elderly people who lack a certain amount of social interaction with other people.

Renters, landlords to learn rights

By Sam Wildow

[email protected]

Reach Sam Wildow at [email protected] or (937) 451-3336

Reach Sam Wildow at [email protected] or (937) 451-3336

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