HUD sues over service animals

Discussion in 'General Health & Wellness' started by TwoCatDoctors, Aug 9, 2009.

  1. TwoCatDoctors

    TwoCatDoctors New Member

    [This is an article about disabled and service animals. I have placed it here in the Health Section because service animals are considered part of medical equipment needed for the health of disabled people. You may question why a person may need a service animal for emotional problems, but our service men are coming home with tremendous PTSD and some with terrible flashbacks. I saw a show on TV where Prisoners are training service animals to be all day long with our discharged service people to help them when they suddenly go into a flashback and to help them come out of those flashbacks and then try to function in the regular world. It's amazing what service animals can do.]

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    FROM: NEWSDAY.COM
    HUD sues Lindenhurst senior complex over pets policy
    July 28, 2009 by ERIC LUU / eric.luu@newsday.com

    The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said Monday it charged Sunrise Villas, a Lindenhurst senior complex, with discrimination because its pets policy discriminates against some disabled people who need service animals.

    The charges came after Long Island Housing Services, which promotes fair housing under a HUD initiative, investigated a complaint about bathroom accommodations at the complex. The Bohemia group sent out testers, who discovered the pets policy.

    The Long Island Housing Services tests were conducted in 2007 and 2008. They revealed that the complex, where residents 55 and over live, allowed service animals for certain disabled residents such as the visually impaired, said Michelle Sanantonio, the housing group's executive director. However, it denied accommodations to other disabled people, including quadriplegics and people with emotional problems.

    Sunrise Villas officials did not return telephone calls seeking comment.
    The Fair Housing Act states that it is illegal to deny "reasonable" accommodations to the disabled.

    "The law doesn't only require equal treatment," Sanantonio said. "The law requires more than that, as they must provide accommodations for the disabled."

    Sanantonio said a resident at the complex who needed grab bars installed in his unit prompted the tests. The resident, the director said, believed the walls were not stable enough to support the bars, so he called the housing group. No charges were filed in that case, but it led the organization to send testers out to investigate whether the complex was in compliance on other matters. That's when the limited pets policy was discovered.

    Long Island Housing Services hopes this case will make disabled housing residents more aware of their rights.

    "We wanted to educate people about their housing rights," Sanantonio said. "We also want to teach people what the law requires for fair housing."

    Adam Glantz, a HUD spokesman, said the agency's goal is to change the policy at the complex. "We're not asking them to remove the 'no pets' policy," he said Monday. "We just want revisions and the consideration that service animals are not pets."

    A U.S. administrative law judge will hear the case unless the parties reach a settlement or decide to have the case heard in federal court, HUD said. If an administrative law judge finds discrimination, he could award damages to complainants.

    Service Animal Registry of America (SARA) TM
    http://affluent.net/sara
    "Discrimination of a service animal is the discrimination of the disabled."