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Service Animals Deserve Reasonable Accommodation, Federal Authorities Say

Blind man with guide dog sitting on sofa at home

For the second time this year, the Trump administration is weighing in on where and how animals assisting people with disabilities should be welcome, reports Disability Scoop.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is issuing new guidelines clarifying the rights of people with disabilities to have service animals in their homes.

Under the federal Fair Housing Act, people with disabilities can request that support animals be allowed as a reasonable accommodation, even in housing situations with no pet policies. However, there has been “ambiguity surrounding proper documentation for assistance animals,” according to Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson.

“Countless Americans rely on assistance animals to fill a void, providing individuals with disabilities with the means to have a home that supports their quality of life,” Carson said. “In my many discussions with housing providers and residents impacted by the need for assistance, I recognised the necessity for further clarity regarding support animals to provide peace of mind to individuals with disabilities while also taking in account the concerns of housing providers.”

The 19-page document issued by the housing agency this week serves as a step-by-step guide for how to evaluate animal-related reasonable accommodation requests. It clarifies that federal law does allow people with disabilities to access service, support and other types of assistance animals in their homes so long as certain criteria are met.

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