Every week, we bring you emotional support animal news. In this installment of ESA news report, we’re filling you in on two pieces. The first is about a Colorado ESA owner who has just won a $1 million settlement from his housing provider. The second is about an ESA German Shepherd who faces eviction for being too large for the apartment.
ESA Owner Wins Housing Lawsuit Settlement
A.J. White, a resident of the rural town of Meeker, Colorado, has just been paid $1 million in a lawsuit settlement. When White moved into his rented apartment some years ago, he was charged a pet fee to live with his two cats. However, Haim and Genki are not pets, but rather emotional support animals.
White has lived with ADHD, depression, extreme anxiety, and suicidal thoughts for years. His two cats were prescribed by a mental health professional to help him improve his quality of life.
The housing providers refused to enforce the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and insisted on charging a pet fee regardless. They also put other roadblocks in the way of White, infringing on his rights as an ESA owner.
After taking the case to court, a judge ruled that the Meeker’s housing providers had violated the law. According to the judge, they had been discriminating against tenants with mental disabilities. Thus, the housing board was told to pay a $1 million settlement for the emotional burden placed on White.
Emotional Support Dog Faces Eviction from Rented Apartment
An army veteran and his German Shepherd, Tiger, are being threatened with eviction. According to the housing provider, the dog is too big to comply with the apartment’s pet size requirements. As the dog weighs more than twenty pounds, which exceeds the maximum weight limit, they may soon become homeless.
The veteran who preferred not to be named said that he is desperate to find a solution. He needs his German Shepherd by his side to cope with his PTSD, which he developed after two tours in Afghanistan. Now, he doesn’t know what to do.
The man has already submitted a valid ESA letter to his landlord. Unfortunately, the housing provider doesn’t want to budge on this issue. According to them, because the dog has not been trained by a professional and is too heavy to comply with the pet policy, the two will be evicted.
Currently, the vet is looking to arrange training for Tiger. He is hopeful that, if the dog is trained, the landlord will change their mind.
CertaPet’s Thoughts on This Week’s News
Here at CertaPet, we are glad to hear the Meeker resident will receive their monetary compensation. The Federal Housing Act (FHA) exists to protect people with disabilities from discrimination. Charging a pet fee to ESA owners is illegal and a breach of their legal rights. Thus, we are happy to see the judge recognizing the rights that ESA owners and their companions have!
At the same rate, we’re gutted to see the poor treatment of the army veteran and his dog, Tiger. According to the FHA, emotional support dogs are not considered pets and, thus, do not need to comply with an apartment’s pet policy. Nor do they need to be professionally trained.
We are rooting for the housing provider to change their mind about this situation. After all, the tenant is doing nothing wrong by living with their ESA!
It’s important to remember that ESA owners must be provided with reasonable accommodation As long as they have a valid ESA letter. To get yours today, take our 5-minute free pre-creening! If your answers indicate that you may qualify for an ESA letter, we will connect you with a licensed mental health professional (LMHP) in your state and you could have your ESA letter in next to no time!
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