HUD asks FTC to investigate websites selling assistance animal documentation

Recently, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson wrote to Chairman of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Joseph J. Simons and Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection Andrew Smith requesting that the FTC investigate certain websites that may be selling assistance animal documentation.

“These certificates are not an acceptable substitute for authentic documentation provided by medical professionals when appropriate,” said Secretary Carson. “These websites that sell assistance animal certificates are often also misleading by implying that they are affiliated with the federal government. Nothing could be further from the truth. Their goal is to convince individuals with disabilities that they need to spend hundreds of dollars on worthless documentation to keep their assistance animal in their homes.”

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ESA Gator

People Are Taking Emotional Support Animals Everywhere. States Are Cracking Down.

More Americans are saying they need a variety of animals — dogs, ducks, even insects — for their mental health. But critics say many are really just pets that do not merit special status.
The vast majority of emotional support animals are dogs, but some Americans turn to a wide variety of other species. Wally the alligator was approved by his owner’s doctor in York, Pa., as an alternative to taking medication for depression.

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Landlord to pay $1M in emotional support animal lawsuit

MEEKER, Colo. – Residents with disabilities using the Meeker Housing Authority won a discrimination lawsuit for $1 million. The suit was filed after their landlord told them their emotional support animals would not be allowed without paying an additional pet fee.

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Dog Days in Dorms

Colleges see sharp increase in students who want emotional support animals to live with them. Administrators worry those students may not have a real need but want their pets as companions.

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US District Court: Paying for online documentation not a bypass for supporting evidence of disability and need for a service dog

The ADA Registry service is not a certification process, and the only requirement to obtain a service dog identification card is a $55 payment. As a result of Plaintiff’s failure to provide supporting evidence of his disability and need for a service dog, Defendants advised Plaintiff that his request for reasonable accommodation could not be granted..

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Landlord fined $15,000 after denying renter’s emotional support animal

A New York landlord has been slapped with a $15,000 fine to settle a discrimination case involving a mentally ill tenant and her emotional support animal, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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HUD and DOJ challenge Facebook’s advertising platforms under the Fair Housing Act

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has filed an administrative complaint against Facebook alleging discriminatory advertising in violation of the Fair Housing Act (FHA). HUD alleges that housing advertisers can use Facebook’s advertising tools and algorithms to exclude applicants based on protected categories such as race, sex, or national origin.

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Berardelli Ex Rel. MB v. Allied Services Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine

As a matter of first impression, despite the absence of a regulation specifically interpreting the RA’s mandate of “reasonable accommodations,” the RA generally requires that individuals with disabilities be permitted to be accompanied by their service animals, consistent with the mandate of “reasonable modifications” under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Such requested accommodations are per se reasonable.

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