FLORIDA – Condos turning into animal farms over abuse of law

myPalmBeachPost: Condos turning into animal farms over abuse of law

By Ryan Poliakoff
February 27, 2016

Question: My 55-plus condo community of 220-plus units has a “no dog” policy. Within the last two years people with service animals are using disability statutes to preempt this policy that has been in place for years.

Pushback is happening now — not just here but in many places — by most of the population that sees blatant abuse of the statutes that give this disability group cover to live anywhere they want with the flimsiest of service animal disability certification.

Included here is a copy of a “disclosure” HOA letter that is being utilized by an HOA to discourage this trend.

My question is, what recent developments and laws or statutes are being implemented to deal with this growing abuse of property rights and the very real long-term diminution of legitimate disability efforts? — A.J.

Answer: I am guessing that the “service animal disclosure requirements” letter that you forwarded was drafted by an armchair lawyer who does not understand the law as it applies to condominiums and HOAs. Particularly, it references provisions that relate to service animals (trained dogs governed by the ADA) and not animals that are proscribed by a physician as a medically necessary treatment for a disability, pursuant to the Fair Housing Act.

Further, the conclusion it expressly reaches, that the law implies that, by definition, the owner of a service animal may be a danger to himself or others due to his or her condition, is flawed and unsupportable. And to that end, this HOA’s requirement that every person seeking a pet exemption provide a written statement from a doctor certifying that the individual’s behavior “doesn’t present a danger as regards destructive behavior” is certainly not enforceable under the law.  Read more:

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