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Landlords, Renters, and Service Dogs

ADA Sign Depot

September 28, 2013

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Getting a Dog Into a No-Pet Building
Do You Have a Doctor’s Note?

Published: September 27, 2013

Read the full New York Times article here

Kody Keplinger, who is legally blind, had reservations about getting a service dog before deciding to take the plunge earlier this year. One of her concerns was how her building, which doesn’t allow dogs, would deal with her request; another was whether she could handle the responsibility of owning a pet.

The trainer from the agency that matched her with a German shepherd named Corey helped ease the transition on both fronts, accompanying her when she spoke with her landlord and emphasizing the training that service dogs receive.

“A legitimate concern my landlord did have was whether there would be any peeing in the apartment,” Ms. Keplinger recalled. Describing Corey, she added: “That is something she’s been trained for — she actually goes on command. I take her to a spot and tell her when she should go.”

Although Ms. Keplinger’s landlord didn’t challenge her need for a service dog, people at movie theaters and in other public places have accused her of faking her disability. She worries that dishonest requests for service or support animals will have negative repercussions for people who really need them.

“Frankly,” she said, “I would rather a few people slip through the cracks and cheat the system than have the regulations made harder on people who need service dogs. It is a very complicated issue, and I understand it’s frustrating for landlords and co-ops.

“Unfortunately, there is no perfect solution.”

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