Legality of Housing with ESA, SDIT, PSD, and so much more,

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Legality of Housing with ESA, SDIT, PSD, and so much more,

This is a discussion on Legality of Housing with ESA, SDIT, PSD, and so much more, within the Working Dogs forums, part of the Dog Shows and Performance category; Hello all! I'm writing to you in hopes to get a couple of things figured out! And we're new here (we as in Stella, the ...

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Old 01-08-2015, 03:57 AM
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Smile Legality of Housing with ESA, SDIT, PSD, and so much more,

Hello all!

I'm writing to you in hopes to get a couple of things figured out!

And we're new here (we as in Stella, the dog, and I).

Well to jump in, Stella is currently an ESA. She's great, does quite a good job at keeping me in check, calming my nerves, helping me soothe, etc. Brilliant what animals can do, and really, what she has done and provided for me.

A bit about her- she's just over a year old 25-30 lb Formosan Mountain Dog (she was picked up off the streets and then flew over from Taiwan as a 3 mo pup). I've known her since the day she set foot in the USA, fostered her and then adopted her on January 1st of 2014. She's timid, as most of these street dogs are, though she is getting better daily. I think it's just her parents were street dogs, her parents parents were street dogs... You know, not exactly bred to be a lap dog! Anyways, I try to take her with me everywhere that allows me to, to the park, the beach, she's great with other dogs.

Being an ESA I've had the pleasure of having her live with me in a sober living house. While they don't "allow" dogs, they said they could let her because of her status. Now, I'm moving, closer to my parents, and need to find another sober living house to move in to, though 99.9% don't "allow" dogs. I've been turned down once already because of this. However, does her status remain in shared housing environments like these? I know it's a really slim chance anyone will know the answer, thought I'd ask. Don't know if it's worth putting up the fight, or if I should just settle into my own place finally.

Second, I have psychiatric and physical disabilities that qualify me for a service dog. PTSD is my biggest thing I guess you could call it right now, though I have clusters of other debilitating symptoms. I have cardiovascular problems that Stella has already showed signs of being able to detect.

So question for the second question- I have done the VERY basics with her. Leash and off leash training. Comes when called. Sits. Lays down (Er, well, 80% haha). I'm going to be doing some long line work with her here soon because I have the time and it'd be good for her, and also enroll in some classes with her.

I would like to go about training her myself.

Now, I know, big task, and let me say, while I have not trained a service dog before (hence the questions) I have done basic training, as well was a professional horse trainer (very different, yet requires I'd say at least an equal amount of patience and understanding).

Sorry this is so long, almost done-

*SDIT- what rights does it have as far as entrance to public places?
* are there specifics for psd or are they refined by my needs or both?
* what has been most helpful in training your sd (what task, command, etc)

Or can someone help me brainstorm what it is I need to teach her, or, can someone help me brainstorm what I should have a trainer be teaching US (it's ok, tell me if I'm way out of my league, this is meant to be successful, I'm leaving my pride out of it)

Thanks so much!
Rachel and Stella
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Old 01-18-2015, 09:12 AM
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I don't know about the US but in the UK the only assistance dogs granted access and other privileges are only those that have been trained by the relevant, assistance dog training organisations - for instance Guide Dogs for the Blind, Hearing Dogs for the Deaf etc.

Privately trained dogs, no matter how well trained, will be considered pet dogs with no privileges or rights of access.

Are there any 'assistance dogs' organisations that you could contact for more guidance?

Good luck.
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Old 01-19-2015, 01:06 PM
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Great for you! Training a dog as a SD is hard work from what I hear, but she seems like she has a good start.

First question real quick (not trying to be rude or anything!): Are you diagnosed with a disability (ex: anxiety, PTSD, depression, OCD, etc)? Like, did a doctor actually diagnose it? That will help in the future, in case of legal disputes. Did you have your doctor fill out a form for you last landlord? (it usually lists disability and they sign that they believe having an ESA is necessary for you)

I can't help with the training portion, but I do know that you are allowed to train your own dog to be your service dog in the US (they just have to be trained to do some specific task that helps with your disability). There is no real legal service dog registry, but I would make sure that your doctor/therapist/psychiatrist knows of the service dog and what they do for you for legal reasons (like if you ever get in some sort of legal battle and have to prove that they are a real service dog, such as an access dispute like if a business refuses you access and you take them to court). Also, I think that some of the only people that can ask for proof that a SD is an SD or what disability you have that your SD helps you with are your landlord and your employer (if you take her to work). Businesses cannot ask for proof or ask about your disability, and they cannot deny you access, though some will fight you on it and make a big deal out of it (and you can press charges if necessary, because it is illegal). However, they can ask if your dog is necessary for a disability (though not what the disability is) and what specific tasks it is trained to do. I’m not completely sure about SDiTs, but they are allowed access if they are being trained.

And from my knowledge, any housing that is compliant with the Fair Housing Act has to allow ESAs. I'm not sure what kind of alcohol free housing you are looking at. Are you renting a property (including apartments)? I know that even transitional housing and homeless shelters have to allow them as "reasonable accommodation".
However, there are some rules. Such as, if your ESA (or even SD) damages property, you are responsible for it. They can deny access of a ESA if it is dangerous (ex: attacks someone/another pet). I don't know all of the specific rules though.

Also, each state and county may have additional laws regarding ESAs and SDs, though they cannot conflict with Federal law. I don’t know about where you live.
Keep in mind, I don't have an SD and I don't know everything! (I do have an ESA, though).
Check out, it seems to have some great information. And definitely check with any SD organizations in your area!
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