Service & Emotional Support Animals: A Primer on Animal Accommodation Laws

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CLE Credits earned: 2 GENERAL (or 2 LAW & LEGAL for WA state)

It seems like service and emotional support animals are everywhere these days and the ease in which someone can get “certified” raises eyebrows. Is there really an epidemic of people fraudulently using the disability protections to bring Fido to the grocery store or avoid a pet fee? Learn the basics of animal accommodation requests; distinctions between service, assistance, and therapy animals; ways to manage dubious requests; the responsibilities of each party; and how to help avoid costly discrimination claims.

This course is co-sponsored by the Federal Bar Association.

Key topics to be discussed:

•   The basics of animal accommodation laws
•   The distinctions between service, assistance, and comfort/therapy animals
•   Protections available for individuals living with a disability
•   How residential and commercial property manager clients can avoid discrimination claims

Date / Time: May 13, 2019

•   2:00 pm – 4:00 pm Eastern
•   1:00 pm – 3:00 pm Central
•   12:00 pm – 2:00 pm Mountain
•   11:00 am – 1:00 pm Pacific

Choose a format:

•   Live Video Broadcast/Re-Broadcast: Watch Program “live” in real-time, must sign-in and watch program on date and time set above. May ask questions during presentation via chat box. Qualifies for “live” CLE credit.
•   On-Demand Video: Access CLE 24/7 via on-demand library and watch program anytime. Qualifies for self-study CLE credit. On-demand versions are made available 7 business days after the original recording date and are view-able for up to one year.

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Original Broadcast Date: June 12, 2018

Abby Volin, Esq. is the President and Founder of Opening Doors, a consulting firm that helps residential and commercial property professionals manage pets on properties. Ms. Volin is also a nationally recognized subject matter expert on animal accommodation laws. Prior to founding Opening Doors, she worked at The Humane Society of the United States as a public policy specialist on numerous companion animal issues, with a focus on housing and animal accommodation legislation. Before her venture into animal welfare and policy, Ms. Volin worked as a litigator in the New York City office of Harris Beach PLLC and is licensed as an attorney in Washington, D.C., New York, and New Jersey. She holds a JD from Loyola University Chicago and a BA in quantitative economics and community health from Tufts University.

Jessica L. Hunt, Esq. is the Attorney Advisor for the DC Office of Disability Rights, and is a licensed attorney in DC, KY, and VA. In her current position, Ms. Hunt processes complaints of disability discrimination and provides guidance and training to District of Columbia employees and residents on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Rehabilitation Act, the Fair Housing Act (FHA), the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA), and disability sensitivity and etiquette. She serves as part of the Mid-Atlantic ADA Leadership Network’s cadre of trainers, and her areas of expertise include service animals, housing and shelter situations, and reasonable accommodation. Additionally, Ms. Hunt acts as an Accessibility Officer during special events and state and local emergencies to provide technical assistance and training in the District’s Emergency Operations Command Center. Prior to her employment with ODR, she spent four years at the U.S. Department of the Army Headquarters, Office of Civil Rights, as an Equal Employment Opportunity Specialist. She holds a JD from the University of Kentucky and a Masters in Secondary Special Education and Transition from The George Washington University.

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Section I. Overview of federal protections for individuals living with disabilities in the context of animal accommodation regulations
a) Applicable Federal Laws
        i. Title(s) I, II and/or III of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)
        ii. Fair Housing Act (FHA)
        iii. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (RHA)
        iv. Air Carrier Access Act of 1986 (ACAA)
b) Definition of Disability
c) Reasonable Modifications and Accommodations

Section II. Types of Animal Accommodation Requests
a) Service Animals
b) Assistance Animals
c) Comfort and Therapy Animals

Section III. Pre-emption issues
a) Public health issues
b) Local ordinances
c) State laws

Section IV. Test Your Knowledge