P asked in Politics & GovernmentLaw & Ethics · 9 years ago

service dog harrassment?

I live in a no dogs community, but have a service dog. The landlord says its okay (he's the owner of the condo complex, which is run by a homeowners association) because law requires it.

There is a busy body who lives nearby. On two occasions when I have taken my dog out, she grills me about where I live, whether I know that I can't have a dog here, refreshes me on HOA policy (she's a board member I think, treasurer or something). I told her again today that he is a service dog. She said, "well, do you live here or are you just walking through?" I didn't want to get into it with her so I said, "we're out for a walk, is there a problem" and she said "only that dogs aren't allowed on this property," so I said, "well, again, he's a service dog and we're causing no problem so he is allowed anywhere."


Can I accuse her of harrassment if this continues? She's asked what apt we live in and everything. We said we'd be happy to show the HOA his papers but we have landlord permission. I feel like a criminal on my own property, always hoping she wont see me when I take him out.

Legally, can she keep doing this? Does her HOA status have pull???

13 Answers

  • 9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Under the Americans with Disabilities Act,

    You not only have the right to have your dog,

    she can't bother you about it:

    Businesses may ask if an animal is a service animal or ask what tasks the animal has been trained to perform, but cannot require special ID cards for the animal or ask about the person's disability.

    People with disabilities who use service animals cannot be charged extra fees, isolated from other patrons, or treated less favorably than other patrons. However, if a business such as a hotel normally charges guests for damage that they cause, a customer with a disability may be charged for damage caused by his or her service animal.

    A person with a disability cannot be asked to remove his service animal from the premises unless: (1) the animal is out of control and the animal's owner does not take effective action to control it (for example, a dog that barks repeatedly during a movie) or (2) the animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others.

    In these cases, the business should give the person with the disability the option to obtain goods and services without having the animal on the premises.

    Businesses that sell or prepare food must allow service animals in public areas even if state or local health codes prohibit animals on the premises.

    A business is not required to provide care or food for a service animal or provide a special location for it to relieve itself.

    Allergies and fear of animals are generally not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to people with service animals.

    Violators of the ADA can be required to pay money damages and penalties.

    Service Dogs, Guide Dogs, and Signal Dogs

    The declarations of common interest developments often contain animal restrictions prohibiting dogs, or limiting certain animals based on their size or weight. The declaration or other rules of the association restricting pets are unenforceable to the extent they prohibit the use of guide dogs, signal dogs or service dogs. Every individual with a disability has a right to be accompanied by a guide dog, signal dog, or service dog specially trained for the purpose. [Civil Code §54.1 and §54.2.] Guide dogs are "seeing-eye dogs" specially trained to assist visually impaired individuals. Signal dogs are dogs trained to alert an individual who is deaf or hearing impaired to intruders or sounds. Service dogs are dogs individually trained to the requirements of an individual with physical disabilities, including, but not limited to, minimal protection work, rescue work, pulling a wheelchair or fetching dropped items.

    Here is a nice form letter for something related, but quite usable here:http://sci.rutgers.edu/forum/showthread.php?t=1002...

    see also:OA - Homeowner Associations vs Service Dogs - HOA's may think they can write the law, but ADA & FHA beats all. A number of cases in the last 15 years have appeared regarding HOA's trying to regulate Service Dogs. First, if you have a Service Dog, you must inform the HOA, the property owner or the landloard that you have a Service Dog. If the HOA does not know it's a Service Dog they may consider it a pet and try to apply rules on the tenant. HOA's must follow the law, Fair Housing Amendments Act (1988) & ADA (1990). Service Animals are exempt from all pet rules. A Service Animal is not a pet, it is a working animal, just like a Police K9. A Service Animal(not always a dog) can be any size or shape, from a tiny Chow to a Great Dane. The owner/handler of the Service Dog is required to clean up after the dog and responsible for any property/civil damage the dog causes. All pet rules from the HOA, do not apply.

    -- A former pet(recognized by the HOA previously), may be converted to a service dog, if properly trained, i.e. Medical Alert dog. If the handler claims their animal is a Service Animal, any proceedings should stop until confirmed. If the handler is legally disabled, they have the right to keep a Service Animal (ADA, FHA). If the handler is not legally disabled, they MAY NOT have a service animal unless training it for a disabled handler (FL Law).

    Keywords: Community Association, Home Owner Association

    • Login to reply the answers
  • 5 years ago

    I live in a HOA condo complex. I am 80 years old and one of the tenants has a dog over the 15 # limit in our rules. When you walk past the condo the dog comes to the window barking and tearing at the window as if trying to get out to attack me. The same at the rear screen porch. I've told the board of directors that I frightened to walk past the unit and I have to. As far as I know the dog has no special training.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • 9 years ago

    Arm yourself with knowledge....the correct knowledge.

    It is not the ADA that grants you the right to have your service dog in your apartment, it's the FHA. It may seem petty, I know, but to claim your rights under the ADA won't get you anywhere because most housing situations aren't covered under the ADA? Also, since you think she's in the HOA and can cause you problems, make sure you have the correct documentation. Under the FHA, they can require a doctor's letter stating that you are disabled and require the use of a service animal to mitigate the disability. If you search the net, you will be able to find sample letters.

    If she continues, tell her that yes you live in the apartment complex, but under the FHA (Fair Housing Act), you have the right to have your service animal and that you have the necessary doctor's letter. Then tell her that if she continues, you will consider it harassment and file a complaint.

    Source(s): I have a service dog
    • Login to reply the answers
  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    I completely understand your frustration. It is important to remember that although seeing eye dogs have been recognized for many years as necessary personal canine assistants, the concept of service dogs is more recent.

    From your discussion, it seems to me that your neighbor may be unfamiliar with service dogs and the important work that they perform. If you file a harassment charge, you will possibly generate hurt feelings-- a more harmonious alternative might be locating someone who can speak authoritatively about service dogs and their training and having that person talk with your neighbor. Perhaps he or she could come and make a presentation to the homeowner's association and you can invite your neighbor to go with you to the meeting? The problem you describes may be an education issue and getting the word out about the functions and duties of service dogs may possibly assist a lot of people.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • 4 years ago

    There are trainging techniques that you can use. Learn here https://tr.im/8mL4l


    1. A dog straining on the lead is the result of improper early heel-training. Reinstruction will be required to remedy the fauly.

    2. Correct positioning ensures that the dog can anticipate the owner's actions such as a change in direction, sudden stop or new instruction.

    3. A lagging dog can also indicates bad heel training. Frequent sharp tugs on the check chain should encourage the dog to keep up with its owner.


    1. On the command 'sit', press the dog's hindquarters firmly down with your left hand while keeping the dog's head supported in the air.

    2. Keep the lead taut in the right hand, giving it a slight upwards pull as you press the hindquarters down to help the dog respond.

    3. Crouching down beside, but not over, the dog may prove helpful in teaching more unruly dogs to perform the exercise.


    1. Pul the dog in the sit position by holding your hand up in front of the dogs face and giving the command ' sit' in a firm voice.

    2. Then move in the front of the dog jerking on the check chain if any attempt is made to move. If the dog does move, start agian.

    3. Keeping your hand high up in front of the dog, and repeating the command 'stay', back off bit by bit, increasing the space between you.


    1. Tell the dog to speak, if he doesnt, the owner must bark to encourage the dog to bark

    2. soon enough the dog will bark

    • This has nothing to do with the question

    • Login to reply the answers
  • 9 years ago

    If it was me. I would try and contact an organization near your community that deals with Service animals. I beleive you are protected from harrasment in some form or way but not sure on all the legal aspects. Especially if this woman is in some sort of Organization herself. She could get some form of repremand otherwise she is nothing but a nosy body and if she interferes with you and your service dog she could be charged with some form of harrasment under law. Check it out with the Organization that deals with these issues and Good Luck.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • 9 years ago

    She is apparently unaware of the disability act about your rights and having a service dog. maybe making her more aware of disabilities, the law, and why you have the service dog will stop her from complaining, or You could have management speak with her so that you do not have to in your service dog being legally allowed at the community where you live.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • 9 years ago

    She's a busybody and a few other things less polite. I am sorry the jerk is giving you problems. I believe she is right on the edge of breaking the law. My suggestion is that you politely hand her a piece of paper with your name and address on it and suggest she put her issues in writing for your lawyer to review. Otherwise, get out of my face!

    Be very polite and refuse to even talk to her about it. Simply insist that she put everything in writing and you have been advised not to discuss it otherwise. She'll either leave you alone or give you grounds to take action against her.

    Also, be sure to take notes every time you encounter her. A note pad is a terribly intimidating thing to pull out when she starts in on you.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • 9 years ago


    She is unaware of the facts re: service dogs. She is confused by their HOA rules, and the law. Either you or someone else just needs to explain that a service dog is like denying a seeing eye dog.... she should get that! That both dogs are permitted to anywhere by law.... live anywhere....


    • Login to reply the answers
  • 9 years ago

    If she is a board member and is acting on behalf of the HOA, then yes, you have legal rights and it is considered harassment and discrimination.

    If she is just a busy body acting on her own, then you have the right to tell her to mind her own business and kiss your butt. I would suggest utilizing that right.

    • Login to reply the answers
Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.