New Law Blocks Housing Providers From Support Animal Discrimination

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ALBANY – A new law in New York State now prohibits housing providers from discriminating against a person who relies on an animal for help alleviating the symptoms or effects of a disability.

According to the Governor’s Office, housing providers must now provide reasonable accommodation by permitting a support animal to live in a home that otherwise would have prohibited pets.

“New Yorkers have zero tolerance for discrimination of any type and this measure will protect some of the most vulnerable among us who require a support animal to help function in their daily lives,” Governor Cuomo said.

However, the language of the bill does not make a clearly identify what kind of animal training or services are covered.

According to the National Service Animal Registry and the Disability Rights Section of the Department of Justice, “support animal” and “service animal” are distinct categories:

“A service dog is specially trained to perform a function or job for an owner that has a physical, intellectual, or emotional disability. An emotional support animal serves as more of a companion for the owner. A service dog may still be able to provide the comfort of an emotional support animal, but it has been trained to complete tasks that a support dog will not.”

“Because [emotional support animals] have not been trained to perform a specific job or task, they do not qualify as service animals under the ADA,” the DOJ says.


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