This morning on the way to work I heard about a pig that caused quite a disruption over the holiday weekend.  Apparently, a passenger brought a pig aboard a US Airways plane as her companion. The pig started running back and forth, causing a ruckus while its owner tried to control its behavior and clean up after the animal.  Eventually, the flight crew members decided the pig had to leave because of its disorderly behavior. Why was the pig allowed on the plane in the first place?  Because the passenger needed it as her emotional support pet.

Emotional support or “comfort” animals might also be required to be allowed in community associations, even if the association has a no-pet policy.  The Fair Housing Amendments Act (“FHAA”) prohibits associations from discriminating against certain categories of people, one of them being people who are disabled.  The term “disability” is defined broadly under the FHAA and includes a “mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities”.   People who are disabled are entitled, under certain circumstances, to reasonable accommodations from an association’s rules and restrictions.  And, one common reasonable accommodation is an emotional support animal if the animal is necessary to afford the disabled person equal opportunity to use and enjoy his/her dwelling.  A board that fails to grant a reasonable accommodation when required, could be exposed to severe penalties.

Do you understand when reasonable accommodations are necessary and when the FHAA applies?  If not, you could be subject to a claim for discrimination.  Our article, Discrimination: An Overview of the Federal Fair Housing Act and a Study of Discrimination Claims Filed Against Associations will assist you in understanding the FHAA, the most common discrimination claims filed against associations, and some proactive ways an association can minimize potential discrimination claims.

Melissa M. Garcia
One response to “When Pigs Fly… Emotional Support Pets?
  1. I don’t imagine that having a pig either as a pet or as a support animal is going to present a big issue, but I can certainly see how this could disrupt a flight. It seems like some other arrangements could have been made long before the day of the flight, but people probably did not communicate, as is often the case. Pigs are really quite sensitive, intelligent and affectionate, as I found out when a friend had one. But they are messy, and they need some place to dig around with their noses, which results in destruction of landscaping. In other words, there are breed-specific behaviors that need to be taken into consideration before getting one. Or attempting to take one on an airplane. This means people may need to use common sense. So, in the CIC setting, this means having a place where the pig can tear up the ground without running afoul of any rules. I think this eliminates most communities. And that is not discrimination against either the animal or its human companion. It is more just a matter of physical fact. Anyone who thinks he will be able to keep a pig in a condo (as a mostly-indoor pet) is going to be sadly mistaken. If one must have a pig, then I would suggest making proper living arrangements for both animal and human. It would not be anywhere close to fair for the animal to attempt to keep it in improper quarters. It would be like trying to keep an elephant as a companion animal. It’s fine if you have the land where the animal can be itself, without trying to force the poor thing to “adapt” to a confined human living situation. You can get a baby tiger, too, and see how that works out. People do need to use their brains once in a while, instead of just making demands, or getting an animal companion without thinking through all the consequences.
Comments are closed.
Social Media Auto Publish Powered By :