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View Full Version : Wherein a Liar Nearly Has Us Sleeping In a Cardboard Box


WishfulSpirit
07-27-2015, 09:35 PM
So Hubby and I got kicked out of our apartment recently (no eviction because we settled). Came up a bit short on rent due to cut hours at my former employer, couldn't make it up in time even with new job, blah blah blah. We had to be out by midnight yesterday, and had hotel room booked at a (to tell the truth) crappy extended stay place, and it was going to drain just about every cent we had, but we needed a roof.

We called Crappy Extended Stay Place (CESP) three different times to ensure that our medically necessary companion animals would be allowed in. They said as long as we had the paperwork (which we do) it would be fine.

Yesterday at 7pm we show up at CESP with the paperwork. Front desk douchdongle takes one look at it and says "they aren't service animals, we won't take them." DaFug? I'm not sure if hotels are under the same rules as apartments, but housing HAS to allow you to have an emotional support animal, just like they'd allow you to have a wheelchair, if said animal is required to assist you with a documented disability. Anyway, they told us it would be OK, so they lied. There's NO WAY we're getting rid of our beloved fur babies, and there's nobody around who could watch them.

Also, there's no way we could afford a normal hotel room with the money we had available. After two nights we'd be broke (which is why we booked at CESP in the first place).

Fortunately the story has a happy ending. I work in a hotel. I called the front desk where I work, frantic that we are literally on the street with no place to go. Our hotels offer HUGE discounts to employees. My coworker said "just come here. We'll get it figured out." He then spoke to my manager, who is putting us up in the same hotel where I work until the 2nd (and after that I have another employee stay booked), at the employee rate. When I thanked them both, almost in tears, the manager said "I take care of my people, don't worry about it."

We are in a comfortable place with great beds, free breakfast, and the world's shortest commute for me. For about 5 bucks a day more than we'd be paying in rent if we were still in our old home. Best of all, Hubby finally has freedom. He was actually crying today over being able to just leave the building and go get a coffee without having to have someone haul his wheelchair down the stairs.

wolfie
07-27-2015, 09:53 PM
We called Crappy Extended Stay Place (CESP) three different times to ensure that our medically necessary companion animals would be allowed in. They said as long as we had the paperwork (which we do) it would be fine.

Yesterday at 7pm we show up at CESP with the paperwork. Front desk douchdongle takes one look at it and says "they aren't service animals, we won't take them." DaFug? I'm not sure if hotels are under the same rules as apartments, but housing HAS to allow you to have an emotional support animal, just like they'd allow you to have a wheelchair, if said animal is required to assist you with a documented disability.

Are you in Yankeeland? If so, that's a definite ADA violation. From what I've read, service animals DO NOT require paperwork, and the establishment IS NOT PERMITTED to judge whether a dog is a service animal or not.

The only flaw I can see is that you're calling them "emotional support animals". Under the ADA, an emotional support animal is explicitly excluded from the definition of service animals.

EvilEmpryss
07-27-2015, 09:54 PM
As someone with a service dog, lt me tell you, you have cause to file an ADA complaint against the Extended Stay place.

First, there is NO documentation required to "prove" you have a service animal. They are allowed to ask only if it is a service dog trained to alleviate a disability you possess. That's it. No proof of training, no special licenses, nada!

Second, as this was a seriously inconveniencing -- possibly dangerous -- refusal to provide services to you by a company with deep pockets, you should have no trouble getting a lawyer to take the case. Write down everything, and make sure you get names, dates, times, and as exact wording you can from what happened. It would be ideal if you had it in writing or a recording stating the reason they denied you service.


The only flaw I can see is that you're calling them "emotional support animals". Under the ADA, an emotional support animal is explicitly excluded from the definition of service animals.
Emotional support animals are specifically INCLUDED by the Fair Housing Act, so they should still have been permitted. In that case, there's still cause for a lawsuit, since the OP specifically mentioned having paperwork for the dogs.

Sorry, I'm not normally litigious, but this kind of thing infuriates me because it could happen to me some day if these places think they can get away with it.

WishfulSpirit
07-27-2015, 10:05 PM
I am in the USA. The dog and felines aren't legally service animals because they aren't trained to perform a service. A restaurant or store could legally refuse to let them in. Housing and transportation providers are required to allow emotional support animals that mitigate a disability, but I don't know if that applies to hotels. Anyway we're safe and sheltered now.

morgana
07-28-2015, 02:28 AM
Housing and transportation providers are required to allow emotional support animals that mitigate a disability, but I don't know if that applies to hotels. Anyway we're safe and sheltered now.

A lawyer would be able to tell you, and if it DOES apply to hotels, you have a lawsuit that could help you stay safe and sheltered for a good long time. ;)

auntiem
07-28-2015, 04:26 AM
By my memory,(using Amtrak as an example) the business can ask you if you have service animal paperwork, but can't actually read it/ look at it. It is a violation of HIPPA since the paperwork lists the disability the animal is servicing.
Glad you are sheltered now, but you shouldn't have had to deal with that.

EvilEmpryss
07-28-2015, 05:02 AM
Auntiem, you have been informed incorrectly. This is a topic near and dear to me as I have a service dog and have recently helped a friend get her dog listed as an emotional support animal.

A service animal -- an animal of damned near any species but usually a dog -- is specifically trained to perform active tasks that allow a person with a disability to get through their lives easier. The animal must be trained to perform tasks that help that particular individual. If I owned a seeing eye dog then it would not qualify for protection under the ADA because I am not blind and it isn't helping me with the disabilities that I do have. A service animal with its human has the legal right to go anywhere the human is permitted to go. There Is No Paperwork Required For A Service Animal. None. Nada. No special permits, licensing, training certificates, doctor's letters, nothing. It would be a violation of HIPAA laws for someone in a business to demand to know what a person's disability is or what the animal is trained to do.

An emotional support animal, though, is slightly different. An emotional support animal does not perform any tasks: their mere presence is considered therapeutic. It is because they do not actively perform a job for the human that they are held separate from service animals. They are protected by the Fair Housing Act to be allowed to live in residences where the individual who needs them is living, even if the residence does not normally allow "pets". To be covered by the emotional support animal laws, the human must have a letter signed by a tending mental health professional (LCSW, psychologist, psychiatrist, etc.), stating that the individual has a disorder listed in the DSM and requires the emotional support animal. The letter will not state what the disorder is specifically, but it must contain the contact information for the mental health professional, who is then authorized to confirm that yes, said human is under their care and requires the emotional support animal. While landlords may or may not ask for the paperwork, one should be certain to have one dated within the last year if one intends to travel -- especially if you want to fly. Airlines are cracking down of the scumbags who try to pass their irritating little snookywookums off as an emotional support animal so they don't have to pay for the pet ticket.

Oh yes, and regardless of whether the animal is a service or emotional support type, if it is unclean, disruptive or -- god forbid -- aggressive, then the law allows establishments to ban the animal from the premises. Neither emotional support nor service animals are allowed to be trained for protection purposes. They should never, ever show any aggression toward humans or other animals.

Also, please realize that while HIPAA laws are strict, there are legitimate instances where the disclosure of protected information may be mandatory. Receiving special services or exemptions for your disability is one of those.

Aragarthiel
07-28-2015, 05:18 AM
It would be a violation of HIPAA laws for someone in a business to demand to know what a person's disability is or what the animal is trained to do.

That's actually wrong: http://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm

Staff may ask two questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability, and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform.

(Bolded for emphasis)

If you read through, it also points out that only dogs are legally considered service animals, with an exception for (oddly enough) miniature horses.

notalwaysright
07-28-2015, 05:37 AM
We are in a comfortable place with great beds, free breakfast, and the world's shortest commute for me. For about 5 bucks a day more than we'd be paying in rent if we were still in our old home. Best of all, Hubby finally has freedom. He was actually crying today over being able to just leave the building and go get a coffee without having to have someone haul his wheelchair down the stairs.

Even though the guy at the other place was a total jerk, it sounds like it was not such a terrible outcome. And hey, with free breakfast and no commute, that could even out the extra $5 you have to spend.

Anyways, I hope everything turns out well. :hug:

HotelMinion
07-28-2015, 05:42 AM
That's awful. My manager said we take service animals but not emotional support animals. However I've seen exceptions being made. Glad your job was willing to give u a helping hand. :D

EvilEmpryss
07-28-2015, 03:41 PM
That's actually wrong: http://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm

That is new from when I started training my dogs in 2006. Previously it was that they could only ask *if* the animal was trained to do a task, not *what* task, because asking about the exact type of task would force the owner to reveal details of their disability that could be considered embarrassing, intrusive, and a violation of HIPAA laws. It also opens up the individual to be questioned on whether or not the dog is needed with them at that time and in that place, giving idiots an excuse to try and exclude the disabled person. While I usually have no problems talking about my dog and what she does for me, I do not want to have to reveal my personal health issues to some Joe Blow who thinks he gets to decide if I need my dog with me. No restaurant or hotel manager has a need to know the details of anyone's disability, and it's already been proven that when airline officials get that information, they feel they have the medical expertise to impose travel bans on people they think will be troublesome. Frankly, I'm surprised at the change and that it's lasted since 2010.

And I know there's still a lot of argument going on regarding other animals as service animals Monkeys are the big one: they are very effective at handling delicate tasks that require thumbs and are easier to get around with than a dog in some cases. Limiting the classification to dogs and minis is shortsighted.

Thank you for bringing that to my attention, though I need to update the cards I have with the questions.

WishfulSpirit
07-28-2015, 04:52 PM
Ok so I've checked the laws.

Like Evil Empress said, emotional support animals are NOT considered service animals and therefore aren't covered by the service animal portion of the ADA. Therefore it is legal for a restaurant, for example, to refuse to allow our dog in due to health codes (if we go to a restaurant with the dog with us, we know this, and either do drive-through or takeout).

Hotels and other transient housing establishments (such as hostels) are NOT covered by Fair Housing law, thus they don't legally HAVE to allow emotional support animals in. I am not sure if our brand has a policy of allowing emotional support animals brand-wide, and I need to look into that.

However, all businesses serving the public ARE required to make a reasonable accommodation to meet the needs of a disabled person. The legal gray area would be whether having the animals in an otherwise "no pets allowed" facility would be "reasonable". A case could possibly be made that allowing them would place an "undue burden" on the company.

Our strongest point is that they lied. If they had told us "I'm sorry we don't allow emotional support animals" up front, that might or might not be considered failure to provide reasonable accommodation, but I wouldn't feel confident enough to bother with a lawsuit.

However, by lying to us about policy and then turning us away with no place to go at the last minute, we may have a case for discrimination and / or retaliatory conduct towards a disabled person. I may consider speaking to a lawyer about that.

Seshat
07-29-2015, 04:51 PM
And I know there's still a lot of argument going on regarding other animals as service animals Monkeys are the big one: they are very effective at handling delicate tasks that require thumbs and are easier to get around with than a dog in some cases. Limiting the classification to dogs and minis is shortsighted.

Parrots.
Parrots are long-lived, friendly towards humans and many other animals, and very easy to train and eager to please if treated kindly. Admittedly, this does depend on the species of parrot.

I once had the honour of meeting a sulphur-crested cockatoo who was an absolute delight to be around. He had a huge vocabulary of phrases with which he would be part of the conversation of the humans he lived with, and anyone who visited them. He was delighted to be scritched by anyone his humans vouched for.

He was not a service animal, but knowing how dextrous a parrot can be with beak and claw, he could very easily perform tasks like flipping light switches, turning (modified) taps, holding vegetables still for a human to chop, (eating carrot tops), picking up light things from the floor....

Heck, he could preen the human's hair. Parrots will already preen their humans' hair, just train them to preen the whole head into a simple hairstyle and voila, partial grooming complete.

Also: birds can be potty trained; they just need to go frequently enough that an acceptable potty-surface must always be available to them. Consult a bird-knowledgeable vet. The training techniques are much the same as training an orphaned kitten or any dog.

WishfulSpirit
07-30-2015, 02:08 AM
PS: Can I get a huge :yourock: to my manager? It's not often you find competent AND caring in one person.

mathnerd
07-30-2015, 03:37 AM
Parrots.
Parrots are long-lived, friendly towards humans and many other animals, and very easy to train and eager to please if treated kindly. Admittedly, this does depend on the species of parrot.

The evil green thing that lives in my house would be a breed that's not good for this. He's wonderful and loving and kind towards exactly one person. Everybody else can go die in a fire, as far as he's concerned. He's a yellow-naped amazon, and is very much a one person bird. I'm currently nursing a pretty bad cut on my finger after he attacked me for the sin of giving him clean water.

BlaqueKatt
07-30-2015, 01:38 PM
Parrots.

darnit, now I want a service/emotional support* crow :cry:


*other than the ones at work who know me as fewd bringer.

jedimaster91
07-30-2015, 02:38 PM
I once had the honour of meeting a sulphur-crested cockatoo who was an absolute delight to be around. He had a huge vocabulary of phrases with which he would be part of the conversation of the humans he lived with, and anyone who visited them. He was delighted to be scritched by anyone his humans vouched for.

He was not a service animal, but knowing how dextrous a parrot can be with beak and claw, he could very easily perform tasks like flipping light switches, turning (modified) taps, holding vegetables still for a human to chop, (eating carrot tops), picking up light things from the floor....<snip>The training techniques are much the same as training an orphaned kitten or any dog.

Frankly I'm surprised there aren't more "service" parrots. With as intelligent as many of the larger birds are and their ability to somewhat understand human speech, I would think that would be invaluable to someone with a disability. Dogs are great and provide excellent care and service to their people. But a parrot could very easily be trained to not only go get a phone in the event of an emergency, but actually dial for help (a handset with large buttons would probably work better than a smartphone). They can be taught the owner's address and to say something along the lines of "fell down, need help."

The birds respond very well to clicker training, which is how most positive reinforcement trainers train dogs. So it's not too much of a leap from dog training to bird training. In fact, in order to obtain a CPDT license, the trainer has to train something other than a dog. Cats are a challenge. Parrots are easy.

The evil green thing that lives in my house would be a breed that's not good for this. He's wonderful and loving and kind towards exactly one person. Everybody else can go die in a fire, as far as he's concerned. He's a yellow-naped amazon, and is very much a one person bird. I'm currently nursing a pretty bad cut on my finger after he attacked me for the sin of giving him clean water.

My 'tiel is like that. He loves me. Everyone else he barely tolerates at best. Ideally, if one were to want to get a "service" bird, one would want a hand raised chick from a reputable breeder. Most birds do have their favorite hoomin (so do most dogs for that matter), but raised properly they can be friendly to other people as well.

darnit, now I want a service/emotional support* crow :cry:


*other than the ones at work who know me as fewd bringer.

That would be so awesome!

KuariKaydrith
07-30-2015, 04:46 PM
My 'tiel is like that. He loves me. Everyone else he barely tolerates at best. Ideally, if one were to want to get a "service" bird, one would want a hand raised chick from a reputable breeder. Most birds do have their favorite hoomin (so do most dogs for that matter), but raised properly they can be friendly to other people as well.



I've got a parrotlet and he really doesn't like anybody but me. My son can't even go near his cage without the bird having a shit fit unless I'm in the room too. Napoleon is hand trained so he does spend a fair bit of time with his cage door open so he can come out - as long as I am in the vicinity, of course - but if he's even out perched on my head or one of the other cages (I have pet rats and a guinea pig) he will start squawking at my son and immediately head back into his own cage. I know that my son hasn't done anything to the bird - parrotlets are known to form tight bonds with their human and get all bitey with anybody else. The crazy bird sees me as his mate :/

mathnerd
07-30-2015, 05:49 PM
The crazy bird sees me as his mate :/

This is exactly how Goofy sees my boyfriend, and he's very jealous if anybody else gives him attention. Heaven forbid I kiss bf in front of the bird. He goes nuts. Actually, I've been working pretty hard to get Goofy to at least tolerate me. We have good days and bad days. Some days I can give him scritches, but only if he's in his cage. I guess he feels safer behind bars. Sometimes I can get him to step up on a stick and take him out of his cage, but only if it's dinner time. Goofy likes to join the family for dinner, so if he's seen dinner go on the table (I have to pass the cage to get stuff from the kitchen to the dining room), he'll get on the stick for me, and sometimes he'll do so for my middle son. I'd just like to get to the point where he tolerates me enough that I can take over things like cleaning his cage out if bf is somehow unable to, or get him into his travel cage if there's an emergency and bf isn't around.

He was hatched and raised by a reputable breeder. Bf's BIL bought him as a chick, but when he hit adolescence, his temperament changed and he started attacking the BIL. BF took him and they bonded (BF is really good with birds). Apparently, this type of personality change is not abnormal in parrots. They are definitely interesting creatures.

katzklaw
07-31-2015, 03:37 AM
... with an exception for (oddly enough) miniature horses.

there's a whole group of people dedicated to training miniature horses to be seeing eye guides. apparently they're just as good as dogs at the task, and live much longer (20-40 years instead of 12-15).

Estil
07-31-2015, 08:31 PM
Our kitty and (and our dearly departed kitty before him *sniff*) is one of those emotional support animals too. Our first kitty Tweetie we got back in 2010, originally for my wife but of course she turned into a little daddy's girl. :D Sadly she passed away in 2012 and we soon afterwards got our current cat, Jamiee who is the most beautiful golden blonde color ever. :) And yes he too loves (or rather, is obsessed) with me and not wife (though any time a female visitor comes over he is very much a ladies' man hee hee); hee hee :D

But yes I know exactly how the OP feels (I hope the OP has kitties too! :) )...I'd just as soon live in a Dumpster (or one of those cheap imitation brands that Otto from the Simpsons had to sleep in) than give up my bestest friend in the whole world. :(

WishfulSpirit
08-01-2015, 01:49 PM
We DO have cats. The dog we can talk our way by with, but kitties are harder to convince people about. Even if you have the paperwork from a psychologist in hand. Grumble. No way either species of fur babies is going away from us. They are in their forever home and will be with us until they cross the rainbow bridge.

Estil
08-01-2015, 06:04 PM
I know your fur babies (mine is not a baby though (I do love to hold/carry him like one; hee hee), he's 28 in cat years, he's a man :D ) are your bestest buddies, best pals in the whole world right? I think most pet owners feel that way.

DGoddessChardonnay
08-01-2015, 09:39 PM
I know your fur babies (mine is not a baby though (I do love to hold/carry him like one; hee hee), he's 28 in cat years, he's a man :D ) are your bestest buddies, best pals in the whole world right? I think most pet owners feel that way.

I know I and my family do when it comes to our babies . . . both doggies and the kitties, so it would be all but impossible for us to have to give them up for any reason.:cry:

We're anxious for an update on this, so feel free to share more when you're ready. :hug:

XCashier
08-02-2015, 02:16 AM
I once met a cat that was a service animal. Handsome and friendly red tabby owned by a diabetic man, the cat would alert the man if his blood sugar was changing in a bad way. (I guess it changes the person's scent?) I've even heard of snakes as service animals, same reason.
And hey, with free breakfast and no commute, that could even out the extra $5 you have to spend.
Oh, certainly. Think of the wear and tear you're not putting on your vehicle and the food you're not having to buy. You might even be coming out ahead.

I too hope things work out well for you. :hug:

Estil
08-02-2015, 03:49 PM
Mind if I dispel a popular cat myth? See cats are allegedly independent creatures right? Then how come mine when I go to the local grocery store (about 10-15 min walk either way; we don't drive) kitty will wait right at the door in his loaf of bread position the whole time, and especially when he was younger would cry out for me? He even cries out for me when I just go into our basement!

Lovecats
08-02-2015, 04:45 PM
We had a gentleman that would shop at the store where I worked with a (I think it was called) an African grey parrot on his shoulder. It was an emotional support bird. His picture made it on People of Walmart & I was going to comment on it in support but his daughter bear me to it. The last time I saw him in the store he didn't have his parrot. He told me she had died and he felt like he had lost his best friend. Made me cry. She was so sweet! She used to try to mimic the sound of the registers when they scanned.

jedimaster91
08-02-2015, 06:02 PM
Greys are wicked smart. They're the kind of bird that if you don't give them something to do, they will become neurotic and destructive. So being a support companion for someone is a perfect job for them. I'd love to have one myself, but I know I don't have the time or inclination to really care for one.

Estil
08-02-2015, 10:26 PM
Those birds might be smart but this bird has completely lost it's mind:

https://youtu.be/sumn6flhNtg

No really, is this bird frickin' NUTS!?!?!?

WishfulSpirit
08-05-2015, 03:43 AM
UPDATE:

So we're bouncing around from hotel to hotel right now. It's annoying and hard on Hubby, but at least we have shelter. They'll only do employee rate for a week at a time, so every weekend we get to pack up and hit the road again. We've also been apartment hunting. It's really hard to find something we can afford, but I am trying to stay positive. Prayers and good thoughts (also suggestions if anybody knows anything in the eastern Denver Metro area) would be welcome.