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December 5, 2012

Couple still in home despite dog-departure deadline

(Continued)

Mr. Duell said he was never told before that they had to get rid of the dog and that he did not know the lease had a “no pet’’ clause.

He said he has been in contact with the New York State Attorney General’s Office in Plattsburgh to see if something can be done legally to allow them to keep Tiny.

DISABILITIES AND ANIMALS

Glen Michaels, the attorney general’s local representative, said he could not comment on any investigation that may or not be in the process. But he did say that any disabled citizen should contact his office if a business or landlord does not appropriately accommodate an animal that is needed to help with a disability.

Michaels pointed to a section of the Fair Housing Act that specifically addresses service animals.

The law says that people with a disability may have a service animal live with them, regardless of a “no-pets’’ policy.

“The definition of service animals under the Fair Housing Act is broader than that under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act),” the law reads. “Animals that provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA but may qualify under the Fair Housing Act.”

The law also says the “animal need not be specifically trained as a service animal if it provides physical or emotional support, lessens the effect of the person’s disability and is necessary for the person to be able to fully enjoy the housing.”

‘IGNORING RULES’

Mucia questioned the validity of the Duells’ claim that the dog is medically necessary.

“There are hearing aids that are available and covered by Medicaid, and there are special doorbells,” he said.

“We just don’t think this is medically necessary to have a dog. This is a pet.”

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