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For many people, their companion animal is their "life-line." Almost 65% of all US households have a companion animal. Moreover, it is well-documented that living with a companion animal is therapeutic. Unfortunately, obtaining housing that allows companion animals can be very difficult. It is common for rental leases to prohibit companion animals. Moreover, many mobile home parks, cooperatives, condominiums and homeowners associations are banning companion animals, leaving fewer and fewer opportunities for people to benefit from the love of a companion animal. Last but not least, many homeless animals are needlessly destroyed because no-pet rules eliminate options for placing them. This short piece first discusses the federal legal protections for the disabled who require service animals and notes the difficulties the disabled have in utilizing and/or enforcing these laws. The article then discusses the need for reform more generally to provide protections for owners of pets in housing, citing California as the first jurisdiction to enact a law that prohibits no-pet clauses in condominium, home owners or mobile home park governing documents as of 2001.

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GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 304; GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 304

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