Pit Bull Issue discovered

My manager went to a home last night to pick up the lease/rules paperwork for a new renter. We use Frank/Daves lease rules and it outlines no large or dangerous breed dogs. When she knocked at the door, a pit bull came. Manager called me and I told her to go back in and tell her the dog is out in 24 hours. Period. When my mgr went to confirm the dog was gone today, the dogs owner said it is a service dog and she’ll have papers tonight. She said I no longer can tell her the dog has to go. I’ve heard of this scam happening before but never had an issue. I’m guessing she went to the internet and got a certificate, but until I see her paperwork, I don’t know.

I’ll call Kurt Kelley (my insurance co. tomorrow,) but need any info if anyone has dealt with this before.

Any direction appreciated.

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Yes some states require pet owner have insurance for dangerous dogs. Also should require doctors letter locally that service animal required- internet scam letters for $25

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I ran into a similar issue. Somehow the tenant was able to get a document from her doctor stating that her pit bull puppy was an emotional support animal. You may want to start the eviction process now so that no time is wasted. I’d bet that it will take your tenant more than 24 hours to get her service animal docs together… Also, in my lifetime, I don’t recall ever seeing a pit bull service animal - usually they are labs or golden retrievers.

I took over a park recently that had pit and other large breed issues. All I did was not renew the leases and started eviction on one and the word got out and some moved out but many just got rid of the dog. Unfortunately the risk is a much bigger issue. A couple tried to use the “emotional support” internet scam and we just didn’t renew. However, it was a little easier since I was taking over the park.

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Unfortunately I have had some extensive dealings on this topic. Everyone seems to shrug it off like it is an easy fix but in my case it was anything but easy. Had to deal with my insurance agent, Lawyer, HUD “arbitration” etc. At the end of the day, I could not get the “service dog” out immediately and was forced to pay an insurance rate of more than double the normal rate for about 2 years. Happy to share specifics, message me if you are interested.
This was a couple of years back, please keep us posted on your progress, as i would be interested to see if Kurt has a new way to deal with this.

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I appreciate the feedback. I got the paperwork and it shows the dog is an Emotional Support Animal. Registered on a site called Official Service Dog Registry. I’m not sure I can even ask for a medical professional’s confirmation. Or the definition of health care professional. My insurance provider says I have very few rights now. They don’t have to prove anything to get this designation. It seems that this scam obliterates any pet rules in a lease. My carrier has a park where a resident has 3 pit bulls for emotional support. My agent said residents are able to bring in nearly limitless animals if they want to push it.

FYI, also, my agent said there is a trap where some group calls parks and asks if they have lots for rent and if they accept pit bulls. They tell the park that it is emotional support, etc. If they still say no dangerous dogs allowed, the call is recorded and they pursue the park for some type of damages.

What state is this if you don’t mind me asking?

There is an additional step that the owner of the “emotional support” dog can actually do with that website that I have made them do just to also hopefully cover myself. The owner can go to their medical professional or an approved medical professional to get them to certify the dog is needed. Its like an additional $40 they have to pay and I have made them do that on top of their registration.

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I would speak to an attorney before deciding anything. I can’t stand when people exploit these kinds of things for personal gain. If your tenants are on month to month leases, you could always just non-renew.

I have a guy who complains a lot about stupid things. Not just to me, but to other residents and I’m non-renewing his lease soon just to get rid of the headache.

I agree with Dominic. This is why it is important to have strong month to month or tenant at will leases that allow some kind of 30 non renewal without cause. State specific so obviously use an attorney, but a good evictions attorney is priceless for this kind of thing.

This park is in South Dakota

Talk to another insurance person about it. I’m 99% sure, it they are claiming it’s an emotional support animal, they have to provide a letter from their doctor and you won’t get into trouble for asking. If the dog is a service animal you may get into trouble…

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We’re hunting for a small park to purchase - but here’s what we do for our house / duplex rentals. In the application, we ask if they have a service animal / emotional support animal. If so, we ask them to tell us the breed.
The rest plays out in the approval process.
Best of luck!

Check with your attorney. There is a big difference between an Emotional Support Animal and a Service Animal. Last year woman was denied access to a plane flight because the airline did not permit her Emotional Support Animal (A Peacock) on the plane. You cannot ask for medical confirmation of a Service Animal. Emotional Support Animals and Service Animals are an entirely difference situations, do not confuse the two.

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Great advice. I will dig into the differences between a Service Animal & Emotional Support Dog.

Thanks for the help.

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A service dog comes under different laws than emotional dog, at least in SC. I’ve never seen a pit classified as a
Service dog nor a pet the doctor says you need. I think you can force the issue.

This is how you loose money. Charge extra for pets. statistics show that You will have a higher occupancy rate. And that generates more money people are willing to pay more when it comes to pets. No pet policy more people are willing to move or fight you on that.

A letter from a website should not be valued as proof of Emotional Support Animals Status. Park owners should require the following from all tenants seeking ESA status for a otherwise non-acceptable animal:

  1. Signed Service Animal or Emotional Support letter from Tenant to Management (on our website https://www.mobileagency.com/insurance-forms/) AND
  2. A letter from a medical provider saying the animal is a medical necessity dated within 12 months / updated annually AND
  3. Proof the animal is properly vaccinated from a Veternarian including specific information on the animal. United Airlines has a good form on their website that does this.

That’s a harder bar for the scammers to hurdle and all are legally enforceable standards you may apply.

If all else fails, you can claim “undue financial hardship” because your insurance either becomes unavailable or unaffordable. This defense is an actual defense and works. I simply don’t recommend it often because this route may cause litigation to be filed against you and proving you are right may cost $10k plus.

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“Service Dogs” have more legal rights/ protection than Emotional Support Animals, aka “comfort animals.” The former are almost always legitimate and may go into restaurants, grocery stores, doctor’s offices etc (ex. seeing eye dog, dog who assists person in wheelchair, dog that alerts it’s owners to seizures…). The latter are too often a fraud, and can be barred from the places noted above in any event.

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