WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - The House passed a bill Tuesday that would require landlords to make accommodations for people with disabilities to have medically approved emotional support animals in a unit.
Representative Holly Grange supports the house bill 796: Emotional Support Animals - Rental Units. Grange says emotional support animals are a great therapeutic tool for those suffering from clinical issues however, some people are taking advantage of the current rules.
“The issue was brought to our attention by landlords and realtors because they found that some would skirt the rules to skirt no pet rules in apartments and rental homes,” said Grange.
Daniella Cockerham is the deputy executive director of paws4people and says misrepresentation of emotional support animals happens more than the company would like.
“Unfortunately that is a problem in the industry as a whole with both service dogs and emotional support dogs that there are people who are not doing things in legitimate ways and they’re unfortunately getting dogs that aren’t trained and may be unsafe to be out in the community,” said Cockerham.
According to the bill, an emotional support animal is a companion animal that a health service provider has determined provides a benefit for a person with a disability.
A person will receive a class 2 misdemeanor if they do any of the following:
- Tell a landlord that they are disabled when they are not.
- Lie to a health care provider in order to obtain documentation or verification has a disability so they can have a emotional support animal.
- Present documentation or verification to a landlord that misrepresents an animal is an emotional support animal.
- Put an item on an animal that is not for emotional support to lead people to believe the animal is a support animal.
Now that the measure has passed in the House, it heads to the state Senate.