C4H does not endorse or claim your animal to be a Service Animal as the original purpose of the organization is to provide immediate relief within the home and family with a Companion Animal.
Q: Is my new shelter or rescue dog or cat (Companion Animal) I receive from C4H a Service Animal?
A: No. Your new shelter or rescue dog or cat is a Companion Animal and is not, under the American Disabilities Act, considered a Service Animal.
Q: What is a Companion Animal?
A: Companion Animals are considered pets. A Companion Animal is, according to Webster’s Dictionary, “an animal kept for companionship and enjoyment”.
Q: What does a Companion Animal do for me?
A: Federal Occupational Health (a component of the U.S. Public Health Service, Department of Health and Human Services) “Let’s Talk” (Winter 2008 Edition) states “owning a pet can ward off depression, lower blood pressure, boost immunity and reduce the risk for allergies.” “Let’s Talk” accessed at http://www.hhs.gov/ohr/eap/newsletter/winter08.doc. According to a study published in The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Friends With Benefits: On the Positive Consequences of Pet Ownership (McConnell, Brown, Shoda, Stayton, and Martin, July 4, 2011) “We observed evidence that pet owners fared better, both in terms of well-being outcomes and individual differences, than nonowners on several dimensions. Specifically, pet owners had greater self-esteem, were more physically fit, tended to be less lonely, were more conscientious, were more extraverted, tended to be less fearful, and tended to be less preoccupied than nonowners.”
Q: If I’m diagnosed with a disability from a licensed medical professional (Psychologist, Psychiatrist, Social Worker, etc.) or Veterans’ Affairs Hospital and need to prove this without violating my right to privacy and reside in a “no pets allowed” residence, what steps do I need to take that will allow my new Companion Animal to reside with me without violating public law?
A: Contact your licensed medical professional (Psychologist, Psychiatrist, Social Worker, etc.) and ask them to produce a letter that states the following:
- Your Companion Animal is not considered a pet.
- Your Companion Animal is specifically being used to help with your mental health symptoms.
- Your Companion Animal provides positive physiological effects (e.g. decrease heart rate and blood pressure), mental stimulation (e.g. recall memories), feelings of acceptance and good rapport, outward focus, opportunities for empathy and nurturing, increased motivation, as well as entertainment and socialization.
- Your licensed medical professional applies their signature and they provide their medical license number and the state they are licensed.
Q: Having the letter in my possession, how does the letter benefit my Companion Animal and me?
A: As as explained in the Reasonable Accommodations Under the Fair Housing Act (42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 – 3619), May 17, 2004, you are not required to pay a pet deposit, or monthly pet fee to the housing provider.
Q: Is the letter given to me by my licensed medical professional indicate that my Companion Animal is a Service Animal because of my disability?
A: No. The letter states that your Companion Animal is “not considered a pet” and being used specifically to help with your mental health symptoms, and this letter only applies to “residences” (i.e. condos, apartments or any leased/rented building of residence) and not that of a business. Your Companion Animal is not permitted within any public business (store, restaurant, public transportation, etc.) in accordance with the American Disabilities Act.
Q: What does the letter represent and how does it help my new Companion Animal and me?
A: Public Law states, as explained in the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, and US Department of Housing and Urban Development Joint Statement for Reasonable Accommodations Under the Fair Housing Act (42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 – 3619), May 17, 2004 that “any person with a disability to include (1) individuals with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; (2) individuals who are regarded as having such an impairment; and (3) individuals with a record of such an impairment.” In short, the letter permits your Companion Animal to reside with you in a “no pet” residence (e.g. condo, apartment or any leased/rented building of residence) and the housing provider shall not charge you (the resident) extra fees (pet deposit and monthly pet fee). In addition, the letter is a record proving your disability; therefore, ensure you protect this letter and keep it in a safe location.
Q: What shall I do if an individual or housing provider does not permit my new Companion Animal to live with me at my place of residence?
A: You may file a Fair Housing Act complaint by contacting the U.S. Department of Justice, Fair Housing Act Office 1-800-669-9777 or mail a letter, stating your claim:
Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity
Department of Housing & Urban Development
451 Seventh Street, S.W., Room 5204
Washington, DC 20410-2000
Q: Will I incur any costs and become responsible for any damage to the residence performed by my Companion Animal?
A: Yes. The Reasonable Accommodation Act states that in order for the housing provider to permit your Companion Animal (with your letter provided to the housing provider), you must incur any costs of damage associated to the housing premises (residence).
Q: What shall I do if I misplace my letter?
A: Please contact your licensed medical professional or Veterans’ Affairs Hospital immediately and request another letter.
Q: Does C4H accept donated animals?
A: C4H does not accept donated animals. Our approved Heroes work with local shelter or rescue organizations in their area to find the right companion animal for them.
Last updated March 2, 2012