June 30, 2005 11:42 AM

Subject: service animals -- required accommodations

 

Dear xxxxxxxx:

 

Your condominium association violates Florida law if it interferes in any way with your cats, which are “Service Animals” as that term is defined by Florida Statutes.

 

Following is the legal analysis supporting this opinion.

 

Florida Statutes Sections 413.08 and 413.081 were amended on May 26, 2005, by 2005 Fla. Sess. Law Serv. Ch. 2005-63 (C.S.C.S.S.B. 434) to provide greater rights for people with disabilities who use service animals.

 

Section 413.08 is now titled: “Rights of an individual with a disability; use of a service animal; discrimination in public employment or housing accommodations; penalties”.

 

You are an “individual with a disability” as that term as that term is defined in Florida Statutes Section 413.08(1)(b) .  Your cats are “Service Animals” as that term is defined in Florida Statutes Section 413.08(1)(d)

 

Florida Statutes Section 413.08(6) provides that “an individual with a disability is entitled to rent, lease, or purchase, as other members of the general public, any housing accommodations offered for rent, lease, or other compensation in this state, subject to the conditions and limitations established by law and applicable alike to all persons.

 

Florida Statutes Section 413.08(6)(a) provides that “an individual with a disability who has a service animal . . . is entitled to full and equal access to all housing accommodations . . . and such a person may not be required to pay extra compensation for the service animal.”  (Emphasis added.

 

Florida Statutes Section 413.018(1) makes it a criminal offense to “interfere with the use of a service animal”, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or 775.083.

 

Very Truly Yours,

 

[attorney’ s name withheld at his request]

 

cc:        Carlisle (“Butch”) E. Wilson, President, Advocating Disability Rights, Inc., a not-for-profit corporation committed to advocating for the rights of the disabled (butchgimp@yahoo.com).