West Plains, MO asked in Animal / Dog Law and Landlord - Tenant for Missouri

Q: Is Regulations on Assistance Animals (ESAs) Legal?

Hi, I live in a single family home, in Missouri, which is public housing. I was prescribed by a psychologist an assistance animal to help with my severe generalized anxiety and depression. I went to speak with my landlord and they gave me a thick sheet of “rules” i have to follow such as;

“ESAs can’t be over 20 pounds”

“ESAs must be spayed/neutered before entering the household”

and much more.

is this legal?

1 Lawyer Answer
Juliet Piccone
Juliet Piccone
  • Animal & Dog Law Lawyer
  • Greenwood Village, CO

A: This is not legal per the Fair Housing Act as a blanket set of rules. Reasonable restrictions can be requested by the landlord if your particular emotional support animal(s) would somehow interfere with the living situation of other residents/ the character of neighborhood (for example your emotional support animals happen to be a flock of chicken with loud roosters) or for another example, a Peacock (a woman was observed trying to board a plane with her ESA peacock several years back) . At that point the Fair Housing Act provides for landlord and tenant to mutually resolve the issue. If they refused to budge and had no specific factual basis for saying your animal had to comply with the broiler plate demands, you would need to make a complaint with HUD.

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