This is on one of those paywalls so I am going to put it in a quote:
Dear Anne: I see in your column on a regular basis people asking about living in an apartment with a therapy and/or service dog. I am a puppy raiser for Guiding Eyes for the Blind. GEB is a certified school that trains dogs for people who are blind or visually impaired. These dogs are service dogs and are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). They cannot be denied access to any place in the USA. On the other hand, a therapy dog is a family pet that provides some type of therapy for humans — whether they help children read, visit hospitals or just make a person feel better. They are family pets and are not protected under the ADA. Unless the person has written proof that the animal has graduated under the training of an accredited service dog school, they are not protected under the ADA.There is a lot of grey area in this situation, but a service animal that is from an accredited school is a service dog, others are not. I just wanted to educate you on the differences. I read your column every week and learn a great deal and have passed along information to my adult children who are in the process of renting places for themselves. Thank you for listening.
Answer: The Fair Housing Act addresses dogs and other animals, and, unlike ADA, does not require that the animal be graduated from a certified training school. The Fair Housing Act refers to all animals that assist, support or provide services to persons with disabilities as assistive animals. A therapy animal, for example, a therapy dog or cat, is not a mere “family pet.” HUD reasons that “support animals by their very nature, and without training, may relieve depression and anxiety, and help reduce stress-induced pain in persons with certain medical conditions affected by stress.” The reasonable accommodation law protects the use of assistive animals, also referred to as service animals, assistance animals or therapy animals where housing is involved.
Animals used in hospitals, nursing facilities, schools, and the wonderful golden retrievers seen comforting families after the Newtown shootings are considered “social animals.” Several national organizations train and certify social animals, but these animals typically are not protected under ADA or the Fair Housing Act
Unlike ADA requirements that animals providing physical tasks be certified by a recognized professional training organization, an assistive animal as defined by the Fair Housing Act need not be certified by such an organization. Landlords must allow assistive animals even if they have a “no pets” policy. A landlord may ask for written confirmation of the tenant’s need for an assistive animal from a doctor. The tenant remains responsible for keeping the animal under control at all times and for promptly cleaning up after it.