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Assistance Animals
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ATARTS
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06/09/2018 - 12:15 pm
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Hi There, 

We have a no pets by-law, currently in place but someone wants to get round this by training an assistance animal even though i know they are not disabled, is this possible? 

Ta

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Sir Humphrey
Canberra
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06/09/2018 - 1:05 pm
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Where are you? In the ACT, a resident must apply to keep an animal but the owners corporation cannot unreasonably withhold permission. Any rule (aka bylaw or article) must be consistent with that provision of the Act. 

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ATARTS
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06/09/2018 - 3:52 pm
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sorry i’m in NSW 

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Happy Strata
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06/09/2018 - 6:00 pm
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Sorry to tell you this but your No Pets bylaw may not stand up if tested. 

Per Cathy Sherry’s recent article: https://www.smh.com.au/business/consumer-affairs/even-goldfish-could-be-banned-until-now-20180904-p501oa.html NCAT last week published a decision that a blanket ban on pets was invalid as it breached the new prohibition on bylaws that are harsh, unconscionable or oppressive. 

A complex I am involved in currently has a No Pets bylaw in place, which numerous residents ignore, and at the next AGM we intend to put in a well structured but fair bylaw requiring an independent assessment by a vet of the suitability of the breed of cat/dog etc to the unit. This has been based upon other excellent posts on this forum. 

Re your specific question about assistance animals. If they have their animal trained and a permit obtained, and an appropriate medical professional signs off on the residents “condition” being aided by the assistance animal, you would be very hard pressed to get the animal removed, regardless of it your No Pets bylaw is valid or not. 

Per https://www.olg.nsw.gov.au/public/dogs-and-cats/information-for-the-community/assistance-animals it is not hard to find a disability that a person could claim that would be very hard to disprove. 

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VicRes
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09/09/2018 - 2:58 pm
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ATARTS said
even though i know they are not disabled,

Ta  

How do you know? Are you privy to their medical records? If so you’re bound by confidentiality requirements not to discuss them in a public forum.

 

Or is your (mis) ‘diagnosis’ based on your (incorrect) belief that disabled people present in a specific way and are easily identified?

 

Be very careful assuming what you think you know. If your rationale for refusing an assistance animal is based on your misdiagnosis then you may be personally liable for any compensation claim for discrimination.

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peaceandquiet
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14/10/2018 - 7:35 pm
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Recently our strata building had a (false) fire alarm at 5am.

We all piled out onto the street in our pyjamas clutching our nearest and dearest. I never knew so many of my neighbours had pets!

The building (in VIC) doesn’t allow pets unless there’s a medical requirement.

Some of us were chatting and several holding dogs swapped tips about pretending medical conditions to GPs that warrant a pet. Personally I support people having well-cared-for pets that cause no problems but it did make me cynical about the assessment of medical requirements.

In the case of a pet owner’s neighbour being allergic to pets or debilitated by fear of them, it seems unfair that those difficulties can be trumped by a faked medical condition. Pet ownership and its impact on others needs to be taken more seriously.

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JimmyT
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14/10/2018 - 10:58 pm
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A couple of thoughts …

The fact that you didn’t realise so many neighbours had pets until there was a fire alarm suggests that pets are not a problem in your building – just the idea of them.

As for fake medical conditions, this is what happens when unnecessarily harsh rules cut across ordinary people’s needs and desires.

Make no mistake, if someone brought an animal into the building and it caused genuine distress and suffering to a resident, the medical diagnosis would cut the other way, regardless of whether or not the pet owner had permission.

It’s like the people who inflict a fake asthma diagnosis on their children just so they can lift their carpets and put down timber floors.

The real underlying problem is a culture of disdain and contempt for by-laws (hello, Airbnb!) married to a reluctance to look at our by-laws and see if they are relevant to the way we live today 

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peaceandquiet
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17/10/2018 - 7:03 pm
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Thanks for your thoughts JimmyT. Absolutely, there’s a culture of contempt for by-laws. I question whether by-laws restricting pets are always harsh. However we live, want doesn’t equal need or right.

In the case of my building, what’s harsh is someone with a real medical condition having to get rid of a neighbour’s pet. Even harsher is the fate of the pet, which may end up in a shelter or worse. All because it’s easy to cheat the assessment process. As some people in my building were openly owning up to doing.

Rather than ejecting pets after they’re proven to be a nuisance or a medical problem for a neighbour, it would be kinder to people and animals to have an effective assessment process up front. One that recognises how community-minded strata pet owners need to be.

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