Tenant claims pet monkey is an "emotional support animal."

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Compass 0524642

This morning a friend of mine was explaining to me that his buddies girlfriend wanted to be able to "get around paying a pet deposit + get her pet turkey as an emotional support animal."  Mmmmm, TURKEY!


My first thought was that there are legitimate people and perhaps scenarios where disabled veterans or other individuals who sincerely need a pet to help them stay sane, functional or simply get by. My second thought about this practice is that it will be abused and taken advantage of by a large number of renters who will use this as a scam to parade into their new apartment (or lease home) with a 120 pound dog who otherwise would not be permitted on the property. Keep in mind that the law prohibits Landlords from charging a pet deposit for "service animals." Landlords also are unable to impose restrictions on assistance animals based on breed, "size" or weight.
warthog tenant
So what stops a renter from claiming her 875 pound pet donkey is an "emotional support animal?" Tenants and applicants with "disabilities" may request a reasonable accommodation for an assistance animal, including an emotional support animal. As a Landlord you are within your right to request additional documents for the assistance animal or documentation from a medical health professional. Clearly a legitimate prospect for lease should have these documents readily available and hopefully our medical professionals are performing their due diligence (better than they do prescription drugs) when signing off on a "emotionally support animal" otherwise we'll have orangutans, giraffes and warthogs living in residential neighborhoods. Laugh if you want to, it's 2018 and we're arguing about adult cry rooms and which bathroom we should be using.
Posted by
Greg Nino
RE/MAX Compass 
Direct & Text 7 days a wk: 832-298-8555 
Realtor since 2004
Mediator & Arbitrator for the TX Assoc. of Realtors
Member of the Professional Standards Committee for the TX Assoc. of Realtors
Arbitrator for the Comptroller's office for the State of TX for Arbitration of Property Tax Values

 Member of the RE/MAX Hall of Fame & Platinum Club


The information contained in this blog is believed to be reliable and while every effort is made to assure that the information is as accurate as possible, the author of this blog, and its comments disclaim any implied warranty or representation about it's accuracy, completeness or appropriateness for any particular purpose. All information is copywritten and the property of Greg Nino.  

Comments (14)

Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Broker
Elizabeth Anne Weintraub, Broker - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

I just wanna know why you're wearing giant acorns on your wrists, Greg.

In California, a landlord cannot demand additional documents for a support animal.

May 08, 2018 10:22 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC

I agree with you Greg that a lot of people are taking advantage of what qualifies as an "emotional support" animal. Unfortunately it's just a sign of the times & trying to disprove the assertion is more time consuming to make it worth challenging.

May 08, 2018 11:40 AM
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

That slope has been made slippery by a pile of dookie for a decade now.  And it's one of the reasons I don't DO managment anymore.  People are coo coo ca choo .


May 08, 2018 11:50 AM
JL Boney, III
Coldwell Banker - Columbia, SC
Columbia, SC Real Estate

I believe a lot of things have simply gone too far, but what the hell would I know, I still carry my therapy goldfish on listing appointments to avoid anxiety.

May 08, 2018 01:05 PM
Jim Harper
Atlanta Communities Real Estate - Marietta, GA

I'm with Tammy - I just say no to property management. But I did enjoy the embedded hunor in your post  

May 08, 2018 06:29 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

I agree Greg - the world has gone crazy. Or is it just the U.S. that's gone off the deep end?

May 08, 2018 08:30 PM
Kimo Jarrett
Cyber Properties - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing? Where have all the flowers gone, long time ago?

Where have all the graveyards gone? Covered with flowers every one. When will we ever learn? When will we ever learn? Take our country back!

May 09, 2018 01:52 AM
John Wiley
Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

I have found that only a long necked giraffe is able to quiet my inner turmoil.

Oh, Mr. Landlord, I will need you to raise the roof 15 feet so my comfort animal will not bump it's head.

Yes, the abuse of these rulings will get strange.

May 09, 2018 07:59 AM
Raymond Denton
Homesmart / Evergreen Realty - Irvine, CA
Irvine Realtor®

Where you been, Greg?

May 09, 2018 03:44 PM
M.C. Dwyer
Melody Russell Team at eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Felton, CA
MC Dwyer-Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist

Well, someone near me got turkeys and I have to say, every time they gobble gobble it makes me smile.      I thought I wouldn't hear them afer the holidays last year, but they're still gobbling unlike your therapy turkey apparently.

May 10, 2018 04:35 PM
Sonja Patterson
Keller Williams - BV - College Station, TX
Texas Monthly 5-Star Realtor Recipient for the Hou

You'll have to let us know if the girlfriend had her request granted.  Yes, my dog would love a therapy turkey--but it looks more like the one in your photo. :)

May 14, 2018 03:16 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

It can definitely be a dicey area of inquiry. I personally have not had to deal wtih this issue but know plenty of others who have, and some interesting landlord scenarios.

May 19, 2018 06:49 AM
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

What's this about adult cry rooms?  Please expound in a light hearted post with some funny pictures to entertain us.

Sometimes I feel like a support animal for my dog... he's so needy.

Jun 10, 2018 05:58 PM
Dorte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Greg,

Maybe we need to go back to huts with straw flooring for all. I do not know too many landlords, who would be thrilled about any animals that pee & poo on their investment property floors.

Aug 12, 2018 03:22 PM