U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson is seeking help from other federal agencies to investigate Web sites that may be selling phony assistance animal documentation.
The Fair Housing Act includes individuals with disabilities as a protected class, and one type of reasonable accommodation is enabling regarding assistance animals to help these individuals work and perform tasks. While HUD noted that documentation from a healthcare professional is helpful and appropriate when an individual’s disability is not obvious and not already known, some sites are selling documentation that lack proper verification from healthcare providers.
“These certificates are not an acceptable substitute for authentic documentation provided by medical professionals when appropriate,” said Carson, who sent a letter
to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) for assistance. “These Web sites that sell assistance animal certificates are often also misleading by implying that they are affiliated with the federal government. Nothing could be further from the truth. Their goal is to convince individuals with disabilities that they need to spend hundreds of dollars on worthless documentation to keep their assistance animal in their homes.”