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Guests asking to bring service dog


We had an inquiry today from someone looking to bring a “small 10 lb service dog”. What could it be, a dog to help someone disabled maybe? We have never had pets in the house and I don’t really want to allow them but feel bad about declining this request. Any advice?


Find out if it’s a real service dog with papers. A dog that size isn’t going to be a guide dog, so I’d be cautious. Many people buy online a little vest that says service dog. I’ve had experience with the fakers and they are usually a bit off.

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People are getting meaningless certificates online proclaiming their pets are “emotional support” or other such service animals. Don’t fall for it. Our local rental association, which I’m a member of, advises landlords to demand a note from the renter’s doctor (psychiatrist) that states such.


Here is a link to information regarding the laws about vetting service dogs.



Not all service dogs are guide dogs. A dog of any size can be a service dog.


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Everyone should read Air’s policy on how they are handling “assistance animals.” It doesn’t just include service dogs.



Here’s an article in today’s New York Times about people with disabilities being rejected by Airbnb hosts. I am saddened that there are hosts hosts who don’t everything they can to accommodate guests with disabilities.

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There are dogs that are licensed services dogs for epilepsy, diabetes, PTSD, BiPolar, Major Depression, etc. Even those online certificates and vests for support animals require a Doctor’s note and are enforceable by law for transportation and housing. I have Major Depressive Disorder and the only reason I haven’t certified my dog yet is because I own my home and haven’t had any need for certification because we haven’t traveled yet. It gets expensive for the certifications because you often have to renew them each year.

Interestingly, those 10 pound service animals can save people’s lives in many more ways than a large “seeing eye” dog that people are used to seeing. Small dogs that are carried around can sense seizures, blood sugar levels, allergens, etc.

If someone has a certification, even online, if it’s a real certification you’d be violating fair housing laws to deny someone even if you don’t allow pets. An emotional support dog is much more than a pet. Especially for those with psychiatric disorders, having that animal can mean having a survivable trip or dealing with high anxiety levels and/or debilitating symptoms. I used to look down on these certifications until I started experiencing symptoms that would be alleviated by bringing along my pet.


If it’s a room in your house, a shared property, the Mrs. Murphy exemption applies & you can say no.


In the case of assistance animals, Airbnb policy doesn’t permit you to use the “Mrs. Murphy” exemption unless it would create a health or safety concern for the host. Here is the applicable verbiage from Airbnb’s assistance animal policy.

What if I have a health or safety concern related to assistance animals?

It’s important to be aware of the fact that the assistance animal, whether a service animal or emotional support animal, plays an important role in your guest’s ability to travel. However, if your listing includes a shared space and an assistance animal would create a health or safety hazard to you or others (e.g. allergies and pets who are unable to share space with other animals due to a safety concern), we will not require you to host the guests with the assistance animal. Please be clear and polite when communicating with guests about this. We also suggest you include information regarding any allergies or any safety concerns regarding your pets in a shared space in your listing description in order to better inform prospective guests.


I just read that article a bit ago. I had an inquiry last year. First line was “I use a wheelchair, how do I get up the steps?”

My rental is up a full flight of stairs. People have to walk or be carried and I don’t carry people. No other way to get in. I suspect a lot of people have a similar situation and simply cannot accommodate some disabilities. Sad, but I do not think people renting out their own homes (I live here too) should be expected to make every change that could be made to accommodate 100% of people.

Some folks discriminate but some rentals simply can’t be dealt with. Sad but true.


I would absolutely accept a certified service/assistance dog. Maybe I’m biased being a dog lover/work with dogs/have people very close to me who rely on their services for several very different medical reasons.

True service dogs are extraordinarily well trained and won’t cause you any issues (unless you’re allergic of course). You’d probably much prefer them to any of your human guests!

Just my opinion. Laws differ depending on where you are and what type of accommodation you offer, so do look into that before declining if you were considering doing so


And being asthmatic I absolutely wouldn’t. Swings and roundabouts. I would be amazed if you were forced to accept animals into your home thereby affecting your health.

So glad we don’t have this in the UK it would be a nightmare.


Obviously you wouldn’t!

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Obviously I wouldn’t :slight_smile:


I wonder what the situation is for hosts whose homeowners’ association doesn’t allow dogs? I’m in that situation. It was a ruling that started at the beginning of the year but until that time we’d happily host dogs. Now, we’d be contravening the homeowners’ association rules if we hosted guests with a dog.

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In actual fact, it is illegal to forbid a service dog or animal of any kind into a dwelling. So you would not be breaking an HOA rule. In fact, if the bylaws for bid a service animal, the HOA is not in compliance.


So good to know - thank you!


And yet, if you’d been exposed to more dogs and cats as an infant you might not have developed asthma.



There are exceptions to the rule. It is not a blanket “illegal.”

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