L.A. Problems/Service Dogs and Illegalities

The Union Rescue Mission is the first shelter in Los Angeles to help us AT ALL since we became homeless due to no fault of our own 6 days after arriving in Los Angeles in October (read how it happened here). They weren’t able to accommodate our family of 6 right now because of my service dog (religious organizations are exempt from ADA), but they put us up in a hotel from last night until Tuesday. It’s not much, but it’s something and it gives us more time!!! We are very appreciative of everything. We have been very fortunate in our situation so far. I just learned yesterday that Los Angeles has laws that require the registration of service animals. The first hotel they booked us denied us access by demanding we show a Los Angeles tag for my service dog. They found us another hotel in Rosemead because they really do care and have done everything in their power to help us. I have a lifelong history of mental illness (which I don’t talk about because of the stigma), sev ere post traumatic stress disorder and panic disorder because of a number of things from my childhood. I have had my dog, Howard since 2006, the last time I was hospitalized was 2005. In 2006, I became a dog trainer through Petsmart’s training program and independent study. I have received SSI since 2002 and am in their PASS program working on building my businesses so I can get off of SSI and all government assistance and become self sufficient for my family. That is my goal. Howard is trained to and knows how to sense when I am going to have a panic attack at the onset and calm me down before I become a danger to myself and others. He is by law and definition, a service dog. In Los Angeles, presumably based on the articles I’ve read, because of landlords causing a fuss and not wanting dogs on their property, they threw a fit and got L.A. to require special licensing of service dogs within the city. This is something I’ve never encountered before, I’ve never encountered it before, because it is illegal and against the ADA’s federal guidelines, but it’s enforced on a county level so what can I do but comply? It will take several days to get Howard a city service dog tag, but I’m doing it.

This falls on the back of a local hotel/apartel/vacational rental company that decided to allow us to book and pay for 2 nights in their room after already having stayed there twice and then told us we could not stay there for the second night, refused to give us our money back and gave us the reason because our service dog is not tagged by the city. We will be filing all kinds of complaints against them and filing a fraud complaint with our bank to get our money back.  When we told them that, they started accusing us of all kinds of damages to the units that absolutely did not happen and we have pictures of the units to prove it.

Right now we are taking things one day at a time. It’ll be 2-3 weeks before we can get our tax refund but that should be enough to get us back on our feet somehow some way whether that’s in California, Oregon, Flordia, NYC area, the Midwest or wherever. We are open to opportunities. We don’t want to end up back in KC or KS even though we miss people there dearly. We were miserable there for years. We have no idea where we are staying or how after Tuesday. It’s almost 90 degrees in Los Angeles, way too hot to sleep in the car and when we are unable to plan where we will be in the short term, it is hard to accept gigs except for the same day or next day. We’ve been working some since we’ve been here, but we knew we had 2 weeks here. Now, who knows where we will be and when? We can’t afford hotels continually. None of us qualify for more hotel vouchers from DPSS and Path has exhausted their budget for vouchers for the entire year already so their promise of a month or two of help won’t be happening. They are going to start contacting landlords on our behalf on Tuesday or Wednesday and that is a big deal because these landlords will be willing to work with us despite our credit situation. However, they tell us it could still take several weeks or more to get us placed so we will remain cautiously optimistic on that front.


From the ADA Website:

What is a service animal?

A: The ADA defines a service animal as any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability. If they meet this definition, animals are considered service animals under the ADA regardless of whether they have been licensed or certified by a state or local government.

Service animals perform some of the functions and tasks that the individual with a disability cannot perform for him or herself. Guide dogs are one type of service animal, used by some individuals who are blind. This is the type of service animal with which most people are familiar. But there are service animals that assist persons with other kinds of disabilities in their day-to-day activities. Some examples include:

_ Alerting persons with hearing impairments to sounds.

_ Pulling wheelchairs or carrying and picking up things for persons with mobility impairments.

_ Assisting persons with mobility impairments with balance.

A service animal is not a pet.

3. Q: How can I tell if an animal is really a service animal and not just a pet?

A: Some, but not all, service animals wear special collars and harnesses. Some, but not all, are licensed or certified and have identification papers. If you are not certain that an animal is a service animal, you may ask the person who has the animal if it is a service animal required because of a disability. However, an individual who is going to a restaurant or theater is not likely to be carrying documentation of his or her medical condition or disability. Therefore, such documentation generally may not be required as a condition for providing service to an individual accompanied by a service animal. Although a number of states have programs to certify service animals, you may not insist on proof of state certification before permitting the service animal to accompany the person with a disability.






If you want to help: donate or share: We appreciate everything so much! We know things could be much worse but anything you can give helps us get closer to permanent housing.

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Posted in Chasing Hollywood, Rachel.


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