Calls to recog­nise helper pets

Mercury (Hobart) - - NEWSFRONT -

THE Ten­ants’ Union has added its voice to calls for as­sis­tance an­i­mals for peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties and men­tal ill­ness to be recog­nised in the same way as guide dogs for the blind.

The renters’ lobby said it was of­ten con­tacted by peo­ple who needed as­sis­tance an­i­mals but were re­fused leases be­cause land­lords saw them as pets.

“Ex­am­ples in­clude a ten­ant whose dog was able to warn him of an im­pend­ing epilep­tic seizure and a ten­ant whose men­tal well­be­ing was im­proved fol­low­ing the pur­chase of a talk­ing bird,” Ten­ants’ Union so­lic­i­tor Ben Bartl said.

“The gap in the law means that land­lords only recog­nise their re­spon­si­bil­ity to al­low the as­sis­tance an­i­mal af­ter a dis­crim­i­na­tion com­plaint is filed ... We should not have to take land­lords to court in order to get them to recog­nise their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.”

La­bor this week re­it­er­ated its call for changes to grant pub­lic ac­cess rights to as­sis­tance an­i­mals sup­port­ing peo­ple “with a range of dis­abil­i­ties and im­pair­ments”.

A govern­ment spokesman said Tas­ma­nia was rep­re­sented on a na­tional work­ing group ex­am­in­ing the is­sue.

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