Calls to recognise helper pets
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.