What are the limits of no-pet policies?

July 26, 2009
Michelle Swib was perusing the Grand Forks Herald in search of housing when she came across a listing that interested her: "3 Bed, 2 bath, laundry, dishwasher, air, private entrance." But it had a restriction. "No dogs."
     Now that restriction is the subject of a federal discrimination lawsuit that offers a look at a growing conflict between landlords' no-pet policies and disability advocates who argue there is little difference between a wheelchair ramp and a golden retriever.
     According to the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, one of Swib's two children has "mental disabilities and requires the assistance of a service animal to help manage her conditions."
     Swib, of Roseau, Minn., claims that property owner Daryl Bushee said he didn't have to accept service animals and he had won a lawsuit against another tenant with the same request. Bushee responds that Swib didn't provide sufficient proof of her child's disability, and even if she had, the dog would "have jeopardized the health, safety, or property of other tenants," according to court documents.