[nagdu] Reasonable Accommodation?

Jewel S. herekittykat2 at gmail.com
Sun Sep 5 03:05:24 UTC 2010

Since the maintenance of the backyard and the removal of the trees was
in the pricing contract, why not bring this to civil court? If it were
me, I'd go to a Disability Advocacy group (Here in Raleigh we have the
Disability advocacy Alliance, which is also the non-profit who host
the local Independent Living Center...how convenient is that!). While
this is not really related to owning a guide dog, it *is* related to
being blind. I hate to say it, but a sighted person would probably
just use the backyard, maintained or not, and trees would not be an
issue for a sighted person, no matter their odd placements (I'm
assuming that the trees are a hazard because of odd placement, not
simply because they are in the yard?). The Disability Advocacy group
in your area can recommend a lawyer to you to file a lawsuit against
your leasor to force him to provide the maintenance as stated in the
contract or pay you the cost of doing the maintenance (get at least
three estimates from different companies...judges like when you've
done your homework to find the lowest cost...it shows you're not a
money grubber, you just want the work done like it's supposed to be!).
When the case goes to civil court, bring the contract which you and
your leasor both signed that shows the exact maintenance that the
leasor signed saying he would provide as part of the leasing of his
property, the estimates (like I said, three is a good number, though
if you can get more, all the better for you, though I doubt the judge
will look at more than three), your guide dog, proof of blindness,
pictures of the yard as proof of its lack of maintenance and the
placement of trees that makes it dangerous for you, the fence that you
put up (that I'm assuming was part of the contract for you to provide
the payment for fence placement?), and of course good ol' Mitzi!
Information about the restrictions about dogs off the leash in the
front yard, and a perpared explanation of why the dog park doesn't
work for you (overcrowded, likely to trip over other dogs, worried
about dogs' aggression toward your dog, or whatever reasons you might
have. I know they are legitimate, and the judge will know too).

You may have to pay for a lawyer, but then again, the Disaibilty
Advocacy group in your area (and hopefully you have one) may find a
lawyer who will do it pro bono to make his/her resume look all that
much nicer...cases with the disabled always seem to look nice when
they are pro bono. Kinda like how a studen'ts application for a
scholarship looks better with community service on it.

That's what I would suggest. I don't think it's something to bring up
with the guide dog school, since it really doesn't have anything to do
with Mitzi being a guide dog, like you said. I would mentio nit to
your local NFB chapter; they may be able to help you find a lawyer who
will work pro bono or find funding, and the Lions' club is a good
resource too, of course.

I hope this helps, and I hope you bring this to civil court. In my
opinion, that would be the wisest course of action, since it has been
a year and a half and the leasor hasn't done what he signed off as
saying he would in the contract. Smart of you to put it in the
contract...if you hadn't, I'd say "touch luck, next time get it in
writing." But you did, so good for you! Judges like to see things in
writing, and will honour what's in writing over any verbal agreements.

Good luck with this; I hope you win!

On 9/4/10, Tamara Smith-Kinney <tamara.8024 at comcast.net> wrote:
> Er...  Is there a secret key to requesting reasonable accommodation under
> the FHA (we're talking a single rule in this case)?
> In other words, can I just write a quick letter saying I need to do X with
> my dog so I am requesting ye olde reasonable accommodation?  And that's
> that?
> Er...  Um...  What if the reason I need reasonable accommodation in this
> case is because the people I'm requesting it from have not met their legal
> and contractual responsbilities when it comes to the safety of the land we
> rent from them for the home we own...
> This is Oregon, BTW.  Dealing with it directly by, say, hiring an attorney
> and stuff like that is not, as near as anyone I know has ever discovered,
> will not happen.  Some of the people I know and have discussed such matters
> with are working feverishly to do something about Oregon landlord/tenant law
> while trying to provide advocacy for tenants, but the problem is so hopeless
> and so overwhelming that they just come out and tell you that the best they
> can do is to give you a list of numbers to call but that nobody at the other
> end of those numbers will do a dange thing.
> So...  We fenced off our backyard, after getting proper approval and such
> when we purchased the house, and they promised they would fix the back yard
> so it was safe to walk around on and ready for us to landscape.  This would
> required heavy equipment and the like but they would get it in and do it
> before we moved in.  Also, of course, they would get the trees removed,
> since they create a safety hazard for me especially and since we included
> the removal of those trees in our purchase contract.  We purchased the home
> from the landowners we rent the lot from.
> Anyway, a year and a half later, and I still cannot exercise with the dogs
> in the backyard.  So I need reasonable accommodation to do so with Mitzi in
> my front yard, which is safe for both of us, except for no fence between us
> and the street.  Side street, limited traffic, most of it slow, but still!
> Mitzi is off leash and boundary trained -- although she will still push the
> envelope a bit on the boundaries, then turn around and run back.  At the age
> of 4, she's got it down to 4 feet (hers, as opposed to one toe) over the
> line, and then hardly ever.  So it's our safest option to get the exercise
> we both need without having to risk death going to a dog park, since they
> are now belatedly upgrading the infrastructure out here to accommodate the
> population, so it's crazy out there.  /smile/
> Anyway, I'm feeling quite lost in it all because as far as the park manger
> (the one who is supposed to be getting the work done) is concerned, I am
> breaking a rule by playing with my dog in my own front yard, which he
> translates as letting her run loose around the entire park.  Er...  I did
> attempt to discuss the situation, and DD has done so as well, but they
> called the Oregon Commission for the Blind about it...  And I think GDB,
> too, though I can't remember for sure.  I thought I made it clear it had
> nothing to do with my blindness or Mitzi's work as a guide dog, beyond the
> added value of her training, which they are crazy to think I will endanger
> just willy nilly...
> There is also, apparently, an issue with Mitzi's being off-leash in the
> front yard because of Daisy.  Who has nothing to do with it and is *never*
> off leash anywhere except in the house, the back yard or the car.
> Nevertheless, last I heard, my playing/training/exercising my poodle in my
> own front yard is a terrible, terrible problem and danger because we can't
> have Daisy loose out there.
> I will remind you, I live in Oregon.  There is not a dang thing I can do or
> anyone to call or write on the state level who will do anything or even
> record the call or put my letter in a file ... Very much the same as with
> OCB.   Well, since I'm blind and my dog also happens to be a guide dog when
> she's working, I can get referred to the OCB or to GDB...  /lol/  Even when
> it's clearly not a blindness or guide dog related issue.  And even if it
> was, my dog is not from GDB, so...  I can't quite figure out how they come
> into it, except that they happen to be there and I happen to have a guide
> dog.  /lol/
> I've been asking around here and there to see if maybe some randome person
> will know something I don't that will make the way things are around here
> make sense...More than one such random human has suggested I call OCB and
> GDB, seeming quite assured that that will take care of everything...  OCB is
> militant in protecting information relating to blindness or blindness
> issues, although a sighted person can't be expected to know that, I guess.
> As for GDB...  Have I been living this close to them all this time without
> ever catching on that they're actually Hogwarts?  /lol/  Even if I did call
> them about the issue, why would they possibley care?  Or why would they
> assume that I am not a crackpot myself, on the basis that I have called them
> out of the blue about an issue that has nothing to do with them or one of
> their dogs or anything, with the expectation that they will fix it?
> Now that I have attempted to ask the question and try to outline the
> situation, I am feeling like a crazy crackpot, so I guess I'll have my guide
> dog take me to the store and hope we live to tell the tale...  It's not the
> traffic on Farmington that's the problem, I have decided.  It's the people
> driving the traffic...  Also since there is nowhere to walk but the bike
> lane most of the way, and since drivers assume the bike lane is there for
> them to pass on...  Whaddaya do? /smile/
> Tami Smith-Kinney
> -----Original Message-----
> From: nagdu-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:nagdu-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf
> Of Sherri
> Sent: Friday, September 03, 2010 7:12 PM
> To: NAGDU Mailing List,the National Association of Guide Dog Users
> Subject: Re: [nagdu] harness pouch
> Thank you. That's where mine came from too, however, it is worn out.
> Perhaps a harness pouch with the NFB logo and a picture of a dog or
> something like that would be a good item that NAGDU could sell for
> fund-raising as well.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Charlene Ota" <caota at hawaii.rr.com>
> To: "'NAGDU Mailing List,the National Association of Guide Dog Users'"
> <nagdu at nfbnet.org>
> Sent: Friday, September 03, 2010 10:01 PM
> Subject: [nagdu] harness pouch
>> Sherri, just to let you know, I found out that the harness pouch that I
>> was
>> given is actually the sign that says something like "Don't pet working
>> dog"
>> and it was purchased from Guide Dogs Incorporated for $20. The sign is a
>> small pouch that fits over the harness with two straps. The pouch has
>> GDUI's
>> logo on it but I don't think the sign does and thsign is basically a small
>> pouch in itself and has room enough for pooh bags and maybe a foldable
>> water
>> bowl or things like that.
>> That's about all I know. I'm not sure where else to get harness pouchs or
>> signs like it.
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