Phoenix-Noel aka Nikki is my service dog., and I have been rigorously training her for dual support. In addition to her PTSD alerts, which she is already doing, I have been training her for mobility work. I have documentation from my doctor, along with health records that I provided the housing authority several weeks ago, and they just called and informed me that I cannot keep my 'pet' because she exceeds the weight limitations of 25 lbs. They are also demanding the $250 pet deposit.
She was a rescue that was afraid of her own shadow when I learned about her. She now knows how to walk on heel, commands like: go left, go right, stand, wait, give. She has awakened me from countless nightmares, and has returned a semblance of normalcy to my life that I did not think was possible.
Nikki is not a pet, and I have not been training her as a pet. I have poured my heart into this dog, and she needs to stay right where she is - with me! Please help me let the Housing Authority know the distinction between 'pet' and service animal'!
To the Valdosta Housing Authority:
As you may or may not be aware, Georgia State Law does protect disabled individuals and their service dogs:
Every… totally or partially blind person, every physically disabled person, and every deaf person who has a guide dog or service dog or who obtains a guide dog or service dog and every person engaged in the training of a guide dog or service dog shall be entitled to full and equal access to all housing accommodations provided for in this Code section, and he or she shall not be required to pay extra compensation for such guide dog or service dog. However, he or she shall be liable for any damage done to the premises by such guide dog or service dog. (O.C.G.A. § 30-4-3 (b)).
These laws protect individuals who are disabled by allowing them the right to enjoy the same rights to living accomodations everyone else does. I need my service dog in the same way a paraplegic needs his/her wheel chair, or an amputee needs a prosthetic limb.
Not all disabilities are visible to the naked eye, but that does not mean that they are not there. We strongly encourage you to review the letter provided by Lisa macDonald's doctor, as well as the other documents that were provided, and allow Phoenix-Noel aka Nikki to stay with her handler.