Emotional-support animals are covered under the Fair Housing Act.

Emotional-support animals are covered under the Fair Housing Act. Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto/David Osberg

Q I live in a condo that doesn't allow certain service dogs. I have a certificate, a vest and badge, and a doctor's letter, but the president of the condo association doesn't want to look at it. I have panic attacks, anxiety and depression. When I have my lab with me, she calms me down. Isn't there a law that service dogs are allowed in condos?

— STK, Florida

A Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Florida law, if your dog is a service animal — an animal that has been trained to provide certain tasks for someone with a mental, physical, sensory, psychiatric or intellectual disability — then your condo must allow the dog to remain with you. A service animal must have received specialized training to respond to your particular disability.

These laws, however, do not apply to emotional-support animals. An emotional-support dog is not trained to provide a service, even though there is no discounting the fact that he or she is providing an enormous comfort for a stressed owner. Emotional-support animals, however, are covered under the Fair Housing Act, and no training is required. You do have to provide proof, which requires a letter from a doctor or mental health care professional who has determined you need this emotional-support animal for a mental health disability.

Unfortunately, emotional-support animals do not have the same guarantees to be in public spaces — like restaurants and grocery stores — as service animals, but landlords are required under the FHA to make reasonable accommodations for people who need emotional-support animals. The caveat: Not all properties are covered by the FHA.

If you are unsure whether your dog is a service animal or an emotional-support animal or is covered under the FHA or not, consult a lawyer. Hopefully, your condo allows pets because it's clear you benefit from having a dog in your life.

Q I love all the reader tips about getting a cat to cooperate with nail trimming. I have tried all those suggestions at one time or another with my cats, but to no avail . So now, I take one of my guys to the vet (he was banned from the pet groomers for rude behavior). The other cat, however, sits there sweetly, docilely and readily allows the groomer to trim his nails. He even purrs throughout the process.

— Melissa, Newington, Connecticut

A If at first you don't succeed, find someone else to do it. Cats are particular about people and sometimes it just means you have to find the right person to cut their nails. I am not surprised you have two different solutions for two different cats. They have such different personalities, and a technique that works on one won't necessarily work on another.