I'll be getting an ESA (Emotional Support Animal) at the beginning of February. The dog was born in December so he'll be around two months old when I get him. MY landlord requires a letter from a physician justifying the ESA, a California dog license, and rabies vaccinations. I have the letter from the physician justifying the ESA so no trouble there. However, when I bring the puppy home he'll be too young to get his rabies vaccination (needs to be 3 months at a minimum) meaning I can't produce a California dog license and rabies vaccination before he's living with me.

From what I've read online you must get a CA dog license within 5 months (https://www.sddac.com/content/sdc/das/license-laws/license.html) of it being born. I'm assuming it's written this way because of the rabies vaccination. There's not really much wiggle room on the rabies vaccination since vaccinating him too early could endanger the dog.

So is the landlord allowed to ask for rabies vaccination and subsequently a dog license when it's too young? Do I have any options? Is there anything that protects me in this situation? Thank you!

I found this online but not sure if it really helps in regards to pets and renting.

California Department of Public Health Compendium of U.S. Licensed Animal Rabies Vaccines 2008, and Their Application in Animals Under the California Rabies Control Program

(b) (1) Every dog owner, after his or her dog attains the age of four months, shall, at intervals of time not more often than once a year, as may be prescribed by the department, procure its vaccination by a licensed veterinarian with a canine antirabies vaccine approved by, and in a manner prescribed by, the department, unless a licensed veterinarian determines, on an annual basis, that a rabies vaccination would endanger the dog's life due to disease or other considerations that the veterinarian can verify and document. The responsible city, county, or city and county may specify the means by which the dog owner is required to provide proof of his or her dog's rabies vaccination, including, but not limited to, by electronic transmission or facsimile.

Update: My property manager and I agreed that if I can provide a letter from a vet saying he's too young that will suffice as a holdover until I'm able to provide the CA license and rabies vaccination

1 Answer 1


A landlord is generally allowed to impose all forts of requirements on pets, unless there is something specifically prohibited, either by state of federal law. 42 USC 3602(h)(1) includes mental impairment under the term "handicap", so assuming you have the appropriate official documentation, then you cannot be discriminated against in rental housing. The landlord must make a "reasonable accommodation", which probably means suspending the vaccination requirement until the dog is old enough. Of course, if the landlord resists, you will have to file a complaint and get HUD to rule. California has a similar law.

However, to prevail in a discrimination complaint, you may have to specifically demonstrate that you can't "reasonably comply" with the landlord's requirements (a person making a disability claim has a necessity burden to shoulder). The fact of having a mental disability does not mean that a landlord has to do whatever you say. Your doctor's evidence would have to address the necessity of not getting a different dog. That is, why not get a dog that is old enough to be vaccinated? There may be medical reasons, and if so, you may not need an accommodation.

  • The reasonable accommodation is allowing a vaccinated and licensed animal. OP should not be shopping for animals which do not meet the allowed accommodation.
    – Luck
    Jan 9, 2020 at 16:32

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