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How do I advertise an apartment and exclude pets when newspaper won't allow such advertisements?

What is the dividing line between a service animal and a pet? My newspaper won't allow me to say "no pets" in my advertisement because they say it runs afoul of Ohio's Housing Discrimination laws when it comes to the disabled.

The answer to this question is to ask it in a more focused way. Your question should really be: "What sorts of conditions qualify as disabilities wherein an animal is needed?"

If the animal is needed to help the person in performing the normal day to day functions of life (like a seeing-eye dog for the blind) then it is going to be seen as a service animal, and your refusal to allow it would be prohibited discrimination. But this is because blindness is a commonly accepted disability.

But if a person is just having a bad day and thinks that a dog will cheer him up, then that is not a commonly accepted disability for which an animal is the cure. This animal would be seen by the law as a pet and it would not be discrimination to refuse to rent to someone with a pet.

Perhaps the best way to word your advertisement for renters to get around this disability discrimination issue would be to end with "no pets, but service animals for persons with disabilities allowed."

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