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Highlands Residential Services Board Eliminates Pet Deposits

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Highlands Residential Services Board Eliminates Pet Deposits

Highlands Residential Services Board voted to revise its pet policy during its Thursday meeting.

A pet deposit will no longer be charged to potential residents. Executive Director Dow Harris said the pet policy has become an ineffective tool.

“I’d say we have less than a dozen a year, applications for a pet,” Harris said. “They’re all emotional support animals because everybody’s figured out that’s the way to do it. It takes the decision away from us entirely.”

The policy does have a 15-pound weight limit and only allows for cats and dogs as pets. Service animals and emotional support animals are not considered pets by the state and the board has to allow for “reasonable accommodations.”

“It’s become a circumventing thing,” Harris said. “We used to do a real good job with this, the 15-pound limit all that over the years and through the years. The reasonable accommodation issues, once that train started rolling, and they’ll bring in their Dobermans, other big dogs.”

The board also debated wording in the policy that forbids “vicious and intimidating” animals. The question raised was who makes that judgment.

“If we can work it at the management level with the tenant we do that,” Harris said. “If not, then it becomes the directors decision.”

Harris said Highlands Residential Services can forbid service animals and emotional support animals that exhibit aggressive behavior.

“We’ve had specifically pit bulls that were emotional support animals that attacked two dogs and tore into a lady over here at Willow Heights,” Harris said. “The lady chose to move instead of removing the dogs. I mean we had no choice.”

In other business, the board reviewed financial statements for Hickory Valley, Magnolia Ridge and Oak Towers. Accounting Manager Kelly Stewart told the board that as of November they were operating in the black.

The board also got an update on the eventual construction of Red Bud Village. No architect contract had been signed yet for the facility. They hope to break ground on the project in late summer or early fall.


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