Did anyone notice the trick selection listed? If you said there is no such thing as an “Emotional Service Animal” you are correct. There IS no such thing as an Emotional Service Animal. Service Animals are dogs which help a person with a physical, mental, or neurological disability with day to day tasks. Emotional Support Animals are strictly Companion Animals. The ADA rules say the following about Service Animals.
Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.
Note carefully the last sentence. This is why there is no such thing as an Emotional Service Animal.
So what type of dog do you have you ask? Is it an ESA or is it a Service Dog? The answer may shock you. People are led to believe that if you have a mental disorder, your dog is an emotional support animal. Actually that is far from the truth. The ADA has a partial list of disabilities that a Service Dog can be used for.
Asthma (or other breathing problems)
Blindness (& partial blindness)
Deafness (& partial deafness)
General Hearing Difficulty
Age-Related Cognitive Decline
Any Psychiatric Condition (see exclusions below)
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
ADA Definitions of Qualified Disability
Under the ADA, an individual with a disability is a person who:
Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities;
Has a record of such an impairment; or
Is regarded as having such an impairment.
A physical impairment is defined by the ADA as:
Any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs, respiratory (including speech organs), cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genitourinary, hemic and lymphatic, skin, and endocrine.
A mental/emotional impairment is defined by the ADA as:
Any mental or psychological disorder, such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities.
The ADA does not list all conditions or diseases that make up physical, mental, and emotional impairments, because it would be impossible to provide a comprehensive list given the variety of possible impairments.
Exclusions to the Qualified Disability Definition
Neither deviant behavior (e.g., political, religious, or sexual) nor conflicts that are primarily between the individual and society are mental disorders unless the deviance or conflict is a symptom of a dysfunction in the individual. According to Title II of the American with Disabilities Act of 1990, current or future interpretation of psychological disabilities excludes common personality traits such as poor judgment or a quick temper.
Service Animals are allowed into places posted Service Animals Only. Emotional Support Animals are NOT allowed into places posted Service Animals Only. Service Animals are recognized by the Department of Justice under the American’s with Disabilities Act. Emotional Support Animals are recognized by the Fair Housing Act and the Department of Transportation’s Air Carrier Access Act. This means that Service Animals have access to any place open to the Public. Emotional Support Animals are allowed into dwellings with a “No Pets” policy that the owner is renting or leasing, and on Airlines. Taking an Emotional Support Animal into a place posted Service Animals Only is against the law as it is misrepresenting a dog as a Service Animal. The ADA states the following about misrepresentation.
Under federal laws, the fine for misrepresenting a dog as a service animal is $3,000, plus you can be subject to prison time. State laws vary, but many carry penalties as well.
This also leads me to bring up another misconception. Registries or certifications of Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals.
Each year more and more sites have popped up online claiming to “Register” or “Certify” service dogs and emotional support animals.
- No federal government agencies certify or register service dogs or emotional support animals.
- No federal government agency designates any businesses as an official registrar or certifier.
- Ask yourself how someone can certify that you have a legitimate service dog or ESA if they have never seen your dog.
- The certificates that these bogus businesses issue aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. You might as well get your neighbor to certify your dog because it would be just as legitimate.
- These businesses bank on the fact that most people believe your dog must be registered or certified by someone to be a “Real” service dog or emotional support animal.
Real service dogs or emotional support animals do not need to be registered or certified by ANYONE and any business claiming to do either is misleading you.
You may read more about the above at this website http://www.servicedogtag.com/the-service-dog-registration-certification-scam/
The ADA states the following. ADA will not impose any type of formal training requirements, registration or certification process. While some groups have urged the Department to modify this position, the Department has determined that such a modification would not serve the full array of individuals with disabilities who use service animals, since individuals with disabilities may be capable of training, and some have trained, their service animal to perform tasks or do work to accommodate their disability. A training, registration or certification requirement would increase the expense of acquiring a service animal and might limit access to service animals, especially for individuals with limited financial resources.
Hopefully this helps clear up some, or allot of confusion when it comes to Service Animals verses Emotional Support Animals.