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I was wondering your thoughts on emotional support animals and whether you think they should have the rights that other service dogs like psychiatric, mobility, hearing, autism, and seizure alert service dogs have.

I have a family member who has an "emotional support dog" and I feel she is taking advantage of the system. He's a chihuahua that she claims to have "trained" herself however he has very little training. He's a bit nasty, he's got some dog aggression, and when other people pick him up he growls and once when I went to hug her before she left while she was holding him he went to bite me in the face!

My grandma works for Wal Mart and she says people bring in "emotional support" animals all the time, and just recently one ladies dog pooped in the middle of the aisle and she didn't clean it up she just kept walking!

The sad things is I believe there may be people who really need one, but they're looked at so poorly due to them being the easiest one to take advantage of and many people do. I have pretty bad anxiety but it's very situationally specific like when I'm in large groups of unfamiliar people who are all familliar with each other. Sounds strange but I swear it's the worst possible situation for me, I usually go to a room by myself and cry and I haven't a clue why I feel like that!

I try to bring Cosmo when I can and I'm in those situations and he helps a ton and makes it possible for me to sit out with others because he enjoys my attention and it gives me something to focus on other than anxiety, so I understand how a dog can help someone with anxiety or depression, but I wouldn't pull that card just to bring him in the mall with me :/
 

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I have a very good friend who has adopted a wonderfully sweet Llasa Apso, and so naturally she wants to take the dog with her shopping and on other errands. She's gotten a doctor's letter (based on her dad's health) and a cute little vest, but in all honesty, there is absolutely no need at all for her to have an emotional support dog to go shopping at her supermarket. She's absolutely capable of going places without a service dog of any kind.

I love my friend. I love my friend's dog. But, I have to say I think she's taking advantage of the very lax restrictions for emotional support dogs.
 

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I have a very good friend who has adopted a wonderfully sweet Llasa Apso, and so naturally she wants to take the dog with her shopping and on other errands. She's gotten a doctor's letter (based on her dad's health) and a cute little vest, but in all honesty, there is absolutely no need at all for her to have an emotional support dog to go shopping at her supermarket. She's absolutely capable of going places without a service dog of any kind.

I love my friend. I love my friend's dog. But, I have to say I think she's taking advantage of the very lax restrictions for emotional support dogs.
I think most dog owners want the ability to take their pets into supermarkets with them as it leaves less worry about a heated car, as well as it's fun to show off your cute poochy, but it's unfair to the individuals that actually need one and are denied that in places where it really matters like airports and things, just because so many people take advantage of it.
 

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If a person wants to get a certificate from the dr stating that their dog is an ESA that's fine. That person will then not be able to be denied housing due to having a dog, pet fees do not apply, and from what I understand a person can also fly with the dog in the cabin of the plane.
https://www.animallaw.info/article/faqs-emotional-support-animals

Other then those things, an ESA is not allowed in public buildings that is not pet friendly. They cannot be taken out to the grocery store, to the clothing store, to the museum. That's because ESA animals are not required to have any special training. Pretending that they are true service animals makes it that much harder for people who really need service animals. If I decided that I wanted to take Zody, who is people fearful, everywhere with me and bought him a nice little, fake as a $4 bill, vest with service dog patches, and then took him out to the store and he started pitching a fit, that reflects badly on all the other service dogs and their handlers.

If a person has some sort of mental disability, that would be helped by having their dog around, then have the dog trained as a psychiatric service dog so that the dog can legally accompany him or her in public buildings. Otherwise leave the dog at home.
 

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In most US states, emotional support animals do not have any public access rights (they do not get to come into "no pets" shops or areas). They aren't service dogs, and aren't covered by the ADA. Bringing one into a public area and claiming protection under the ADA is a violation of federal law. And any ADA assistance animal can be asked to leave if it behaves aggressively or threateningly, or if it isn't housetrained. That's been established law for decades, since the ADA was passed.

The ADA is not about protecting the rights of certain dogs, or giving pet owners comfort. It's about protecting the rights of people with disabilities to be free from discrimination and to enjoy equal access to public spaces. Honestly, my sympathies do not lie with business owners. The ADA guidelines for service animals have been pretty clear from the beginning, and have only gotten more so over time. Any business owner who wants to make sure that they understand them can go to ADA.gov homepage and see how the law applies to them, and then can act in a lawful manner (whether to ban emotional support animals from their store, or ask out-of-control service animals to leave, or train their staff better) without discriminating against people with disabilities.
 

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I think they can be a good thing, but until they are required to to have certain training like a service dog, they should continue to not be allowed access to public places. Otherwise, they become a danger and a problem to everyone else, which is not worth helping the person they are with.
 

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I think the OP assessed the situation pretty well. I do believe that there are people for whom ESA dogs are very helpful and who manage their dogs well. That is, they make sure they have the appropriate training to be in public and understand where ESA dogs are allowed and where they aren't. In other words, they're good dog owners who follow the rules. Unfortunately there are also people who take advantage of the system just because they want to take their dogs everywhere with them and who do not bother to make sure that their dogs have manners appropriate to the places they are taken. Those people just make it harder for everyone, including not just good ESA owners/handlers but people who have assistance dogs of other types or even those who have therapy dogs, who are also only allowed in facilities that either allow all dogs or which specifically say they welcome therapy dogs (like nursing homes, hospitals, schools etc.--and some businesses that are nice enough to allow people who are training dogs who need public experience for a specific task to come in).

Incidentally, I also have nothing but distain and contempt for those companies that sell vests that say "ESA" or "Therapy Dog" on them to anyone with the cash to pay for them, whether their dogs should be wearing them or not. They're a huge part of the problem too.
 

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Emotional support animals can well soothe and comfort their owners, they can also increase anxiety and tension among others in the public places where they are now allowed access.
They give an amazing comfort to there owners and give that support they wanted to, But we get selfish some time we can't just thing about ourselves all the time but give good care to our ESA and properly follow the federal laws.
 
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