Emotional support animals

FlyingDove

Learning
We have 2 dogs. They are pitbull mixes but very sweet and protective. I have looked at the esa law where I live. I will get letters for both of them. I got my very first dog in 2017. She became an ESA where I lived then. There legal benefits to taking this step
 

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
AHA (attempted humor alert)
can i register my 2 donkeys as emotional support animals? i'd love to take them into restaurants with me. that's my ass's eye in my avi pict.

attempted humor aside
good move. there are, indeed, benefits to the move. i've yet to register any of my support dogs, but i take my dogs on the road with me and feel far more secure for their company. i trust them far more than i trust a loaded gun. you can take a gun away and use it against me. good luck convincing my dog to turn on me.
 

Sadderday

New Here
AHA (attempted humor alert)
can i register my 2 donkeys as emotional support animals? i'd love to take them into restaurants with me. that's my ass's eye in my avi pict.

attempted humor aside
good move. there are, indeed, benefits to the move. i've yet to register any of my support dogs, but i take my dogs on the road with me and feel far more secure for their company. i trust them far more than i trust a loaded gun. you can take a gun away and use it against me. good luck convincing my dog to turn on me.
Your AHA failed miserably! A serious issue is the abuse of the ESA definition as meaning any species of animal whatsoever. A pet is an ESA but an ESA is not just a pet; although it isn't licensed like a true service animal, the owner should have an actual diagnosed mental health condition. Some establishments have cracked down to say the owner has to currently be in therapy and be on medication.
 

siniang

MyPTSD Pro
i've yet to register any of my support dogs

licensed like a true service animal,

NO such thing as registration/license neither for ESAs nor SDs.

Disclaimer: this is for the US. Which - considering we're talking "ESA" here - is probably the location of the OP.

Please please please please, if you try to get legal protection for your assistance animal (ESAs under the FHA are considered assistance animals together with Service Dogs; BUT under ADA only dogs and miniature horses are considered service animals and they must be task trained), do the homework and read up on the actual laws. Too much misinformation and misconception floating around, including by those who genuinely do not try to game the system.

the owner has to currently be in therapy and be on medication

That would very much be illegal...

And I agree. @arfie, that "humor" is completely inappropriate and not humorous at all. Because those of us in legit need of our ESAs have already significantly suffered at the hand of those fakers. We can't laugh about it, at all...
There's a time and place for jokes like this. This (a f*cking PTSD forum) isn't it.
 
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PlainJane

Moderator
@FlyingDove, our pets are wonderful, aren't they? None of mine have letters, but are without a doubt important to my health. Each in a different way, too. The one I mention below is a pit mix!

i take my dogs on the road with me and feel far more secure for their company

Absolutely, I take mine when I run. She loves it and she makes it less likely anybody will even approach me, let alone touch me.

the owner should have an actual diagnosed mental health condition

I disagree. I have a friend that does not have a mental disorder, but after her husband died she made her dog an ESA. I think grieving is enough.
 

siniang

MyPTSD Pro
I disagree. I have a friend that does not have a mental disorder, but after her husband died she made her dog an ESA. I think grieving is enough.

Legally, it's not, though, I think.

Do our pets provide comfort? Absolutely, including to grieving people.

However, to receive legal protection under the Fair Housing Act (and previously under the Air Carrier Access Act), the requirement for an animal to be considered an "assistance animal" (which, as stated before, does/did include EASs in those two cases) is to have an ADA-recognized disability with everything that entails (including remission of said disability). It does *not* have to be a mental disorder (could be a developmental disorder, for example). The FHA allows landlords to require the person to be in active treatment, though. Unless grief turns into depression or a different disordered, grief alone would not meet the disability requirement. *

Just because people "make their dogs an ESA" all the time doesn't mean it's *actually* legal. As mentioned before, a lot of people don't know the legalities, including most doctors -- which has actually lead to some (doctors/insurance companies) rejecting to provide such letters to begin with. 90% of people wanting an ESA resort to online services; which ALL are scams.

*
Edit:

I just looked it up and temporary issues, including grief, are covered under ADA and are en par with long-term mentla health concerns. However, I'd imagine it wouldn't hold up in court to meet the requirements for "assistance animal" for FHA protection, at least once the grief has been processed. I fail to to see the benefit of temporary ESA protection -- the only scenario I can think of is having to unexpectedly move and find housing with the dog, while actively grieving?

While grief may meet ADA requirements, requesting ESA protection may not meet the "reasonable accomodation" part in that case. Obviously, I don't know, so take what I say with a grain of salt. I'm not a lawyer, just had spent intensive amounts of time reading into SD and ESA laws (the actual laws).
 
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siniang

MyPTSD Pro
Sorry, I'm in Australia and our system is obviously very different. But...isn't this, like, the main reason people have pets? So, in my head, that means ESAs do something more, or alternatively, pretty much every pet is an ESA...???
Yep. Hence the very clear requirement of having to have a disabilty as defined by ADA. And a "prescription" letter by your treatment team attesting to your need of said animal's emotional support as part of your treatment plan. That "prescription" is required as opposed to service dogs, as ESAs don't need to be public access nor task-trained; so their "task" is to provide that extra level of comfort for your disability that goes beyond the "normal" comfort pets provide (and before anyone jumps at me: "emotional support" is not a recognized task under ADA, hence why I put it in quotation marks).

This may be beyond comprehension for both you and me, but there still is a quite large demographic for whom animals that you and I would label "pets" are mere tools with very little emotional attachment to.

Having lived in Hawaii, gosh, I've seen things...
 

PlainJane

Moderator
That's all fine and good. I just said I disagree that it should be a requirement, that's all. I think there should be limits, I don't think people should have their dog become an ESA for the hell of it and not actually need them. The limit doesn't have to be diagnosis, but the doctor's opinion on whether their patient needs the emotional support.
 

Sadderday

New Here
@FlyingDove, our pets are wonderful, aren't they? None of mine have letters, but are without a doubt important to my health. Each in a different way, too. The one I mention below is a pit mix!



Absolutely, I take mine when I run. She loves it and she makes it less likely anybody will even approach me, let alone touch me.



I disagree. I have a friend that does not have a mental disorder, but after her husband died she made her dog an ESA. I think grieving is enough.
My reply stands. Grieving is not a professionally diagnosed mental health disorder. Your argument upsets me because it is the exact reason why ESAs are ridiculed. An ESA is like a prescription for an illness and a pet is like an over-the-counter comfort like aspirin.

That's all fine and good. I just said I disagree that it should be a requirement, that's all. I think there should be limits, I don't think people should have their dog become an ESA for the hell of it and not actually need them. The limit doesn't have to be diagnosis, but the doctor's opinion on whether their patient needs the emotional support.
that's the distinction: need versus want. Like I responded to someone else, an ESA is like a prescription to treat an illness and a pet is like an over-the-counter remedy like aspirin.

Legally, it's not, though, I think.

Do our pets provide comfort? Absolutely, including to grieving people.

However, to receive legal protection under the Fair Housing Act (and previously under the Air Carrier Access Act), the requirement for an animal to be considered an "assistance animal" (which, as stated before, does/did include EASs in those two cases) is to have an ADA-recognized disability with everything that entails (including remission of said disability). It does *not* have to be a mental disorder (could be a developmental disorder, for example). The FHA allows landlords to require the person to be in active treatment, though. Unless grief turns into depression or a different disordered, grief alone would not meet the disability requirement. *

Just because people "make their dogs an ESA" all the time doesn't mean it's *actually* legal. As mentioned before, a lot of people don't know the legalities, including most doctors -- which has actually lead to some (doctors/insurance companies) rejecting to provide such letters to begin with. 90% of people wanting an ESA resort to online services; which ALL are scams.

*
Edit:

I just looked it up and temporary issues, including grief, are covered under ADA and are en par with long-term mentla health concerns. However, I'd imagine it wouldn't hold up in court to meet the requirements for "assistance animal" for FHA protection, at least once the grief has been processed. I fail to to see the benefit of temporary ESA protection -- the only scenario I can think of is having to unexpectedly move and find housing with the dog, while actively grieving?

While grief may meet ADA requirements, requesting ESA protection may not meet the "reasonable accomodation" part in that case. Obviously, I don't know, so take what I say with a grain of salt. I'm not a lawyer, just had spent intensive amounts of time reading into SD and ESA laws (the actual laws).Trust me, it certainly won't hold in court, for landlords, for airlines, or anywhere else people are trying to abuse the system.

NO such thing as registration/license neither for ESAs nor SDs.

Disclaimer: this is for the US. Which - considering we're talking "ESA" here - is probably the location of the OP.

Please please please please, if you try to get legal protection for your assistance animal (ESAs under the FHA are considered assistance animals together with Service Dogs; BUT under ADA only dogs and miniature horses are considered service animals and they must be task trained), do the homework and read up on the actual laws. Too much misinformation and misconception floating around, including by those who genuinely do not try to game the system.



That would very much be illegal...

And I agree. @arfie, that "humor" is completely inappropriate and not humorous at all. Because those of us in legit need of our ESAs have already significantly suffered at the hand of those fakers. We can't laugh about it, at all...
There's a time and place for jokes like this. This (a f*cking PTSD forum) isn't iI'm as serious as PTSD
Laws and attitudes are evolving, but still have a long way to go. I have a true need for an ESA - if I couldn't come home to decompress from the day with a soft warm furry hug, I truly believe I would not still be alive.
 

joeylittle

Administrator
While grief may meet ADA requirements, requesting ESA protection may not meet the "reasonable accomodation" part in that case. Obviously, I don't know, so take what I say with a grain of salt. I'm not a lawyer, just had spent intensive amounts of time reading into SD and ESA laws (the actual laws).
Bouncing off this quote, but replying to the thread -

Because of the existence of the FHA - the presumption is that the individual with the assistance animal has the right to bring that animal into their housing. The burden of challenge rests on the landlord. The landlord must engage in good faith with the tenant, interactively. By extension, the tenant should engage in good faith with the landlord. But reasonable accommodation is presumed until it's proven otherwise, as opposed to reasonable accommodation needing to BE proved. It's a little different in ADA access laws, but this thread is about the FHA, which is simpler in concept.

The FHA encourages individuals with assistance animals to be clear and cover the bases when they make their request, and as of 2020, have done their best to codify what those bases are, for service animals and for assistance animals. I have a link somewhere, if anyone's interested.

And, in the context of the home environment - as long as the property is not exempt from the FHA - the animal is presumed to be necessary and allowable, whether the disability is visible or not. Again, this is essential to the good faith concept. If the qualifying factors are all met, the landlord can't deny the tenant's right to have the animal until the animal does something that violates the 'reasonable' concept (which generally means, it poses some sort of threat to other tenants, threatens the livelihood of the landlord, or adds undue financial burden).

I totally understand why people with ESAs think about defensive driving when it comes to landlords - because ultimately, the landlord controls the roof that we tenants want over our heads. The power differential is entirely in their favor. That's why the FHA exists. It's to correct that imbalance, and give some rights back to the tenant.

Grieving is not a professionally diagnosed mental health disorder.
Incorrect. Prolonged grief disorder is a diagnosis in the IDC 11 and the DSM 5. It is essentially defined as grief persisting beyond six months, and in a way that it has a significant impact on daily functioning.

In the period of immediate to six months, a person may be diagnosed with adjustment disorder; there are subtypes for specific manifestations, and with bereavement - grief - there is a distinction to be drawn between those who have sufficient life circumstances/psychological wellness prior to the death event, who are able to navigate their grief and return to participating in their lives, and those who are more profoundly affected by the death event and experience an ongoing significant disturbance in the activities of daily life.

Lots of words for - yes, there are diagnoses for grief. And yes, not every grieving person is experiencing their bereavement to a degree that they need additional support.

But some people are impacted to an extent that legitimately warrants medical support.

I have a true need for an ESA - if I couldn't come home to decompress from the day with a soft warm furry hug, I truly believe I would not still be alive.
I do hear you. I think, similar to malingering - there's the 'knowing falsification' factor. If someone is trying to get away with having a pet, and doesn't have a legitimate medical need? 100% yes - they make it harder for the rest of us. No argument from me, there.

Just know your facts before you mount the soapbox, you know?
 
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