There are many differences between service animals and emotional support animals. These differences determine what laws apply to the individual. Under the ADA, an emotional support pet is not considered a service animal.
Emotional Support Animals
Emotional support animals are usually dogs or cats, but they can also be other domesticated animals. These are prescribed for a person by their licensed therapist in a properly formatted letter. Emotional support animals are protected under the Fair Housing Act. This law requires landlords or Home Owners Associations to make reasonable accommodation for emotional support animals. They are also allowed to fly with you in the cabin of an airplane, without extra fees or charges.
According to the ADA, service animals are limited to dogs and, in some cases, miniature ponies. Service animals must be specifically trained to assist with a disability that substantially limits an individual’s ability to perform at least one major life task without assistance. Similar to emotional support animals, service animals are protected under the Fair Housing Act. Unlike emotional support animals, they are allowed in any public place, including stores, movie theaters, and more.
Service animals are commonly used as a guide for the blind, alerting the deaf, and pulling wheelchairs. They are also used to alert and protect a person having a seizure, remind a mentally ill person to take medications, calm an individual with PTSD, and perform many other functions.
There are many major differences between service animals and emotional support animals. This affects which laws will apply to the specific animal. Both types are protected under the Fair Housing Act and are allowed in the cabin of airplanes. Service animals are allowed in any public place. It is important to know the differences between emotional support animals and service animals, in order to know your rights.