When it comes to Emotional Support Animals, misconceptions and myths abound. People often believe Service Dogs and ESAs are the same things, with similar access rights. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Emotional Support Animals aren't Service Dogs, they don't have public access, and they don't require specialized training. Keep reading and dig into the nitty-gritty facts about ESAs. Emotional Support Animals Aren't Service Dogs Emotional Support Animals, including Emotional Support Dogs, are not Service Dogs. Let's say it again for the people in the back -- ESAs differ from Service Dogs. While ESAs add value to their handler's lives, legally, they have the same rights as pets, unlike Service Dogs. Service Dogs receive accommodation under America's disability access laws, whereas ESAs do not. To learn more about the difference between therapy dogs, Service Dogs, ESAs, and other working dogs, check out this article. Emotional Support Animals Are Pets Legally, ESAs are pets. They're allowed in no-pets-housing and on air transportation with the proper documentation, but outside of that, ESAs are simply pets. Someone gets an ESA when their doctor, psychiatrist, or therapist says animal companionship would benefit them and writes a letter documenting that fact. Most ESAs were simply family pets before their handler obtained a letter of necessity from a medical caregiver. Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) are an important type of working dog Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) are an important type of working dog, but they are not Service Dogs. There is no legal or valid certification or training requirements for Emotional Support Animals. We don't allow Emotional Support Animals to be included as part of Service Dog Standards or the The United States Service Dog Registry because they are not Service Dogs and therefore not covered under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). A simple letter from a physician or counselor stating need (but not mentioning any specifics) is the only documentation that is recognized under law. Emotional Support Animals Don't Require Specialized Training ESAs help individuals by comforting them with their presence but are not required to perform work or tasks related to a disability. ESAs have their own rights, separate from Service Dogs. Emotional Support Animals Don't Have Public Access Contrary to popular belief and pop culture, Emotional Support Animals don't possess public access rights. They do not belong in grocery stores, restaurants, or in places of public accommodation. This includes hospitals, doctors offices, pharmacies, and other medical environments. Of course, handlers of Emotional
On April 25th, 2013 HUD issued new guidelines for housing Service Dogs and Emotional Support Animals in an effort to clarify the law for landlords, Service Dog handlers and Emotional Support Animal owners. The new wording brings it closer in-line with the ADA. You may view the original PDF or review the text below.