If you have an emotional support animal, or if you’re following the news regarding these important animals, then you may be aware of some of the news that’s happening in regard to emotional support animals.
Many news articles are popping up and pointing out that the emotional support animal system is being ‘abused.’ This, naturally, creates a response from the state saying that tighter restrictions may be needed - which, of course, would create worry among those who are actually in need of an emotional support animal.
In this article we’re going to talk about whether or not your emotional support dog is actually at risk, and what you can do to ensure the future of your ESA.
What’s Happening in the ESA Community?
Emotional support animals have become increasingly popular in recent years. The National Service Animal Registry, one of the most popular companies for ensuring an emotional support animal, had only 2,400 animals registered in the emotional support animal category in 2011. Now, they have almost 200,000 animals registered.
The huge increase in emotional support animals has led to various types of people becoming concerned. Landlords, airliners, and people running public venues have become increasingly worried about the large number of pets - usually dogs - that come with their owners bearing legitimate certificates saying that they can’t refuse the system.
While lots of people really do need emotional support animals, the suspicion is that many people are beginning to ‘abuse’ the system simply so they can gain the rights to bring their pets wherever they want to.
All sorts of animals, ranging from ducks and rabbits to snakes and spiders, have been registered as emotional support animals. Now, states are passing certain laws to prevent the abuse of the system.
For example, Utah recently passed a law saying that it was illegal for anyone to lie about the duties of their emotional support animal. If it’s simply a pet that they enjoy having around, it doesn’t count as an ESA. Oklahoma has also decided that restaurants and stores will be allowed to refuse entry to ESAs. As of 2017, 19 states were already cracking down on fake ESAs. This will (and has) continued to grow.
Should I Be Worried?
There are different ways to look at this.
If you are in genuine need of an emotional support animal, then it may be a bit more difficult to acquire one these days. However, if you are genuinely in need, there’s no reason to believe that you won’t be able to secure the licensing for your dog.
There are, however, some concerns that ESA owners may be facing with the new laws that limit the places in which emotional support animals can go. You may be refused entry into certain restaurants or stores.
Another thing to be cautious of are scams and fake businesses - though these worries were an issue before any of these new laws were passed. The most important thing to look out for are fake or dodgy looking companies. To make matters worse, it’s not just phony businesses getting in on the act. People are abusing the system, sometimes with outright fraud, which negatively affects the people that do really need an ESA or service animal.
There are lots of companies that offer you easy-to-get emotional support animal certificates. Be wary of companies that advertise over the internet, or offer to mail you certificates without actually being approved by a government agency.
When trying to get your ESA letter, you should make sure that you’re dealing with reputable companies that are directly affiliated with the agencies who certify and distribute ESA certificates.
There are some changes being made to the ESA community. However, if you have a legitimate need for an emotional support animal, then you shouldn’t have to worry too much about whether you’ll be able to get yourself an ESA.
The main concerns are making sure that you are dealing with a reputable company. Do this, and you should have few problems securing your ESA.