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Posted byu/[deleted]2 months ago
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Syllogism: Service animals are not pets. Emotional support animals are not service animals. Therefore, ESA are pets?

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ModModerator Achievement · 2 mo. ago · Stickied comment

It looks like you're asking a question about Emotional Support Animals. Please check out our Wiki Page about ESAs that answers a lot of commonly asked questions.

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level 1

Squares are not circles. Triangles are not squares. Therefore triangles are circles.

level 2

THANK YOU. This drives me nuts.

level 1
· 2 mo. ago · edited 2 mo. ago

The FHA classifies ESAs as assistance animals along with service animals. The gov website even states that they are not pets. You mentioned in another comment that you could just say your pet provides emotional support (which is technically true as all pets do) but that isn’t enough to legally classify an animal as an assistance animal. A request to have an assistance animal accommodated by the housing provider must be accompanied by reliable disability related information unless the disability or disability related need is apparent.

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Comment removed by moderator · 2 mo. ago
level 1
· 2 mo. ago
Service Dog Handler

Depends of locations. Legally, ESAs are a type of assistance animal under the FHA, in the US. So not a pet. Service animals for mental disabilities are called psychiatric service dogs, not ESAs.

level 1

Okay I’m in this sub because I love learning about service dogs but I don’t have one myself. I think a lot of people miss the value of ESAs for certain people. My ESA brings me joy, sure. But it also forces me to have a routine, take walks, come home at night, and gives me a reason not to make a “final decision”, because who would take care of him? It goes further than just comfort, and it’s more important than just a pet. That being said, my dog isn’t trained for public access and doesn’t really do tasks, so it’s very different from a service dog.

level 1

They are not pets. ESAs are defined as a type of "assistance animal" under the FHA, which very clearly states they are not pets. Check this link for a ton of detailed information, but that specific statement is on page 2. This information is valid everywhere in the US that is covered by the FHA, which is most housing providers.

In public access situations they are subject to pet policies according to the ADA. But that also depends if the state or local government gives additional benefits to ESAs. Most don't, but the point is they can.

So it really depends on what specific context you're talking about (housing versus public access and where) but since they are very much not pets in housing, they are technically not pets. As long as a hypothetical ESA handler in question knows the limits of their access rights and is using the animal appropriately, I have zero inclination to nitpick about whether or not it's a pet in general.

level 1
· 2 mo. ago
Service Dog

FHA groups all of them as assistance dogs and says that they are not considered pets.

I disagree. I see them as pets that have a special legal status within the FHA/DOH rules.

level 2

The law says they're not pets and does not care about your opinion.

Why the need to downgrade the help someone else needs just because it's not the help you need?

level 1

ESA can also be ANY animal while SD (or SMH) are the only species covered for Public Access.

level 1

cars have windows and move, bikes have no windows and move, a modular home has windows and moves. which of these three is a motor vehicle.

esas are medical tools same as service dogs, but they are different tools.

level 1

They are not pets. I'm not sure if this is state to state, but at least in mine, ESAs are protected under FHA and ADA. They just don't have the same rights as a service dog in public situations. So if you're renting, landlords can't collect a pet deposit on them.

THERAPY dogs on the other hand, aren't protected the same as an ESA or SD.

I hope this helps!

Edit: adding that it is important to have a note from the provider that the animal is an ESA as well if you renting!

level 2

Both ADA and FHA are federal laws. ESA are not covered by any portion of ADA. They are considered "assistance animals" under FHA.

Continue this thread 
level 2
level 1

Personally, I feel that ESAs are a pet. The value of a pet for some is held to a higher value, so they are classified as an ESA to allow people who really NEED a pet to have them even when housing accomidations wouldn't typically allow them, but yes they are a pet.

ESAs require ZERO training of any kind, just a mental health or emotional health need for the companionship or comfort.

I would feel VASTLY different if an ESA was required to have a certain level of training and a set temperament. Not as extensive as Service Dogs, but definitely well trained.

I appreciate and respect the value of a pet. I've had dogs all my life.

However, not every PET is good around people, other animals, or even in high traffic environments like stores, schools, airports, etc.

Service Animals go through EXTENSIVE training to serve their handler. They are required to be non-aggressive, have manners in public settings, be well trained, perfor specific tasks that help their handler and allow them to live a more independent and normal life.

There is a reason ESAs are only really given the privilege of living with their handler while Service Dogs are given the privilege of public access to go almost anywhere their handler does.

level 1

Okay so there are 4 types of jobs that could be done. (currently, not historically)

Service, emotional support, and therapy. (the 4th is working dog, which has its own wide variety and not talked about below; herding dogs to drug sniffers, etc)

The basic breakdown is

Service dog: a dog that does a very specific, medically necessary task for someone with a disability for that disability. The task that is done cannot be done any other way for the handler alone and in a public situation. (so if there is a task that needs done and another person is required, and the dog can take the place of that person...)

  • example: someone who is blind; they could have another person hold their hand and lead them along or they could have a seeing-eye service dog do it.. or it could not be done at all. There is medical equipment that could help aid them, like a white cane, but that is not going to help them safely navigate certain situations.

The only other animal that could be a service animal is a service miniature horse, but they have their own ADA rules... but the rules changed only within the last 2 decades from any animal, that helped play into the emotional support any animal can be one

Emotional Support Animal: is an animal for one person to help soothe and calm them at home. This could be any type of pet that is legal to own. They still require a diagnosis and recommendation from a medical professional. They do not require training at all, they just have to be of comfort.

  • yes, any pet could fulfill this role, as long as they’re able to do the function needed. They are not considered pets when it comes to housing laws. So while all ESAs can be pets, not all pets are ESAs.

Therapy dog: is a trained dog that provides the emotional support to anyone in need. (a lot of retired service dogs play this role), they are the dogs you see visiting hospitals and nursing homes.

Some back story on SDs & ESAs that help with understanding why they exist like they do.

Generally, years ago, service animals were very specific.

Mostly they were seeing-eye or hearing impaired type dogs. (a very clear disability a dog mitigated)

seeing eye dogs have been around for a very long time, during the Roman Empire they were used!

Then dogs were being used more and more for psychological reasons too! The benefits were realized to greatly improve the quality of life with people diagnosed with mental conditions.

ADA first started to recognize these dogs as service dogs in 1990

Two decades ago, I had received my previous service dog, she was fully trained professionally as a service dog by a program specifically for women & children with disabilities; all the public access work was there, etc. but she was considered an emotional support animal because of the type of work she did, being psychological in nature. She was task specific with a job that I could not accomplish alone without her or another person accompanying me in public.

She had full rights then, just like a SD now a days.

Then things started to change... “emotional support pet” started being more of an... “I have anxiety and this bunny makes me feel better in general” (for example)

These animals were not trained, but the benefits were still realized.

So the ADA split them: emotional support animals & psychiatric service dogs.

They both require a diagnosis, they both require a recommendation from a medical professional, they both have housing rights.

But one is public access trained & used to mitigate a specific task for a disability where the other is not highly trained and used to mitigate stress/anxiety relief to give comfort just in general.

My current SD is a PSD, he is the same as my previous SD who was an ESA (at the time).

level 1

I feel that esa aren’t pets but they aren’t medical equipment like sd. I mean they are kinda like medicine cause you need a prescription for them. 🤷🏻‍♀️

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Curious about service dogs or emotional support animals? Thinking of getting one for yourself? Have a question about access or training? We'll do our best to help you.
Created Sep 11, 2012