Posts Tagged ‘esa registration’

Service dogs are an amazing medical tool and are often underutilized due to a confusion in Service Dog regulations. We will go through what a service dog is, who can qualify to have a service dog, where you are allowed to take your service dog, and the benefits of completing your service dog registration. 

If you qualify for a Service Dog and go through the proper steps to train your dog, you may want to register your Service Dog so that you can provide your registration card and identify your animal as a service dog. There are many people out there that do not know the rules surrounding service dogs and having a Service Dog ID card can help to mitigate conflict. 

Registered Service Dogs are required to be well trained must be under their handler’s control. What is a Service Dog? 

A Service Dog is an assistance animal that is specifically trained in aid in a mental, emotional, or physical disability. Service Dogs must always be in the control of their handler and must service a specific function for their handler’s disability. A certified Service Dog should not pull their handler or bark at others when in public, unprovoked. 

Qualifying for a Service Dog 

If you experience an emotional, mental, or physical disability, you qualify for a Service Dog. For more information and a list of disability that may qualify you for a Service Dog, read here

Once you have identified your disability, your next step is to identify what task your dog can perform to help aid in your disability. 

A common misunderstanding is that Service Dogs are required to be professionally trained. This is untrue. If you are capable, you are allowed to train your service dog yourself! For many people, paying $20K for a service dog isn’t feasible so being able to train your own service dog is an important right. Even if you choose to hire a trainer or purchase a trained Service Dog, you may still choose to register your new Service Dog for your own convenience. 

Don’t qualify for a service dog? You may qualify for an emotional support animal. Read more about emotional support animals here

You are permitted to train your Service Dog yourself. How to Register your Service Dog

If you want to register your dog as a service dog, your dog must provide a service for your disability. A professional trainer is not required for your dogs to be called a service dog. If you are in need of a service dog, you may personally train your dog to provide a service for your disability. 

To register your Service Dog, you can start your Service Dog Registration process online by entering your information along with your animal’s information here

To register your service dog, complete the registration in the link below.

Service Dog Regulations

Service Dog regulations are governed by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This is different than Emotional Support Animals which are governed by Fair Housing and the Air Carrier Access Act. 

Even if you you have completed your Service Dog registration, your service dog can still be denied access if it is not well behaved. 

Service Dogs are distinctly different from emotional support animals. Emotional support animals are also a class of assistance animals, but do not require the same amount of training as Service Dogs and therefore do not enjoy the same access rights. If you are interested in an ESA, read more here. It is important to know the difference so that you can determine which animal is best for you and your needs. 

To qualify for an Emotional Support Animal, you need an ESA letter. Registration is not sufficient.  Do I need an Doctor’s note for my Service Dog?

Service dogs do not require a note or letter from a doctor. If your dog is trained to provide a service for your disability, a doctor’s note or letter is not required. 

If your animal does not provide a service or task for your disability, but instead provides comfort and support, you will need a note from a doctor to qualify your animal as an emotional support animal

A doctor’s note is not required for a service dog. However, if you need an ESA, a doctor’s note is required.  Where are Service Dogs allowed to go? 

In short, you are allowed to go everywhere that you are allowed to go with your service dog. 

Service Dogs can go into restaurants, hotels, beaches, in the workplace, airplanes, and are granted housing access. 

Emotional Support Animals only have access to air travel and housing. You may choose to register both your Service Dog or our Emotional Support Animal. If you have an Emotional Support Animal, you will also need an ESA Letter from a licensed mental health professional as registration alone is not sufficient. You may request an ESA letter from your therapist, if you need help guidance with how to find a therapist who is well versed in ESA regulations, you may read this post. 

As touched on earlier, Service Dogs are not the same as Emotional Support Animals but people can confuse the two. In order to avoid any issues when traveling with your Service Dog, its important to be well versed in your rights and how to handle any confrontations. 

Service Dogs have public access rights. This includes no dog beaches, restaurants, air travel, hotels, and no-pet housing.  Going to Public Places with your Service Dog

If you expect to be traveling with your Service Dog, you may choose to order an ID card and Service Dog Vest. The ADA is clear that both items are not required but the reality is that people are not well aware of ADA regulations and you may experience unpleasant confrontations without it. It is always up to you if you want to stand your ground and educate those who are not well aware of Service Dog rules or you may prefer to have your Service Dog ID handy. There is no right answer, do what is best for you. 

Once you have requested access for your Service Dog, you are never required to disclose your disability to anyone. If you are asked to disclose your disability or asked to demonstrate your Service Dog’s tasks as a condition for granting reasonable accommodation (aka access to wherever you need to go), you may report that business or establishment to the ADA. 

If your Service Dog is denied access, you may report the business to the ADA.

The ADA exists to protect people with disability and if any business is denying access without due cause they need to be reported. 

From time to time, the person you are dealing with just may be unaware of service dog regulations. If you encounter an employee who is dying access “because pets aren’t allowed”, your next step is to request to speak with a manager. We advise against arguing with any employee regarding your Service Dog to avoid escalation. If you are unable to speak with a manager for any reason, ask for the employees name so you may report them to the ADA.

Service Dog Registration

Service Dogs are an important tool and we are lucky to have them. By knowing your rights, you can travel comfortably with your dog. If you would like to register your Service Dog and have your Service Dog ID handy when traveling with your service dog, you can start by completing the Service Dog Registration form below. 

You will be able to order a Service Dog identification kit and register your animal in an international database of service dogs and handlers. You will also be able to pull up your Service Dog ID and registration card using your mobile device anywhere. To complete the service dog registration process, complete the form in the link below. 

What is an Emotional Support Dog?

Anyone who has owned a dog knows the unconditional love and support they give.  There’s nothing like coming home from a bad day at work and waiting for you at the door is your furry friend waiting to give you all the love you need and turn your day around.  Because of their ability to provide support and unconditional love, the mental health profession has begun using dogs (and other animals) as emotional support for individuals with varying mental health issues.  Emotional support dogs have been shown to help individuals suffering from the following:

Aerophobia (the fear of flying) Agoraphobia (the fear of leaving the home) Anxiety Depression General Anxiety Disorder PTSD Social Shyness Stress-Induced Situations

With the help of emotional support dogs, those suffering from the above disorders have been able to begin recovering and regaining the confidence and freedom with the help of their emotional support dog.

How Can I Make My Dog An Emotional Support Dog?

Get an ESA letter from a licensed medical healthcare provider. Provide your ESA letter to your landlord or airline representative. Get your ESA identification card and register your Emotional Support Dog. Enjoy living and traveling with your Emotional Support Dog.

In order to receive the rights under the laws afforded to emotional support dogs, the dog must be prescribed by a mental health professional for an individual who is suffering from a disabling mental illness.  Emotional support dogs do not have to be licensed or registered, but you do need to have an ESA letter written by a mental health professional (on their letterhead) that states that you are suffering from an emotional disability and the emotional support dog is vital to your wellbeing.  The letter must be signed, dated, and include the mental health professionals license number and the date and place where their license was issued. It is important to note that the letter prescribed by your mental health professional is only valid for one year.  Emotional support dogs do not require any specific training and the only difference between them and a pet is a letter from the prescribing mental health professional.  While emotional support dogs are not required to be registered many individuals choose to register their support dog and carry an identification card and have their dog wear an ESA (emotional support animal) vest because it makes it easier to travel with their emotional support dog.

Click Here to Qualify for Your ESA Letter

What Rights Do Emotional Support Dogs Have?

While emotional support dogs (animals) are afforded rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act it is important to understand that they are not afforded the same rights as service dogs or psychiatric service dogs.  Service dogs have been specifically trained to help perform tasks for individuals with disabilities and have the right to accompany them into any place the normal public has access to.  Because service dogs are trained and are needed by a disabled individual to perform tasks like pulling a wheelchair, alerting an individual they are about to have a seizure, or assisting a visually impaired individual across the street they are afforded more rights than are emotional support dogs.  There is also a difference between psychiatric service dogs and emotional support dogs as again they are specifically trained to help assist individuals suffering from a disabling mental illness.  Psychiatric service dogs are trained to detect and recognize the beginning of a psychiatric episode and then help to ease the effects of that psychiatric episode, once again because they are specially trained and licensed they are afforded more rights than emotional support dogs.  When out in public establishments including restaurants, theaters, stores etc. have the right to ask two questions:

Do you need the animal because of a disability? What work or tasks has the animal been trained to perform?

If an individual is unable to answer these two questions then they do not have a service animal that is protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the establishment has the right to refuse to allow the animal on their premises.

Because emotional support dogs lack specific training and licensing they do not have as many rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), but they do receive some rights and they include the following:

Fair Housing Act (FHA) – Under this act individual with emotional support animals are allowed to have them in their residence even if there is a no pet rule in effect.  Emotional support animals are protected and property managers are required to make accommodations for them. Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) – Under this act individual with emotional support animals are allowed to have them on airplanes, and the airline must make accommodations for them.

Conclusion

While emotional support dogs provide an essential service to many individuals suffering from certain mental health issues, because they do not require any specialized training, registration, or licensing they are not afforded the same rights as service dogs are.  Having said this, they are protected under housing rights and air travel rights so you can still live and travel with your emotional support dog even if you can’t take them to the local restaurant with you.  Since qualifying for an emotional support dog only require a letter from your mental health professional you can receive the benefits from your own animal saving you time and money searching for a dog that provides you with the emotional support you need.