Emotional Support Animals

Emotional Support Animals

As a policy I do not write letters for emotionaI support animals.  I have spent considerable time consulting with other professionals and researching my liability in writing a letter regarding an emotional support animal. There are ethical and legal issues for me to consider.  The need for an emotional support animal is based on the diagnosis of a client that is unable to function in public without the support of an emotional support animal.   

I have never met your pet, and cannot speak to the training and behavior of your pet. I do know there are on line letters you can obtain, but most of these sites are just a scam. 

Here is some information about ADA law: Under the ADA, a service animal is an animal that has been individually trained to perform tasks or do work for the benefit of a person with a disability. Washington and Oregon law uses the same definition, but uses the term assistance animals rather than service animals. Examples of service animals that must be allowed into public accommodations under the ADA include:

hearing dogs, which alert their handlers to important sounds, such as alarms and doorbells guide dogs, which help those who are visually impaired to navigate safely psychiatric service animals, which help those with mental or emotional disabilities by, for example, interrupting self-harming behaviors, reminding handlers to take medication, checking spaces for intruders, or providing calming pressure during anxiety or panic attacks seizure alert animals, which let their handlers know of impending seizures, and may also guard their handlers during seizure activity, and allergen alert animals, which let their handlers know of foods that could be dangerous (such as peanuts).

Neither the ADA, nor Oregon nor Washington equal rights laws covers what some people call “emotional support animals”: animals whose presence provides a sense of safety, companionship, and comfort to those with psychiatric or emotional conditions. Although these animals often have therapeutic benefits, they are not individually trained to perform specific tasks for people with disabilities (under the ADA) or to assist or accommodate them (under Oregon’s or Washington’s Law Against Discrimination).

Pursuant to the federal Fair Housing Act, housing facilities must allow service dogs and emotional support animals, if necessary for a person with a disability to have an equal opportunity to use and enjoy the home. To fall under this provision, you must have a disability and you must have a disability-related need for the animal. In other words, the animal must work, perform tasks or services, or alleviate the emotional effects of your disability in order to qualify. 

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