Emotional support pets vs service pets: what’s the difference?

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Due to the fascinating nature of animals, man has taken interest in keeping animals around as pets and companions. Over time, these pets have evolved into being more than just pets, as they can now give emotional support to their owners or render some services.

This development has caused certain questions to arise. Knowing that animals no longer serve as just pets, people want to know the difference between emotional support animals and service pets.

There are certain differences between emotional support animals and service pets. These differences are seen by the way they relate to their owners. But for better understanding, we’ll consider each of them separately.

Emotional support animals

For any animal to be an emotional support animal, it doesn’t require any training as it only needs to provide emotional support for its owner. Also, note that any emotional support animal doesn’t necessarily have to be a dog. This means that any domestic animal that can be tamed, trained and relate well with people other than its owner, can pass for an emotional support animal. 

These ESAs help their owners overcome certain fears or phobias, in most cases, some owners find them a more worthy companion when they’re lonely or depressed. 

Also, ESAs enjoy certain benefits under the condition that they are licensed by legal medical personnel. That’s why you find that some people can take their pets with them on travels and some to their workplace. 

Emotional support animals are not protected by the laws of the ADA(Americans With Disability Act). There’s however an avenue for protection for the ESAs under the Fair Housing Act. This act stipulates that owners with emotional support animals can be granted accommodation anywhere regardless of rules such as no pets. 

According to the Act, they should not be discriminated against due to their emotional disability. However, this can only be effective if their pet is licensed for an ESA.

The Air Carrier Access Act also protects ESAs. This means that their owners are allowed to bring them aboard an aeroplane for any of their travels.

To cap, emotional support animals are different from service animals because their only duty is to provide support for their owners and be their best companions.

Service Animals

If you look closely, you’d find that animals, especially dogs, help their owners carry out some activities. For any animal to be a service pet, it must be a dog. 

The service pets undergo a series of training to ensure that they’re fit for their job. They are chosen by their calm and tranquil nature. This is so that they can have a good working experience with their owners.

For you to own a service animal, you must have one of the disabilities listed under the Americans With Disability Law. This disability includes physical, mental and psychiatric disability among others. 

Service dogs do not need to be licensed as they are permitted to be with their owners so long as they’re able to behave and relate properly in public. 

The only restriction to having your service dog around is in an organized, professional or religious environment. 

They’re not obligated by the ADA to accommodate your pet and as such, they are authorized to dismiss your pet if it poses any form of disturbance.

Some owners or handlers choose to dress their service pets with vest markings so people can identify them as service dogs. This is not compulsory as nobody has the right to request documents that say your pet is a service pet. 

The most they can do is an inquiry about the task your pet specializes in and if the pet is a service pet. Any question other than that will be offending the handlers and breaking the rules of the ADA.

Bottom line

The differences between an emotional support pet and a service pet have been explored above. This knowledge helps you identify each one and know your right if you own anyone.

Pet animals are beautiful creatures and it’s only better if they can offer both emotional support and services to mankind.

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