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Information About Service Dog and Emotional Support Dog Registration

Information About Service Dog Registration

Service dogs are dogs that have been individually trained to perform a specific task for individuals who have disabilities. The disabilities can vary greatly, and so do the tasks that the service dogs perform. Service dogs can aid in navigation for people who are hearing- and visually impaired, assist an individual who is having a seizure, calm an individual who suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and even dial 911 in the event of an emergency. Many disabled individuals depend on them every day to help them live their everyday lives.

Service dogs are protected under federal law

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), an individual with a disability is entitled to a service dog to help them live their lives normally. The ADA protects disabled individuals by allowing them to bring their service dog with them to most places that the public is permitted, including restaurants, hotels, housing complexes, and even in air travel. Any dog can be a service dog, and service dogs do not have to be professionally-trained. The important thing is that the dog is trained to be a working animal and not a pet.

Identifying service dogs for the public

Service dogs are often identified by wearing a service dog vest or tag, letting the public know that it is a service dog; otherwise, their handlers will find themselves having to explain everywhere that they go that their dog is a service dog. Some businesses, such as airlines, prefer to see an identification card or vest that indicates that the dog is a service dog.

The Americans with Disabilities Act has a specific definition of a disability, and it states essentially that a disability is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual.

List of Disabilities

A disability can take many forms, including bodily functions such as those of the neurological, respiratory, digestive, circulatory, and reproductive systems. Here is a list of some disabilities that individuals may have that may be helped by having a service dog:

  • Mobility Issues (Including Paralysis)
  • Sensory Issues (Blindness, Hearing Loss, etc.)
  • Diabetes
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Cancer
  • Autism
  • Epilepsy
  • Bone and Skeletal (Such as Osteoporosis, Scoliosis, etc.)
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Flying With Your Service Dog

ADA law also allows service dogs on airplanes when individuals with service dogs are traveling and they do not have to pay an extra fee to have their service dog by their side. Here are the guidelines that some of the airlines have with regards to flying with your service dog:

Jet Blue

Documentation and Requirements for Traveling with a Service Animal

Service Animals shall have identifiers such as identification cards, other written documentation, presence of harnesses, tags or “the credible verbal assurances of a qualified individual with a disability using the animal”.

American Airlines

There is no charge for service animals used by customers with disabilities. A harness, tag or vest indicating status as a service animal will be helpful in distinguishing them to airport personnel. However, credible verbal assurance that the animal is providing a service to assist with a disability will suffice should an inquiry be made.

US Airways

To show that an animal is a service animal, you must provide one of the following:

  • Mobility Issues (Including Paralysis)
  • Sensory Issues (Blindness, Hearing Loss, etc.)
  • Diabetes
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Virgin America

Service Animals

Service animals (seeing eye dogs and other animals that are appropriately certified by a physician or other credible person/agency, etc.) may accompany a Guest with a disability on a flight. Any of the following evidence is acceptable as proof of an animal’s service status.

  • Mobility Issues (Including Paralysis)
  • Sensory Issues (Blindness, Hearing Loss, etc.)
  • Diabetes

Alaska Air

Service Animals

There is no additional charge to travel with a working service animal.

A harness, tag or vest indicating status as a service animal will be helpful in distinguishing them to airport personnel. However, credible verbal assurance that the animal is providing a service to assist with a disability will suffice, should an inquiry be made.

Properly harnessed service animals may sit at the traveler’s feet, unless the service animal is too large and obstructs an aisle or other area used for emergency evacuations.

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Information About Emotional Support Dog Registration

Emotional support dogs are dogs that provide comfort and support in forms of affection and companionship for an individual suffering from various mental and emotional conditions. An emotional support dog is not required to perform any specific tasks for a disability like service dogs are. They are meant solely for emotional stability and unconditional love. They can assist with conditions such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder/mood disorder, panic attacks, fear/phobias, and other psychological and emotional conditions.

Emotional support dogs are protected under federal law

Under the Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA) and the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), an individual who meets the proper criteria is entitled to an emotional support dog to assist them with their life. The FHAA protects individuals by allowing their emotional support dog to live with them (even when there are no pet policies in place). The ACAA protects individuals by allowing the emotional support dog to fly with them in the cabin of an airplane (without having to pay any additional fees). Any dog can be an emotional support dog, and emotional support dogs do not have to be professionally-trained.

A Medical Recommendation is Required

You are required to have a letter from a doctor or mental health professional recommending that you have an emotional support dog for your condition. You may be asked to present this letter by airline staff when flying or by your landlord when renting a home.

Identifying emotional support dogs for the public

Emotional support dogs are often identified by wearing an emotional support dog vest or tag, letting the public know that it is an emotional support dog; otherwise, their handlers will find themselves having to explain that their dog is an emotional support dog. Some businesses, such as airlines, prefer to see an identification card or vest that indicates that the dog is an emotional support dog.

List of Disabilities

An emotional support dog can assist with various kinds of mental and emotional conditions. Here is a list of some mental and emotional conditions individuals may have that may be helped by having an emotional support dog:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Mood disorder
  • Panic attacks
  • Fear/phobias
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Suicidal Thoughts/Tendencies

Do you have a Disability?

The National Institute of Mental Health shows that more than 1 in 4 adults in the United States have some form of mental disorder. If you are suffering from an emotional or psychological condition then you are entitled to an emotional support dog. Consult with your physician for more information.

Living With Your Emotional Support Dog

The Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA) gives individuals the right to live with their emotional support dog regardless of any building or residences with a no-pet policy. Building managers or landlords may not refuse your emotional support dog. You are required to have a current (within the past year) letter from a doctor or mental health professional recommending that you have an emotional support dog for your condition.

Flying With Your Emotional Support Dog

The Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) allows emotional support dogs on airplanes when individuals with emotional support dogs are traveling. A written note from a doctor or mental health professional is required by the airlines that is not more than one year old. Also, your emotional support dog must be trained to behave appropriately in a public setting. There is no additional charge to travel with your emotional support dog. You should let your airline know 48 hours before your scheduled departure that you are bringing an emotional support dog so that they can make the proper accommodations for you.

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Information About Therapy Dog Registration

Therapy dogs are dogs that are used to bring comfort and joy to those who are ill or under poor conditions, such as those who have been affected by a natural disaster. Many people are able to connect with dogs and feel the love that they provide, and this has a therapeutic effect on them. Therapy dogs are generally very calm and well-behaved, so that they do not upset or make uncomfortable those around them.

Therapy dogs are taken to many types of places, including hospitals, nursing homes, foster homes, homeless shelters, schools, and places struck by natural disasters. They generally do not have any special training and are not trained to perform specific tasks for a disabled individual like a service dog. A doctor’s letter is not required to have a therapy dog. Since therapy dogs are not covered under any specific federal laws, permission would have to be given from each place that a therapy dog is to be taken. Many places are welcoming to therapy dogs if the dog is trained and obedient, does not pose a threat to others, can benefit those present at the facility, and does not adversely affect the facility’s operations.

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