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cartoon drawing of lawyer Liz
Cartoon drawing of lawyer liz

Emotional Support Animals

service-dog

Did you know that emotional support animals and service animals are two different things?

Service animals are limited to dogs and sometimes miniature horses, and are specifically trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability.

A person with a legitimate service animal must be allowed to bring that service animal anywhere people are allowed to go – unless the animal is out of control, not housebroken, or a direct threat to health and safety of others.

Emotional support animals, on the other hand, do not need any specific training or credentials and they can be any species of animal.

Emotional support animals are not service animals and so are NOT allowed to accompany their owner everywhere. However, if the owner has a disability and the animal provides emotional support that alleviates an identified symptom of that person’s disability, the owner may not be denied his or her request for reasonable accommodations by his or her housing provider unless the specific animal poses a direct threat or the specific animal would cause substantial damage to the property of others.

In other words, if you have a diagnosed disability, you have an animal that helps control a documented symptom of that disability, and you ask your landlord to waive its “no pets” policy to accommodate your emotional support animal, they must do so unless your animal is destructive or dangerous.